Kalidas one of the noted poets of the country has shared the tradition of SWAYAMVAR or choosing one's life partner in all his novels.This practice was present in the olden days when kings ruled the country.The epics Ramayana and Mahabharata give us a first- hand account of Sita and Draupadi's syawamvar,where different types of competitions were held to judge the level of worth of the would- be groom.Girls were given the opportunity to select their life partners.
In the modern day the time-honoured practice of Swayamvar is the fore-runner of the' bride seeing ceremony.'But nowadays girls do not stand with a garland ,instead the boy and his relatives visits the girl's place .The practice is still common today and the prospective groom's family with a platoon of relatives visit the prospective bride's house and instead of a competition, the girl is inundated with a series of questions. The girl's parents make arrangements for this visit and stand as mute spectators while the girl is harangued.Questions are like scud-missiles flying to and fro.
Earlier relatives and friends helped in the match-making but today in the age of technology newspapers and the internet are the sources of match-making. Being strangers the bio-data is exchanged between both families and if things appeal then a date is decided for the'bride-seeing'.In India girls' families spend extensively on match-making and marriage ceremonies.These days time is given to the girl and boy to talk separately but in earlier days the elders did it on their behalf.
This age- old practice should be stopped as it becomes an embarrassing affair for a prospective bride.She is not a piece of a commodity to be bought and chosen.Times are changing and she should be given the independence to chose her life partner instead of being paraded and questioned in front of strangers.