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This happened after one night last December, when five men drank whiskey in south Delhi and boarded a local bus, where, joined by the driver, they used iron rods to sexually penetrate and fatally maim a 23-year-old physiotherapy student heading back from a movie with her boyfriend. The collective outcry by the country’s long-silent women amplified and confirmed the clichéd association between India and sexual violence.

In December, Delhi’s Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit described her city as a “rape capital;” in June, the New York Times reported that visits by female tourists to India had dropped by 35 percent in the first months of 2013.

A few years back, a media psychologist named Srividya Ramasubramanian examined 24 American and British films about India for the prevalence and portrayal of certain tropes and saw little more than a country “consistently portrayed as backward, uncivilized, savage, and traditional.” The Western notion of “Indian-ness,” Ramasubramanian writes, is predicated upon a sense of Occidental superiority, complicit with a sort of “cultural imperialism…

by establishing Indian peoples as inferior and incompetent who need to be civilized.”Ramasubramanian’s study qualitatively confirms that the India offered to us in the West is an India of “inept subordinates” who deserve either our scorn or sympathy.

Sure, I’d have my points of appeal, namely in the sections reserved for Education (Bachelor’s) and Complexion (Very Fair).

More than 22 million Indians—around one of every eight who use the Internet—use the country’s matrimonial sites, according to a recent review of India’s Internet Economy Watch Report.In June, the Delhi-based Economic Times valued the online matrimony market at around 5.1 billion Indian rupees (roughly million)with an annual growth rate of 30 percent: a rose in the snowdrift of the Indian economy, whose recent erratic nature has shaken everything from exchange rates to onion prices.For those in the West, it probably isn’t particularly surprising that Internet matrimony is one of India’s most lucrative and omnipresent online industries.If there’s truth to caricature, then call my joining the online matrimony network a modern-day leap onto a bandwagon of millennia-old social custom.“Shaadi” is the Hindi word for wedding; is, intuitively, a wedding arranged via the Internet.It’s one of more than 100 Indian websites that comprise the country’s thriving online matrimonial market, where an individual can browse for his or her ideal spouse among a catalog of potential candidates organized by the personal information that apparently matters most: religion, caste, income, fairness of skin, family background, and so on. Unlike online dating services, which at least superficially foster some sort of romantic connection, and which are effectively nonexistent in India, matrimonial websites are predicated on the idea that the first meeting between two paired users will be to chat about their wedding.

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