Hindus/Arranged Hindu Marriages
What is the purpose of arranged Hindu marriages in India? Is there any scripture influencing this type of marriage? Is it more of a popular practice, or does it have religious meaning? And lastly, what is your opinion on the effectiveness of them as opposed to non-arranged "love" marriages, for example in the United States?
Purpose is the same as everywhere, to start a family. Sure, it is mentioned in scriptures as "Prajapatya Vivah (Marriage)" when "a girl's father gives her in marriage to the bridegroom, treating him with respect, and addresses them: 'May both of you perform together your duties'". This is the socially accepted form of marriage in India even among sikhs, muslims, or christians.
Before selecting the bride or the groom there would be detailed discussions in the families as to how well the two are likely to adjust with each other. In olden times the consent of the boy or the girl was not considered necessary (parents would do the best for their children), but now it is routine to check with them too and they may be allowed to meet each other. The boy or the girl also can indicate a person of their liking but the final green signal should come from the families. Of course, the bride or the groom will belong to the same caste (this may be taken lightly in present times) and of the same social status.
Most marriages in India happen like this. This is how my marriage took place 45 years ago. Personally, I favor this kind of marriage. I think such marriages are more stable because when there are problems in adjustment, both the families try to mitigate them. This is one of the reasons for the low percentage of divorce cases in India. The long-term commitment is stronger in an arranged marriage than in a love-marriage, though these days there are many love-marriages too in India. With best regards,