question on interracial marriage in Pune

#1 Feb 20th, 2009, 14:17
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  • phithesis is offline
#1
Greetings,

My name is Jim and I plan on moving to Pune to study philosophy at Pune University (yet to start the process but for various reasons it is pretty certain). I studied at Goa University for 2 years (2006-2008). While in Goa I met a woman and we are now engaged, she is still in Goa. Our plan is to have her travel to Pune in Nov 2009 and then we will marry.

I don't have a question about the marriage process: there is plenty of info on that. Rather, I want to know what the typical attitudes are towards interracial marriage in Pune.

I ask this because of our experience in Goa. While in Goa my fiancee and I faced a lot of harassment by university officials, students, and the public. The general attitude was that she was either a whore or that I was some evil foreigner corrupting a Goan. We also faced problems because she is officially catholic but we are both atheists. Further, her family does not know of our relationship nor would they approve.

In fact, when I left Goa in June of 2008, a university administrator called her family and told them that their daughter was a whore that was seen walking on campus with a foreigner. Her father went to the woman's hostel, assaulted my fiancee and then kidnapped her. From June until January she was confined to her house with no outside contact. (but she secretly had a mobile) To make a long story short her parents took her for an exorcism in January and the priest convinced her parents to let her return to school.

As you can see we faced a lot of trouble. If we marry and live in pune should we expect to face any problems like this? What about the BJP, shiv sena etc? Quick note, while in India I wear a Kurta and Dhoti/lungi and she dresses in western clothing.

I appreciate any advice: thanks,
jim
#2 Feb 20th, 2009, 14:19
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  • phithesis is offline
#2
I also forgot to add one thing. We were also harassed by the police on a few occasions. Luckily we did not have to pay a bribe.
#3 Feb 20th, 2009, 15:32
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  • edwardseco is offline
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I never experienced any of this in Pune! Actually, there was an attempt to find a candidate as an alternative for me. 2 doctors to be rich in Amrika and one poor academic. Wouldn't you know I would pick the poor gal. Next time a rich 82 year old lady with a pacemaker... Had a wild wedding in Pune with people getting irritated because they weren't asked. I refused to wear the dunce hat since people already knew a groom has to be one (that joke went over pretty well at the wedding). The Maharashtrans supported me on that, greatest people in the world.

Pune is different and away from the tourist track. Being a student preferably graduate student as opposed to some drugged out Rajneeshi helps. I doubt you will have the least problems. If you plan to get married there make sure the pandit (if you go that way) is cool with that. In your case it should not be a problem since it is the same religion and you may not go the classic Hindu wedding anyway..
#4 Feb 21st, 2009, 15:56
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#4
I'm from the UK, and I've been living in Pune for over three years now with my Indian wife. We've never experienced any problems at all. Occasionally people are curious as to how we met, but that's about it.
#5 Feb 21st, 2009, 18:41
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#5
Ed and James,

Thanks for the reply,

Just a quick question: please dont take offense. While in Goa I met a lot of expats that basically never interacted with locals in a social way. Basically, they were extended "tourists" (not that there is anything wrong with that). I spent my time avoiding expats as much as possible in order to fully explore Indian culture. The expats would go out drinking together and I would hang out with my Indian friends under a banyan tree at local fishing village. If I go to Pune I want to be able to live the life of a typical indian student: as much as an american can do such a thing

So this is my attempt to politely ask you guys about how "western" a lifestyle you guys are leading? Again, I pass no judgment on those that are not interested in exploring cultural immersion. To each his own... as they say,

thanks again,
jim
p.s. I hope I dont come off as some indophile that has gone native. To be honest I struggled a lot over my 2 year stay. Also, thee are plenty of aspects of Indian culture that I have not and am not likely to adapt to.
#6 Feb 22nd, 2009, 00:08
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I never associate with expats period. Never say never. I ended up in the front yard of one outside of Pune after a motor vehicle mishap (I lived). His mechanic rebuilt my engine along racing lines whoopie! He had taken an ice cream maker to India so he was my hero. Otherwise, no (Nick excepted) for a lot of the reasons you cite. My work took me out into the population and I found it easy to find other friends. I lived in graduate student housing upgraded because of my spouse's status, not mine. I can't recommend a dorm or the student mess experience (but did both).

I have no doubt that you can live pretty much as an Indian student does. I also think that you will find a ton of interaction. Every college has a tea house nearby where you can hangout. Mine has made way for development. Its good to live nearby to the University. See if you can make friends with people at the Film Institute for invites.

I am not an expat since I long since came back to earn a living, marriage. I owe so therefore to work I go.

Now fiance and married living together is different. But, I have found it in Hyderabad and Pune so... Pune is a cosmopolitan city comparatively so I think you made a good choice.

Cheers..
#7 Feb 22nd, 2009, 01:01
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  • Nick-H is offline
#7
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Otherwise, no (Nick excepted)
How did you know I had also taken an icecream maker to India?
~
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#8 Feb 22nd, 2009, 02:20
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Jees, is there a community of madmen here? My friend in Pune couldn't get the milk. I knew I could get the dairyman to bring the buffaloes to the door (15% butterfat!). But, the size and low efficiency of the fridge stopped my project. Now I have access to a better freezer and my spouse has a tiff with her relations, Kaliyug..
#9 Apr 9th, 2009, 21:07
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just curious how do u people get linked up like this, doesnt the culture difference affect the relation, just curious to know,,
#10 Apr 10th, 2009, 00:04
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Research indicates proximity has something to do with it. I was working at at a research institute and actually doing my own fieldwork. Friends thought, we know somebody else that wacky and introduced us subtly at tea time. She immediately saw through the subterfuge of my official research purpose and understood my real interests in development. Also, it didn't hurt that she was a real stunner..
#11 Jun 2nd, 2009, 23:58
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#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by phithesis View Post Greetings,

My name is Jim and I plan on moving to Pune to study philosophy at Pune University (yet to start the process but for various reasons it is pretty certain). I studied at Goa University for 2 years (2006-2008). While in Goa I met a woman and we are now engaged, she is still in Goa. Our plan is to have her travel to Pune in Nov 2009 and then we will marry.

I don't have a question about the marriage process: there is plenty of info on that. Rather, I want to know what the typical attitudes are towards interracial marriage in Pune.

I ask this because of our experience in Goa. While in Goa my fiancee and I faced a lot of harassment by university officials, students, and the public. The general attitude was that she was either a whore or that I was some evil foreigner corrupting a Goan. We also faced problems because she is officially catholic but we are both atheists. Further, her family does not know of our relationship nor would they approve.

In fact, when I left Goa in June of 2008, a university administrator called her family and told them that their daughter was a whore that was seen walking on campus with a foreigner. Her father went to the woman's hostel, assaulted my fiancee and then kidnapped her. From June until January she was confined to her house with no outside contact. (but she secretly had a mobile) To make a long story short her parents took her for an exorcism in January and the priest convinced her parents to let her return to school.

As you can see we faced a lot of trouble. If we marry and live in pune should we expect to face any problems like this? What about the BJP, shiv sena etc? Quick note, while in India I wear a Kurta and Dhoti/lungi and she dresses in western clothing.

I appreciate any advice: thanks,
jim
If what you said is true, it is very unfortunate...but don't worry....love conquers all. Pune is a nice and open city. Till you both stay and interact with the right people, you should not have any problem. Also, once you are married...its a different proposition all together. I don't see any university staff or any such people labelling you or your wife with some names. Perhaps that had something to do with Goa...and the stereotype one associates with a foreign man with an Indian girl.

But seriously, i don't think these should be issues once you are married and are a little choosy about people you interact with. Many colleges in Pune have loads of international students, who have lots of locals friends. I had many really close friends from Oman and Yemen when I was doing my MBA.
"I cannot see the plains without a shudder...O God not the plains..not the plains."
#12 Jun 3rd, 2009, 00:47
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phithesis., I'm married to an American, and on our visits to India, we've noticed something interesting - that once we discount the general hi curiosity factor among Indians, we found that we elicited the most suspicion in Goa. Don't get me wrong, I love Goa, Just sharing that we found when he was alone, he got a lot less attention (which he loved since he was sick of it in other places!) but when we were together people glared at him. Anyway, from reading your post, I think you have a good idea what we experienced.

I agree w/ the other posters - Pune is a cosmopolitan city and people are very nice & laid-back. Maharashtrians are very decent non-judgmental folks in my experience anyway as a N. Indian, and Mumbai + Pune in particular are easy cities to live in from the point of view of not being hassled.

So sorry to hear about your fiancee's experience Sounds like her family's pretty hard-core. I think you'll find Pume to be quite a bit better than Goa in the sense of a U.S.-Indian couple not being looked askance.

As long as her family doesn't have a long reach, I wouldn't worry about either the city or people in Pune. You might want to live in the areas popular among IT folks so you get the best of both worlds - Indian experience w/ a lot less of the judgement.

Wish you and your Indian bride-to-be all the best!
#13 Aug 26th, 2009, 06:05
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#13
Hi, Funny to read your post. I am having a similar reverse problem here in the US. I am hoping to marry my soul mate (and yes, the horoscopes match;-) However, the family is having a hard time to even imagine the scenario. I also have two children but was never married (although common here) this is almost a shame for life problem for the family in India. I have no issues to relocate there ( I have been to meet the family) but I am not sure of the problems we would endure, besides the questioning. I can pass for a north Indian but that is not the point. Even here in the US we have a staring problem at times. The skin contrast always evokes curious stares. What to do? So I do feel your pain and wish you the best of luck with her family and your marriage. ;-) We do not want to disown the family and I do not want him to do that, they are nice people. But for sure you must be in it for the long term, divorce is many times not an option for Indian women. Good Luck
#14 Aug 26th, 2009, 07:07
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  • Nick-H is offline
#14
Quote:
Even here in the US we have a staring problem at times. The skin contrast always evokes curious stares.
Then you might find India quite refreshing! I and my Indian wife never get stared at. Maybe you should come South!
Quote:
divorce is many times not an option for Indian women. Good Luck
Divorce is a difficult thing for a woman with no independent means stuck in an old-fashioned, traditional scenario, where it might mean no support even from her own family, but otherwise --- plenty of divorces happen in India.

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