By Saptarishi Dutta, Shreya Shah and Aditi Malhotra
Hindu couples performed marriage rituals during a mass marriage ceremony in Kolkata, March 17.
From the time most Indian men and women cross into their twenties, their near and dear ones are devoted to finding them “a match.”
Increasingly, many of these helpers turn to popular marriage portals, like shaadi.com.
But you can never have too much help, which is why one government body has dabbled in matchmaking as well.
The Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, an association under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, which is in charge of education, has a page devoted to “unmarried” teachers.
The association runs public schools meant for the most part for families of federal employees that move often, though in some cases other local children attend as well. The body runs hundreds of schools around the country.
A disclaimer on the page states, “People are requested to verify facts themselves before taking any decision.”
Officials of the association, which is part of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, couldn’t be reached for comment.
India Real Time undertook the arduous task of seeing how effective the site was by calling many of the names on it. It turns out the list has led to at least one successful marriage.
Om Prakash Sachdeva, who teaches music, said he had his name added to his list in November 2010, and that he got about 20 phone calls from interested parties as result.
“I used to check the list everyday to see whether there was a suitable partner for me,” he said.
Among the calls he received was one from his future father-in-law – on the very first day his name was put online. “My father-in-law is fond of computers,” explained Mr. Sachdeva, who is from the northwestern state of Rajasthan.
Mr. Sachdeva got married in May 2011, for which he remains grateful to the list.
Others on the page appear to have married the old-fashioned way, through word of mouth.
Arbind Kumar, a 48-year-old schoolteacher in the eastern state of Jharkhand, had also asked for his name to be put on the list in 2012 soon after his first wife died. This July he got married to a 22-year-old woman his family found who lives in their village.
Mr. Kumar explained why he thinks the association wants to help the unmarried wed.
“They want to get their staff married so they concentrate more on their work,” he said. Now that he is married again, and has someone to cook meals for him, he said, he is able to focus more on teaching.
Others haven’t had luck with either method.
R.K. Nair, father of 29-year-old Deepti Nair, says they put her details on the list in 2011 and that the scheme is to match up likeminded, unattached teachers. Ms. Nair teaches math and science to primary school students in Jabalpur, in Madhya Pradesh in central India.
So far they haven’t succeeded in making a match, but not for want of suitors. The family received around 15 proposals of marriage, but the offers were turned down. “It was the issue of height and weight or age,” her father said.
For them it hasn’t been as useful a tool as they’d hoped.
“The list is not being updated,” he added. “Sometimes people are transferred, and it’s not changed on the list,” he said.
But if you were hoping to use the list to find a match, be prepared for disappointment.
Many of the numbers are no longer valid.
And yet others named on the list may no longer be available. Take Mr. Sachdeva.
Although he has been married for over two years, his name hasn’t yet been removed from the list.
“Even today I get calls at times,” said Mr. Sachdeva.
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