Pre-matrimonial investigators in demand due to Internet marriages in India
The Internet has been instrumental in bringing people together through the sharing of news, information and personal interests. In many cases, such as in the world of online dating, the joining of people based on commonalities has been a success. People used to wait years to come across the perfect person. Today the Internet facilitates a more proactive approach, where people can actively seek out the person they desire based on certain criteria. In India, online dating has been taken to a whole new level.
In India, where the institution of marriage has traditionally relied on arranged matches, the Internet has allowed for traditional customs to evolve. According to Asiancorresponder.com, India presently has 100 million Internet users and it is expected that the country will have approximately 2,600 websites dedicated to matching people up for marriage by the year 2020.
In the past, marriages were arranged by family. A vast matrix of uncles, aunts, cousins and friends helped brides and grooms find their mate. Today, young people are increasingly going online to find the person they intend to marry. It seems that the Internet has afforded the youth with added freedom to make decisions that influence their own lives.
As the number of marriages by way of Internet-introductions increase, so does the number of people lying about who they are online. In a digital medium where anyone can post a fictitious profile, more people are finding that not everyone turns out to be who they claim.
To fill a growing need to verify that the person one is courting is actually who they say they are, a new profession has been gaining attention. Pre-matrimonial detective agencies have been in high demand in recent years. These agencies typically investigate people's past relationships, earning potential and family history.
Taralika Lahiri set up her own agency, National Detective & Corporate Consultants, in 1994, with an initial investment of $5,000, according to BBC News. Her business has grown significantly and she now employs 15 people. Lahiri explained that the job was particularly good for women. The main clients for the NDCC are women and they feel more comfortable hiring other women to do their investigating for them.
"Before, we all had a network of aunts who knew eligible girls and boys and would fix up their matches. Now, you could be dealing with anybody with a false profile – he or she could be in India or abroad," said Lahiri.
The cost for running one investigation, according to Lahiri, is approximately $500. Post-matrimonial investigations, she explained, cost more, as there is more information that needs to be gathered. Divorce settlements often rely on information provided by investigators in India as well as in the West.
In the same way that marriages are facilitated by the Internet, so is pre-matrimonial investigation. With training, detectives learn to find information scattered on the internet and access public records to better understand their client's target. As is the case with many laissez-faire systems, such as is exhibited on the Internet, there seems to be a natural self-correction that is taking place.
India's caste system makes finding a partner more difficult perhaps and the Internet will help people of similar backgrounds and interests find each other more quickly. While there will be imposters, there will also be investigators, like Lahiri, to make sure that the safety and familiarity of traditional arranged matches is not lost for the new Internet generation of India.