Begin Free Online Ordination

Marriage Detective

An Indian wedding can be a lavish event, attended by thousands of family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances. The expense of hosting such a celebration is equally extravagant. It is a price tag many Indian families are willing to meet, however, as weddings are a highly prized cultural institution in India. A relatively new addition to the wedding budget is the marriage detective. There are agencies throughout the country that devote their services to digging up information about a prospective spouse's family history, financial situation and other significant data. There is a good deal on the line, and families are taking extra precautions before committing to a venue and a caterer.

Love, Marriage and the Internet

In the old days, young people of marriageable age relied on well-connected relatives to come up with suitable prospects for partners. Nowadays, it is common for men and women to meet through the Internet. Taralika Lahiri owns and operates National Detective & Corporate Consultants (NDCC), which specializes in pre- and post-matrimonial investigations. Regarding Internet matchmaking, she said, "Now, you could be dealing with anybody with a false profile he or she could be in India or abroad." Many families today fear that their son's or daughter's chosen partner may be operating under false pretenses. To head off heartache, embarrassment and loss on a serious investment, they hire a professional.

Good Business for Women

Lahiri got into the detective business at the age of 53, in 1987. She started NDCC in 1994 with $5,000 she received from her family. She initially did all the investigative work herself, but now employs a staff of 15. Back in the 1980s, Lahiri was one of the few women working in the field. Today, women make up a good portion of professional marriage detectives. As it turns out, women make up the majority of people who hire detectives to check out potential in-laws' backgrounds, and they largely prefer other women to do the work.

Tools of the Trade

Technology has made the work easier in some ways. A high-resolution camera with a night vision lens is an excellent tool for gathering information. Cameras can also be attached to eyeglasses and other discreet locations. Lahiri notes, though, that she still relies most heavily on the skills she learned at her first job. Intuition plays a large role. Compassion is a necessary quality as well. When a detective finds something wrong, he or she must deliver the bad news. This information can be very painful to hear. Ultimately, however, families hire detectives because they would rather hear the bad news and avoid a mistake than proceed with the ceremony.

Post-Matrimonial Work

The divorce rate is up in India, and that has increased business for detective agencies. In a contentious divorce, both spouses often seek evidence to support their accusations. According to Lahiri, this work can be much more involved than pre-matrimonial investigations. Lawyers who hire a detective need proof that they can present to a judge, such as photographs or phone records. In a contested divorce, courts require hard evidence to:

  • Set alimony
  • Change alimony amount
  • Establish child custody

Due to the higher standard of proof required for legal proceedings, the fee for a post-matrimonial investigation might run quite a bit more than for a pre-matrimonial check.

A Changing World

The proliferation of marriage detective agencies demonstrates Indian families' efforts to adjust to a society in which social media is usurping direct social contact. While it may no longer be possible to find out the details about a potential suitor through the grapevine, a professional can be hired to do the digging. It is a modern solution designed to protect a deeply cherished cultural ideal. Private detective now joins florist, photographer and musician as an essential service provider for modern Indian weddings.

Category: Get Ordained

Add Your Comment

To post a comment you must log in first.
You may alternatively login with your credentials, below.