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The girl, who was also often given some prior knowledge about the men or was aware of their general reputation, would circulate the hall and indicate her choice by garlanding the man she wanted to marry.

Sometimes the father of the bride would arrange for a competition among the suitors, such as a feat of strength, to help in the selection process.

Another variant was the Gandharva marriage, which involved simple mutual consent between a man and a woman based on mutual attraction and no rituals or witnesses.

Despite the fact that romantic love is "wholly celebrated" in both Indian mass media (such as Bollywood) and folklore, and the arranged marriage tradition lacks any official legal recognition or support, the institution has proved to be "surprisingly robust" in adapting to changed social circumstances and has defied predictions of decline as India modernized.For instance, marriages between cousins is permissible in Islam (though not in most Hindu communities), and the girl's mother's sister (or khala) was considered to have the first right (pehla haq) to "claim" the girl as for her son (the khalazad bhai).As with other cultures, levirate marriages (where the brother of a deceased man is obligated to marry his widow) also became customary in some regions for all religious groups, partially to ensure that clan alliances and clan ownership of land rights remained intact even if the husband died.With the expanding social reform and female emancipation that accompanied economic and literacy growth after independence, many commentators predicted the gradual demise of arranged marriages in India, and the inexorable rise of so-called "love marriages" (i.e.where the initial contact with potential spouses does not involve the parents or family members).

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