KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The apparently faked abduction of 19-year-old Aisha Khan from the KU-Edwards campus last week has raised a number of questions – including questions about whether her arranged marriage left her caught between tradition and 21st Century America.
Khan’s family says that her marriage was not an arranged marriage in the traditional sense – she had known her prospective husband in childhood and, according to her family, had the option to say “no” to any marriage proposal.
While the idea of any arranged marriage may seem very foreign to many Americans, who might say that marriage before love is like putting the cart before the horse, one Kansas City woman – who asked that her name not be used – says that she wouldn’t change a thing about her arranged marriage.
“That’s how we do. Look at the family background. If they are healthy, wealthy, well settled we do it,” said the woman, a native of India. “Parents opinion is very important in India, so we pretty much go for whatever parents say.”
The woman, who declined to speculate if an arranged marriage had any part in the disappearance of Aisha Khan, told FOX 4 that her marriage was arranged in India when she was 16.
“My parents called me and said ‘Okay, come home, get dressed we are going there,’ and I just saw him. We never really had a private time to talk to each other or nothing. I was there, he was sitting there,” she said. From that meeting, she was chosen from 10 girls, and 10 days later she was married.
“We were married because our family had chosen for us for future partners, so its like okay, we like each other. It’s not like we didn’t like each other, we did,” she told FOX 4. She says that she was married to her husband for 23 years before he passed away, and she says that she wouldn’t change a thing about her life.
“He’s my husband and I am his wife and that’s the way, very much of Indian couple that came from India, that is how we live and we are happy that way,” she said, saying that she wants people to know that arranged marriages are often very successful.
But she does say that for her three children – two daughters and a son, all raised in the United States – things are different. She says that life in America has convinced her that her children should be free to marry anyone they would like.
“Whoever they will have in their future partner, all I want for them is to be happy,” she said.