If you still believe marriages are made in heaven, you’ve probably not come across IIT IIM Shaadi, where marriages are made if you belong to a premier academic institution. While the website went live in 2014, there’s much chatter about its efficacy and its philosophy even today. For a country that still grapples with achieving high literacy rates, and parents that are still hung up on making their kids engineers and have MBAs, and a crowd that worships Chetan Bhagat (ex-IIT Bombay, ex-IIM Ahmedabad, ex-banker, presently an author, producer, Twitter celebrity, reality show judge, and self-proclaimed ‘thinking woman’s sex symbol) – this doesn’t even come close to making it easier for people who want to do anything but this.
The second you visit the site, the first line you see is this – Alma Mater Matters. The only question I have to ask is this – while we’re all for finding people that are the same wavelength as us so they can be our life partners and (hopefully) soulmates, what does ‘where you’ve studied’ have anything to do with it?
Top that off, when I tried registering, not only did I not find Humanities as a qualification (and I had to look under the Others section), but the Terms and Conditions also warned me that I would have to be okay with them pulling my academic records to establish legitimacy, since they’ve apparently faced fraudulent applications from people who claimed to be from IIT so they could find a match easy.
It’s also hilarious to note that the two founders don’t belong to these institutions themselves, the ones they generously borrow their name from.
While you can browse for free, and get limited results, IIT IIM Shaadi would like for you to subscribe to their paid services for as much as INR 5750 a month and as much as INR 17250 for the whole year, so you could get targeted results for your profile. Why, you ask? If I had to do a targeted search based on where I came from, I’d just go to my school reunion, rather than subscribe to their “exclusive lounge.” Although, they do assure you that a bulk of that payment is “success based,” although the further definition of that remains unknown if you aren’t able to go past their home page.
According to this report, Dr Ajay Gupta, the founder of the site, said that his own nephews struggled to find brides, which is where the idea came up for them. If that was the only explanation, I wouldn’t have qualms. He went on to say that while the nephews were looking for someone with the same intellectual capabilities, “some highly-educated men, in terms of practicality, like women who also consider taking care of the home a task as good as a job.” Clearly, being career-oriented can show itself out the window once you’ve qualified to be found through IIT IIM Shaadi.
It doesn’t end there. They’ve also got Campus Ambassadors that spread the good word about this prestigious matrimonial site. Great.
I’m not alone
Of all the media coverage they’ve received, there’s none that’s really favourable to this portal.
Japleen Pasricha, for example, wrote this rather scathing open letter when the site launched. Though she received a response from the founder on the changes they intended to make, there are still gaping holes in their mechanism.
It doesn’t help that their own testimonials section features success stories that go something like this:
This article, which showed the detailed procedure of a woman trying to navigate through IIT IIM Shaadi, threw some more much needed light on their flawed mechanism, and the fact that their discrimination doesn’t end at the concept of education alone.
And this is no better than, let’s say, the exclusive dating app, The League, which filters users based on their Ivy League college status, so you have a more adept dating pool. After all, their tagline is “date. intelligently.” What could go wrong…right?