Rural Karnataka bachelors face rigorous financial scrutiny in marriage proposals

Post-pandemic, potential brides prioritise IT jobs and land ownership in potential partners
In the last four years, Mallesha DP from Devipura village has been trying to experiment with sericulture, aquaculture and other agricultural practices other than traditional farming to increase his earnings.
In the last four years, Mallesha DP from Devipura village has been trying to experiment with sericulture, aquaculture and other agricultural practices other than traditional farming to increase his earnings. Photo: Himanshu Nitnaware

In rural Karnataka, bachelors are facing intense scrutiny from potential brides and their families before marriage proposals are finalised.

Young bachelors, particularly farmers from the Vokkaliga community in Mysuru and Mandya districts, are finding it increasingly difficult to secure matches due to their agricultural backgrounds.

Despite possessing land and property, less educated farmers are not in demand. Women from rural villages prefer men who lead urban lifestyles with IT or government jobs. Even when a proposal is considered, convincing the potential bride or her family remains challenging.

HL Yamuna, state president of Karnataka Rajya Okkaligara Vikas Vedike (R), provides a matrimony service for bachelors who are farmers, unemployed, undergraduates or less privileged. 

After participating in hundreds of such matchmaking efforts, Yamuna noted that women have a significant advantage and conduct thorough scrutiny. 

Speaking with DTE, she recounted an instance where a man claimed to have 54 acres of family land. “The woman investigated and discovered that his actual share was just over three acres after division among family members. She immediately rejected the proposal,” Yamuna said.

Even bachelors with IT and government jobs, who have moved to cities for better education and work opportunities, face difficulties. 

Kumar DP from Devipura village in Malavalli taluka of Mandya district mentioned that women inquire about income bracket, residence details, and even team leader and role specifics.

“Women want someone with a stable job and potential opportunities to work abroad for a few years,” he stated.

Supporting this, Yamuna added that women often use social media and other online sources to verify claims. Twenty-eight-year-old Navin shared that women asked for his salary certificate and job offer letter before considering the proposal.

The intense scrutiny arises because women previously believed that a man working in the city at an IT company would be financially secure, only to discover later that his income was lower than expected, Yamuna explained.

The situation has worsened post-COVID-19, as the pandemic caused many job losses globally. 

Manjunath, a businessman from Chikati village in Mysuru district, observed a shift in expectations. “Earlier, women were accepting of men with IT jobs in the city. But post-pandemic, they now seek land ownership along with the job,” he said.

He explained that, although women may not want to work in the fields, agriculture serves as a fallback livelihood in case of job loss.

This adds further pressure on farmer bachelors already struggling with poor financial stability and limited education.

However, Mallesha DP from Devipura village believes there is nothing wrong with women seeking financial security.

“There is no reason to blame them for looking after themselves. As a farmer’s son, I have seen the struggles firsthand. Farmers have land and properties worth crores, but any parent would want their daughter to live a comfortable life without facing the same hardships,” he explained.

Mallesha has spent the last four years experimenting with sericulture, aquaculture, and horticulture alongside traditional farming. “It has improved my financial condition. Perhaps this is what farmers need to do—try new things,” he suggested.

He hopes that, over time, women will become more understanding of their male counterparts. “Having lived in farming families, they are best positioned to understand the situation and know how to handle it,” Kumar said.

Shivaprasad, another bachelor farmer from the same village, pointed out that issues and problems exist even in urban India. “Divorces, crime, and financial troubles also affect working-class populations. Rural areas offer better conditions in some cases, including cleaner air, water, and food,” he said.

He hopes that over time, women will recognise this and become more considerate towards young farmers.

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