NRI Women and Grooms-For-Money-And-Visas: What is Going On In Punjab And Abroad?

Recently on “The Langar Hall” there has been discussion about “Runaway Grooms” who with their immigration status abroad marry women from Punjab, only to abandon them after receiving the dowry. Along with being deserted by their husbands, these womens dreams of going abroad are also shattered. These dreams were generally a primary reason many of the women were married to these men. Hasit Shah writes in his BBC news article,

“You can see it around you. There is a lot of foreign money in this city [Jalandhar]. The NRIs have been coming back and building huge houses and flaunting their success. The locals see this and want a better life for their daughters, but when the husband is unscrupulous, the women’s lives are ruined.”

Many Punjabi men in Punjab/India are also tremendously influenced by this wealth and have dreams of going abroad (a lot of it has to do with lack of job/economic opportunities in Punjab). NRI womens green cards and citizenship status become routes for gaining permanent residency abroad. Interestingly, it is the unscrupulousness behavior of husbands and gendered power dynamics prevalent in Runaway Groom situations that translate into the predicaments faced by a growing number of NRI women who are also manipulated and abused by their Punjabi Sikh husbands from Punjab/India. Their husbands were not interested in a marriage … they really only wanted the money and permanent residency abroad. I completely agree that this is not the outcome of all NRI and non-NRI marriages. Many couples are very happy. Yes, I acknowledge that the circumstances are different for NRI and non-NRI women based on the power hierarchy between the US and Punjab, which influence the choices these women make. However, with these issues aside, in this post I would like to focus on the similarity of situations between NRI and non-NRI Punjabi Sikh women and highlight the unique circumstances of NRI women.

Before I begin to address this issue of grooms-for-money-and-visas, I want to make it clear that in no way am I trying to discount or ignore how NRI men are also mislead into untruthful marriages by Punjabi Sikh women and their families living in India to also gain money and permanent residency status abroad. Too many times I have heard of unfortunate stories of NRI men marrying Punjabi Sikh women, who after their weddings find themselves only months later in divorce situations because all she wanted was a permanent route to America to apply for her family and sometimes also a lover. Regardless, of the perpetrators gender, this type of marital manipulation is utterly devious and leaves many questioning the sanctity of marriage.

In the recent BBC News article discussing the ramifications of Runaway Grooms on women in Punjab, Shah writes,

Talk to people here and they will tell you that the problem is worsening. It is not just NRI men taking advantage of Indian women. Men here in India are targeting NRI women too.

Monica Bharwaj, a British Asian woman who is filing a law-suit against her abusive doctor-husband in Chandigarh states:

I think he married me for visa status and money. When he decided he no longer needed me, he did not want anything to do with me. I was in a terrible situation and I was left on my own. He was very aggressive towards me and beat me several times. He was always demanding money and he told me he’s a doctor and that his wife should be earning as much money as him. He told me not to expect him to feed me.”

Many of these situations begin when women go to Punjab/India to get married. The marriages between NRIs and Non-NRIs are generally pretty quick and/or long-distance through telephone. Usually, the biodatas and families are matched (some consideration is also given to the individual) because we know kisaa daa andhuru thaa dhaakh ni saakh thaa oye that rakhaa pathaa lagh dhaa (you cant see the inside of someone, you only find out once you live with them). So with the pressures of wanting and needing to get married along with green-cards and citizenship status, many NRI women become excellent targets for Punjabi men and their families that are good at putting on a show at initial meetings than their true selves and intentions. These men make promises and show their sensitivity until they know their route to America/abroad is finalized (those women who can figure it out while still in India are lucky compared to women who stay in these marriages trying to make them work for years while the permanent residency application is going through). The verbal and physical abuse along with arguments of we cant adjust can lead to the ending of the marriage.

These women are left stigmatized with the divorce label in a community that thinks if a marriage does not work its more of the womens fault than his, while he goes off with a green-card and dowry to find his real dream girl (or marry the one he left behind).

Hence, as Shah writes, For too many women [NRI and non-NRI] what was supposed to be the happiest day of their life is becoming their worst nightmare because their self-interested and manipulative grooms only wanted money and/or permanent residency abroad.

I wonder why a growing number of NRI women are finding themselves in these situations? I personally have heard these stories too many times, feel utter sorrow for those who are/were in these marriages, and fear for those of us who may end-up in similar predicaments (not out of choice, but circumstance). What are the systemic issues? How does our communitys gendered expectations of cultural and familial responsibilities along with sexuality influence these situations? Or do they at all? How about martial prospects for 2nd generation Punjabi Sikh women in the Diaspora? What role do women and men have in supporting notions of manhood and womanhood? How does this behavior perpetuate cycles of complicity for both genders? How is this complicity manifested into male and female intimate relationships (i.e. friendship, dating, and marriage)? What about gendered power dynamics? Should we break these roles? What is to be gained? What is to be lost?

What do you think? How can we in Diaspora address this issue? What can/should we do in Punjab? What do the men think? Whats the female perspective?


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38 Responses to “NRI Women and Grooms-For-Money-And-Visas: What is Going On In Punjab And Abroad?”

  1. Carstens says:

    I'm sorry but women are just as evil. I know men who were tricked by NRI women.

  2. Carstens says:

    I’m sorry but women are just as evil. I know men who were tricked by NRI women.

  3. satvinder says:

    "The Indian women has become one of the most intolernt women"

    care to qualify that comment?

    With regards to the questions asked in the post – some of them have straightforward answers and some of them have no answers. I'll answer the ones that I think are straightforward.

    What role do women and men have in supporting notions of “manhood” and “womanhood”?

    I think roles are a lot more fluid as are relationships these days. Which makes things a bit more complicated but to some degree a little fairer perhaps. Tho' familial and cultural expectations tend to screw this up a bit.

    What about gendered power dynamics? Should we break these “roles”? What is to be gained? What is to be lost?

    We should definately break the roles. It's time men and women started understanding each other as human beings and respecting each other accordingly. There are fewer barriers in education and in the work place – why should we have the same old-fashioned stereotypes in the home?

    What is to be gained – a better understanding by both genders and hopefully a fairer institution (marriage), What is to be lost – not a lot really – just that things might take a bit longer to work out.

    You have been banned for switching names, for the 5th time. You were warned earlier. You may contact us using the contact form for further assistance. — Admin

  4. bharti says:

    the us and Canada travel advisory specificlly warn aginst mrrying indian women . The Indian women has become one of the most intolernt women .

  5. bharti says:

    the us and Canada travel advisory specificlly warn aginst mrrying indian women . The Indian women has become one of the most intolernt women .

  6. satvinder says:

    “The Indian women has become one of the most intolernt women”

    care to qualify that comment?

    With regards to the questions asked in the post – some of them have straightforward answers and some of them have no answers. I’ll answer the ones that I think are straightforward.

    What role do women and men have in supporting notions of manhood and womanhood?

    I think roles are a lot more fluid as are relationships these days. Which makes things a bit more complicated but to some degree a little fairer perhaps. Tho’ familial and cultural expectations tend to screw this up a bit.

    What about gendered power dynamics? Should we break these roles? What is to be gained? What is to be lost?

    We should definately break the roles. It’s time men and women started understanding each other as human beings and respecting each other accordingly. There are fewer barriers in education and in the work place – why should we have the same old-fashioned stereotypes in the home?

    What is to be gained – a better understanding by both genders and hopefully a fairer institution (marriage), What is to be lost – not a lot really – just that things might take a bit longer to work out.

    You have been banned for switching names, for the 5th time. You were warned earlier. You may contact us using the contact form for further assistance. — Admin

  7. Zico says:

    I wonder why a growing number of NRI women are finding themselves in these situations?

    Family coercion.

  8. Zico says:

    This desire for a green card or visa and route to the west for Indian men is the cause of a lot of misery to Punjabi girls born in the West who are pressured into marrying someone from India for this to happen. This is one of the bad manifestations of the link between the diaspora and India.

  9. Zico says:

    This desire for a green card or visa and route to the west for Indian men is the cause of a lot of misery to Punjabi girls born in the West who are pressured into marrying someone from India for this to happen. This is one of the bad manifestations of the link between the diaspora and India.

  10. Zico says:

    I wonder why a growing number of NRI women are finding themselves in these situations?

    Family coercion.

  11. Roop Rai says:

    I am sorry but after reading your post twice, I still don't know what is the point that you are making that is different than Shah's article that you quoted. You asked more questions than you answered.

    I don't mean any offence by it at all. I am glad someone is taking the time to write about issues as such. I'm merely trying to understand what you're conveying (different from Shah's article) cuz I didn't get it.

    -Roop
    http://unwantedgirlchild.blogspot.com

  12. Roop Rai says:

    I am sorry but after reading your post twice, I still don’t know what is the point that you are making that is different than Shah’s article that you quoted. You asked more questions than you answered.

    I don’t mean any offence by it at all. I am glad someone is taking the time to write about issues as such. I’m merely trying to understand what you’re conveying (different from Shah’s article) cuz I didn’t get it.

    -Roop
    http://unwantedgirlchild.blogspot.com

  13. Ajeet Pall Singh says:

    i am 28 yrs old boy from New Delhi (India)m interested marriage with NRI age limit upto 32 Yrs women if any intersted so contact at my email id.

    [Are you serious? You have to be kidding. Please tell me you are kidding! This is The Langar Hall, not the Ajit Weekly Classifieds…. Admin Singh]

  14. Ajeet Pall Singh says:

    i am 28 yrs old boy from New Delhi (India)m interested marriage with NRI age limit upto 32 Yrs women if any intersted so contact at my email id.

    [Are you serious? You have to be kidding. Please tell me you are kidding! This is The Langar Hall, not the Ajit Weekly Classifieds…. Admin Singh]

  15. david Harrison says:

    [Comment deleted – this is NOT a dating site. – AdminKaur]

  16. david Harrison says:

    [Comment deleted – this is NOT a dating site. – AdminKaur]

  17. Kaptaan says:

    If someone can provide some names or links to organizations providing support or quote people at some NRI service centre or some place in Punjab or India dedicated to helping women or men who've been duped that would be helpful and make the post more useful…

    As it stands both men and women are being taken advantage of… there are NRI women who go to the Punjab and marry several men taking gold jewellery and/ or lakhs of rupees (thousands of dollars) in one trip… and there are men who do the same thing and its not just in the Punjab it is a big problem in Delhi and surrounding areas also. The religious background of the person doesn't make a difference, Hindus are also doing this if you saw the documentary at SWFF there is one representative case of a Delhi Hindu girl highlighted there…

  18. Kaptaan says:

    If someone can provide some names or links to organizations providing support or quote people at some NRI service centre or some place in Punjab or India dedicated to helping women or men who’ve been duped that would be helpful and make the post more useful…

    As it stands both men and women are being taken advantage of… there are NRI women who go to the Punjab and marry several men taking gold jewellery and/ or lakhs of rupees (thousands of dollars) in one trip… and there are men who do the same thing and its not just in the Punjab it is a big problem in Delhi and surrounding areas also. The religious background of the person doesn’t make a difference, Hindus are also doing this if you saw the documentary at SWFF there is one representative case of a Delhi Hindu girl highlighted there…

  19. Harjit says:

    I know my friend who married yo mohali girl. She setup the trap against my nri friend just to obtain money from him using false 498a law he has to pay 25 lakh to girls parents to get out of that fraud. She work in fortis hospital as clinical instructor. Came to know that she was already having bf and affair what would u say about such cheaters and low life ppl from India get your facts straight. My friend was California citizen he is no more alive in this greedy world

    I pldge to spread the word and save other nri ppl life who aren't bad…But instead victim of laalchi ppl from Punjab

  20. Harjit says:

    I know my friend who married yo mohali girl. She setup the trap against my nri friend just to obtain money from him using false 498a law he has to pay 25 lakh to girls parents to get out of that fraud. She work in fortis hospital as clinical instructor. Came to know that she was already having bf and affair what would u say about such cheaters and low life ppl from India get your facts straight. My friend was California citizen he is no more alive in this greedy world

    I pldge to spread the word and save other nri ppl life who aren’t bad…But instead victim of laalchi ppl from Punjab

  21. It is the desire of the people to live a good life in foreign countries(according to them)…But what they are forgeting that it is only GURU JEE who can give them meaningful life. Being an Indian I know whats the stater there in punjab with this NRI fever….Its really a testing ti,e for all of us…

  22. It is the desire of the people to live a good life in foreign countries(according to them)…But what they are forgeting that it is only GURU JEE who can give them meaningful life. Being an Indian I know whats the stater there in punjab with this NRI fever….Its really a testing ti,e for all of us…

  23. Sarbjit Singh says:

    NRI's Also being Duped in Punjab, I Know two Punjabi Sikh Guys who Went To Punjab To get Married They Brought Their Wives to US, Canada, The One Who came To US Already Had Boyfriend Here, After Two Weeks She pack The bags and Left, One in Canada was'nt That Lucky she Told the Boy She not Gonna Stay with Him She is About to Leave, They call the Immigration Sent Her back to Punjab, NRI's Being Duped with all kinda Scams.

  24. M.S.Virk says:

    Immigration to a new land is a commitment to a new way of life, commitment to new way of thinking, making new circles and developing new loyalties. If a person is just immigrating for personal greed, the process is a mercenary effort. No ethical rules apply. If ethnic and village culture is so important to be kept,, stay home where you are. Why do people have to go back to India to marry a stranger when in a new life you can do so locally. Can one not choose locally, or marry from the large disphoria . This fraud exists because we let it happen. Live in a country as a good citizen, make good life and spread it locally. Marry in the country and break the nauseating corrupt culture of the land you are running from

  25. angad says:

    will someone please suggest phone numbers for consulate to report such marriages?My cousin got married to Indian girl, she already had a boyfriend and now demanding difficult amount of money to divorce. Is there anyway, to report such incidents or people in UK?

  26. Jhon says:

    The One Who came To US Already Had Boyfriend Here, After Two Weeks She pack The bags and Left, One in Canada was'nt That Lucky she Told the Boy She not Gonna Stay with Him She is About to learn canadian immigration company

  27. ryz says:

    hiiiiiiiiiiiii frndssssss
    i want a nri frind …

  28. Simranjeet Singh says:

    NRI can be a man or woman.Sex has nothing to do with evil-doer. That is like saying "only short persons are evil". How do we qualify that? Men and women both can cheat. I have seen cases where men/ women who are NRI/ citizens/ resident-Indians cheat others. We need to be cautious. Recently, I got a call from Canada where a person had married of his son on recommendation of a relative. On the very first night, the girl refused to even share bed with husband in Jalandhar. Now they are considering divorce – 15 days after marriage. And girl is going to register FIR against boy and his parents for cruelty for dowry. Who is at fault? NRI parents and son who blindfoldly believed their relative.
    (Simranjeet Law Associates, NRI lawyers in Chandigarh)

  29. Krinent Singh says:

    I wrote a comment but I can't see it displayed. Didn't you like it?

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