India markets in everything

Premarital investigations cost $200 to $400 and take seven to 10 days. Detectives follow the subject for 12 to 18 hours daily and chat up co-workers, domestic help and tradesmen under various pretexts. “Beware — your neighbor knows everything,” says Sanjay Singh, chief executive of New Delhi’s Indian Detective Agency. “Sometimes more than you know yourself.”

Particularly useful are fake marketing surveys. Enticed into participating with the promise of a free gift, sometimes something as modest as a bottle of shampoo, the subject or a neighbor may reveal a secret relationship or details of a would-be bride or groom’s late-night entertainment activities and smoking or drinking habits.

“People love freebies,” says Krishna Kumar, an Anapol Institute graduate. “Most fall for it hook, line and sinker.”

She worked at a computer company for four years before deciding detective work would be a lot more challenging. Women have a big advantage as sleuths because they’re non-threatening, can mingle better and are more intuitive, she says.

“I like doing premarital investigations best,” she says. “You’re watching someone go in a new direction, and your work could make or break their future.”

…Most premarital investigations are ordered by parents, although sometimes spouses-to-be want a little snooping done, including women keen to size up their prospective mothers-in-law in a society where it is common for couples to live with the husband’s extended family.

The story is here, and for the pointer I thank Vishal Ganesan.  Oh, and the results?:

According to detectives, investigations turn up significant problems in about 60% of cases. In about 10%, the discoveries are explosive enough — such as previously undisclosed marriages or serious hereditary diseases — to cause cancellation of the wedding.

For the caste-conscious, a hidden Dalit relative, or so-called untouchable, is also problematic. “Caste and dowries remain huge issues today, and people like to exaggerate,” says Sachit Kumar, director of Globe Detective Agency.

A factor driving premarital investigations is the growing number of cases in which foreigners of Indian descent marry and then disappear, often taking huge dowries with them. It happens to 30,000 brides every year in northern Punjab state alone, according to India’s National Commission for Women.


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