An Indian bride called off an arranged marriage after giving her groom a simple arithmetic question. The family had assured her that the husband-to-be was well educated, so the bride decided to test this out for herself. As with some pre-arranged marriages, the bride and groom had not met before wedding arrangements had been made.

The incident occurred in the Rasoolabad village, Uttar Pradesh, India during the proposed marriage between Lovely Singh and Ram Baran. When the two met, the bride decided to check her prospective husband's level of understanding. In a scene reminiscent of the fairy tale 'The Princess and the Pea,' she challenged him to a simple addition exercise, fifteen add seven. When he replied "seventeen", she declared that he was illiterate and lacking in education and felt that the family had not been honest with her. She refused therefore to go ahead with the marriage.

Father Mohar Singh supported his daughter and believed that anyone should have been able to answer the simple sum. He felt that the "groom's family had kept us in the dark about his poor education." Local police had to intervene between the two families in order to ensure that all of the pre-bought wedding presents were returned after the cancellation.

It follows a similar incident in Uttar Pradesh last month, when a bride refused to go through with a marriage after the groom had a seizure during the wedding ceremony. Groom Jugal Kishore collapsed and was taken to the hospital, leaving the bride, Indira, angry that his condition had been kept secret from her.

She decided instead to ask one of the wedding guests to marry her, a member of her brother-in-law's family, who agreed to the proposition. Despite pleas by Mr Kishore to Indira to change her mind, fearing the humiliation of returning without a bride, she went ahead marrying her new partner. Following a complaint to local police by Kishore's family, now that the bride was married, the police considered the matter resolved and the complaint was withdrawn.

Arranged marriages are typically seen as favouring men and having sexist overtones. In the week International Women's Day is celebrated, it is refreshing to see that Indian women are standing up for themselves and are still able to hold sway as to whether a marriage can go ahead. Indian men need to realise that a marriage based on honesty is still the best way forward because secrets will be outed once the couples get together.