In spite of the recognition of the importance of the middle class, its historical fashioning has not so far been empirically studied. This study is a part of a project that examines the factors that influenced the behaviour of the contemporary middle class in western India using time series data constructed from unpublished sources. A substantially higher age at marriage, which was reached much earlier than other classes, is one of the distinguishing features of the middle class. The current paper examines reasons behind the rapid increase in the marriage age over 1900-50 among the Chitpavan brahmins of Maharashtra. In particular, the project of fashioning the emerging nation, an ideology widely shared, is highlighted as an important factor behind the increase in the age at marriage for middle class women in western India.