By AASIF WANI
A marriage nowadays is not less than a mindless contest of wealth exhibition; it is spreading like wildfire throughout society. Those who have money to burn proudly take part in this mindless showoff and create new challenges for the poor people. The institution of marriage, which otherwise, is sacred has become a matter of concern and is challenge for poor people now. People, apart from preparing dozens of dishes, using Boss tubes and loud speakers, blowing up firecrackers, wrap cars, dry fruit, and juice containers with currency notes as well. People, who cannot afford, sell important assets to keep pace with the relatives and society. Marriages solemnized in mosques, temples or churches are valid marriages and it is nowhere mentioned that all the wealth should be invested in marriages. It is the union of souls and has importance in all the religions and societies.
In primitive times, when there was no concept of marriage people were free to have sexual intercourse with anyone; a woman was possessed by numerous men as a result children born out had no identified fathers. There was no concept of family but a lust of sex. Primitive people had a few dissimilarities from animals. However, after the evolution of man , the concept of marriage gave birth. During the days of infancy of this institution, it was not flawless either, there were no prohibited degrees, that is , a marriage between brother and sister was valid, contract marriages ( marriages for specified time) could be entered into and after the lapse of the time specified, men was free to part ways from women. In fact, “Muta Marriages” (contract marriages) in the Shia sect of Muslims is still valid though hardly practiced. A purpose or Muta marriage is totally a separate chapter and cannot be elaborated here. With the passage of time, this institution witnessed huge reformation. Islam and other religions prohibited marriage within certain degrees of relationship like sister, niece, uncle, sister of mother and so on. Unnecessary divorce was restricted, the number of wives in Islam was reduced from seven to four and in Hinduism only one at a time is allowed.
Apart from these positive developments, many gratuitous innovations have surfaced, which are now deemed to be obligatory part of marriages. Marriage has become so expensive and full of extravagance. Religions do not allow any such things and have already prohibited all kinds of lavish usages. Law prohibits these things as well. The Dowry prohibition act was already there and the Jammu and Kashmir Government recently passed an act limiting the number of dishes, guests and prohibiting bursting of firecrackers, use of load speakers and so on. This was passed to prevent the wastage of food and other resources, but people flout all the laws and go with what pleases them.
How innovations give birth?
The activities of affluent and well moneyed people are, followed by the other people of their range, with more intensity. “Akh khout gouris, beyakh khasan dossi’’, which means one rides horse and another tries the same on a wall (a Kashmiri proverb I have closely tried to translate). Middle class people eventually join the race and follow the same, within their capacity and often leaving themselves indebted. Before a month or so, an image of a costly car fully decorated with 2000 notes appeared on social media and many news agencies carried the news. Now photos from Kashmir are doing rounds on social media showing, dry fruit containers and juice cans wrapped with 500/2000 notes. We will soon witness other classes joining the race and using 10/20/100 rupee notes for the same.
It is high time for the young, responsible men and women to counsel their relatives regarding this grave issue. Lawmakers need to follow the resections passed by the Government. Above all, law-enforcing agencies need to take cognizance of the same and help in the implementation of laws passed. Moreover, judicial intervention is need of the hour, this should be placed at par with dowry like crimes, and punishment should be of the same nature. People, before blindly following every damn thing, coming out of anywhere should think about those brides who are dependent on marriage kits of orphanages, those feeble parents who watch their daughters growing out of age, but too poor to do anything. Guests witnessing unnecessary use of resources, acts of public nuisance or other innovations, in pre or post marriage events should s register their silent protest with any elder person of the hosting family. This menace needs to be curbed before it consumes us. It is our collective responsibility lets act reasonable and responsible.
—The author is a student activist, studying in Law School of Kashmir University. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org