Marriages: then and now
THE PHENOMENON OF MARRIAGE HAS CHANGED A LOT OVER THE YEARS, COMMENTS DR SHABANA ASLAM
Most of us love to read the beautiful lines usually written on top of the invitation cards that ‘marriages are settled in the heaven but celebrated on the earth’. But, I wonder that if marriages are really settled in heaven, then why many marriages of today collapse even before their complete celebration. It is true that times have changed a lot and so has the meaning of marriage as well. A few decades back marriages would not be as complex as they are today. Marriage used to be an important affair and would be performed with austerity. Depending upon the family set-up, the girls would be married as earlier as possible. Despite the fact that most of the girls would not be much qualified and settled, they would get a match very easily. From the parents’ side, the preference would be for a man capable of earning his livelihood. The priority would be for gentleness and stable living only. Parents would be more than happy if they could get a well-settled bridegroom for their daughter. Most of the mothers would teach their daughters to be less demanding and learn to settle as per the status of their husbands. And, husbands in return would take care of the genuine demands of their wives. But, in today’s society, the meaning and the understanding of the marriage has altogether changed. Now that the girls have outshined the boys in many ways and they are no more a neglected lot now, the criteria for today’s marriages have also changed. Most of the qualified and well-earning boys and girls do not get married at a proper time. The moment our children
become doctors, engineers, etc, etc, we start cashing them. Our preferences for a match change automatically. A boy doesn’t prefer to marry an unemployed girl, even if she is highly qualified. Similarly, the priority for today’s parents is that if my neighbour’s daughter got a doctor, my daughter should get an engineer, if someone married his daughter in Pakistan, my daughter should settle with her husband in Dubai. Likewise, we advocate the marriage within the same caste only.
We feel ashamed to marry our children outside our caste. We refuse very good proposals only on the grounds that they don’t belong to our so-called self-made higher castes. The keystone species in this whole drama are the mediators, the so-called manzeum yaer. Earlier, these mediators would be treated very casually and hardly be given the bus fare and a few pennies as a reward. But, nowadays, taking the advantage of the situation, these mediators are simply ruling the roost. They are looting the families like anything. They have fixed the rates separately for doctors, engineers, lecturers, etc. and we are ready to pay any cost. Just because he got us a pompous proposal, we remain subservient to him. The height is that, in today’s times, nobody can actually afford to annoy a mediator. Why is it so? Only, because we want to marry our children in such a way, that our collars are always kept up in the society. No one of us can deny the fact that there are a number of cases in which many of the boys settled outside the State were forced by the parents to marry the local girls.
And, not all, but many of those marriages resulted in a disaster, because those boys had already married to foreign girls. Without bothering about the repercussions, we choose to marry our daughters to NRKs, settled abroad in various countries. We can hardly resist the temptation and without proper enquires, let our children get spoiled in the name of marriage. In this mad race, parents have probably lost the emotional bonding with their daughters and never bother about the deadly trap, their daughter may fall in. We know that marriage is a gamble and it may or may not work. And, God forbid, if it doesn’t work, in that situation a woman will always look for a support, at least from her parents. But, what will happen to a woman who is far away from her parental home? With whom will she share the burden of her failed marriage? Of course, in the strange country, there will be no one to listen to her woes. This may lead to the isolation, trauma, psychological breakdown and ultimately the untimely end of a chirping bird.
Do we ever think of the two persons who although are well settled at their own level but are not compatible ideologically. There is an example where I know a woman who is married to a Kashmir-based doctor working somewhere in US. Both husband and wife belong to very reputed and well settled families and both of them are professionally settled as well. One should therefore expect their marriage to be a great success. But, it is shocking to know that their marriage is a complete disaster and at the verge of extinction. What reason could one assign to this failure? I don’t understand the fun of the marriage in which the two persons in a relationship are not compatible ideologically.
Another growing menace is the way we are modifying our religion to suit our own interests. There was a time when we would send a piece of meat or at the most the hind limb (raan) of a sheep to the bridegroom’s house, as a tradition of sending the qurbani meat. And, now the times have changed to the extent that we now send not only the whole living sheep but also the pounds (gold coins) hanging in their necks. How can this thing be accommodated in the frame of wisdom, decency and enlightenment? A question needs to be answered that are we really heading towards
advancement or are we day by day getting more and more backward. If we have really acquired any qualification, we need to educate ourselves as well. How can a marriage that is from day one based on the business of exchanging hefty gifts with each other, work well. Ironically most of the times the mastermind behind all these wrong doings is a woman—a mother, a sister or someone else. There is a famous African proverb that “If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family”. Unfortunately, in some cases, women prove it but in a reverse order and transform the mental make-up of the entire family. In the name of tradition, they do these illogical acts and script the story in such a cunning way that the hapless men in the family have no other option but to go with it. Isn’t it really shameful, that despite belonging to the same gender, we are propagating the gender bias for our own type and then we are the same ones who are always beating the drums of domestic violence?
We, as women need to be much more responsible while dealing with such sensitive issues like marriage. Of late, it is quite good to see the trend in which the bridegrooms prefer to go with only a few people in Baraat, that too on a cup of tea only, and thereby reducing the burden of girl’s parents. But, at the same time it’s highly saddening to know that some of them demand other heavy gifts
against that meager favour. Whom are they cheating? The people or their own selves.
Isn’t this the high time to think about this whole issue? Imparting good education to our children doesn’t mean that, we should sell their posts and positions. I’m not advocating the ideology that reputation and status are not important for a marriage but I personally believe that the institution of marriage should not be kept hostage to them. We need to value it, after all it is a union of two souls and not a merger of two business partners. If we really want to cash the education and status of our children, we should encourage them to make the institution of marriage stronger by marrying to persons who are high in their moral values. Marriage should be done between two persons who are compatible in ideology, personality and profession, and not only in caste, money and status.
(Dr Shabana Aslam is a lecturer in the School Education Department)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 29 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 29 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 30 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
- MORE FROM OP-ED
GK NEWS NETWORK
Srinagar, June 29: Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, Wednesday said that justice to all and equitable development in the state was his Government’s benchmark. He said fast track progress of backward areas More
- Srinagar City
‘Police stations are industrial units for NC workers, policemen’
Srinagar, June 29: Accusing the ruling National Conference-led government of ignoring Srinagar, the Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday demanded an “explanation” from City MLAs, all of whom belong More
- For Contributors
How to contribute?Email your articles and letters only at email@example.com and not on any other ID meant for news, advertisements, public notices etc. Contributions received on these IDs won More
Srinagar: High Court of Jammu and Kashmir has declared July 1 as Provincial holiday for Kashmir in the High Court on account of Friday following Shab-i-Me’raj instead of June 30. More
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, June 29: India is looking for a special "government to government" agreement with Canada to get access to all services of BlackBerry, including its enterprise mail, following differences between More