Fat Muslim weddings are draining away resources of community

Syed Qamar Hasan

By Syed Qamar Hasan

Fat Muslim weddings and the accompanying regal fanfare are draining away resources of the community. Dinners at these weddings served in gorgeous halls of the exorbitantly priced super fancy marriage halls ( read palaces /castles), are but feasts for kings, dished unabashedly to thousands, who have more dinners than appetite.

After two seasons of Covid-19 caused draught, the wedding season is back with a vengeance, throwing the gauntlet to the pandemic. A see-saw battle is on between the defiant hosts, their equally defiant guests, and the resurging pandemic. The verdict- the pandemic has edged past the party-goers, as reports of the surge in numbers suggest, apparently the majority being the attendees to the wedding and other social gatherings.

MS Education Academy

The fortunate of the community showing little regard to the pleas of community elders, social workers, politicians, not the mainstream naqheebs and habeebs (captains and beloveds) and flaying’s by men of cloth, continue to show off their boorish tastes at weddings, betrothals, and related rituals. The money spent, sources in the business claim could be anywhere between Rs 3,500/ to 4000/ crore. The estimate could even go up to over Rs 5,000 crores. Only if the spenders show some concern for the existing condition of the community and channel a percentage to projects underway for the betterment, it would greatly ease the situation.

Muslim wedding rituals were once a simple faith-based contract between man and woman to be wife and husband, solemnly solemnized by a Qazi in the presence of two Gawha (witnesses) has become so costly and expensive that for many a families marriage of their wards, male or female, has become a financial nightmare. The malady has not spared the lower rungs of the community, following suit they bend over backward to keep up with their rich and well-to-do brothers in faith. And willingly succumb to miseries of becoming debtors to ruthless loan sharks, pawning and pledging whatever meager resources they have to pay for the show. The middle and upper-middle classes go for bank loans to be in the rat race and end up in huge debts. While many such marriages end up on the rocks. (press reports say ten to fifteen in every 1000 marriages are vulnerable to divorce).

There may be exceptions, but generally, the Muslim wedding season begins with the onset of the third month of the Muslim calendar and ends in the eighth month before the fasting month of Ramadan begins. The positive to all this expensive razzmatazz is the micro-economics, providing short relief for the lower cadres in the industry who work on daily wages from serving food to washing the leftovers.

Shariah, (Islamic canonical law) disapproves and discourages uncalled-for expenditure on the bride. Going by the template of the times of the Prophet, there is no space for dinners on the wedding night from the bride side, nor the practice of shipping expensive house furnishing as Dehaj (dowry) to the bridegroom house. Shariah enables the institution of marriage easy and affordable for the parents of the bride. Ignoring the book is delaying marriages for girls as many parents are unable to meet the demands of the bridegroom’s side. In the Arab Gulf societies, it is vice-versa as the shots are called from the brides’ side. Here it is the boys’ side that has to provide with the Dahej to the girl along with handsome jointure, giving youth reason to go for non-gulf wives.

Once upon a time marriages in Hyderabad, with the exception of a few of the rich nobility and aristocracy, were a simple affair done within a couple of hours. Held in homes and nearby open spaces under shamianas (tents). Except for the amplified Bollywood wedding songs played till late into the night to the angst of the neighbors.

A cup of tea with the famed Osmania biscuits and the post-Nikah ceremony, which would be over by evening, people close to the bride and bridegroom’s family would be furtively signaled to stay back for a special at-home. And food for about twenty or thirty people or more depending on status would be packed and handed over to the bridegroom’s entourage at the time of Vidai (ceremonial departure of the bride for her husband’s home).

That was all about affordable and normal marriage, performed free of any status burden. And as time went by, the tea and biscuit were improvised with a slab of ice cream. Then the ice cream also vanished, giving way to traditional biryani with a couple of side dishes and a sweet dish of either qhobanee or double ka meetha (Apricot and Bread pudding). And finally, to what it is today. Kingly feasts in imperial style, where event management companies, expensive orchestras, celebrity crooners, reputed professional photographers, designer outfits for bride and bridegroom costing lakhs for just a night’s wear, jasmine and mint leave garlands weighing kilos are the in things Rituals like Bridal shower, Mehendi, and dholki were added on adding to the costs. Incidentally, the famed Falaknuma Palace, the abode of the Nizam now leased out to a leading hotel chain, is the latest of the facilities available to whosoever can pay the price.

Old Hyderabadi households recollecting the past times, say expenditure incurred on weddings could be from Rs 100,000 to 200,000. The Dehaj and jointure were more or less a private affair. The weddings then had certain poetic charm, as the bridegrooms retreating Baraat (entourage), loaded with furniture and other household paraphernalia, mostly items of daily use Dehaj and the Dulhan cozied in fancy palanquin ferried by Bhoees (helpers) and the bridegroom himself on a caparisoned horse, in a Phlegethon of gas lamps as an accompanying liveried band belting out Bollywood ditties. Exceptionally few weddings were not the run-of-the-mill kind. Weddings of privileged households reflecting patronymic standing would run for days with an all-time Nubat ( drum and Shenai) drumming day and night marked the ceremonies.

Subscribe us on The Siasat Daily - Google News
Back to top button