Old City of Hyderabad is at the receiving end–Backwardness tag, demand for huge dowry are hurting girls most

Fatima Hasan

Hyderabad: If you have a daughter and if she is ‘not fair’, you would face difficulty from a certain section of the society for getting a suitable proposal for her.

Or if you live in the Old City, you have might face further difficulty in attracting proper marriage proposal from the so called New City boys.

This malicious prejudice and in some cases ‘racism’ are found in advertisements in many newspapers. And here we are giving you a peep into what kind of girls are sought by the parents of the boys in matrimonial adverts.

Look at what the families of some of the so called ‘boys’ are seeking. The girl should be Very Fair; she should have sharp features; or at the least she should be slim. The girl should belong to ‘well off and reputed family.’ There is also a warning at the end of the advert—if you do not have all these or any of these requirements, keep away, do not even think of approaching.

There is another surprise element.  Out of ten advertisement read by this correspondent, nine were demanding any or all of these features.

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We do not entertain proposals from the Old City, one of the many adverts said.

“These kinds of advertisements show the lack of proper upbringing.  They are downright racist and out to grab as much wealth as possible from the family of the girl. Do the mothers of these would be grooms assure that their boys would be good husbands and not mistreat their spouses?” questions Shabana Yasmeen , an undergraduate with Sultanul Uloom College of Law.

Najeeba a post graduate from Osmania University queried, “Shouldn’t the newspapers put a ban on such adverts?”

The newspaper editors agree that such advertisements would encourage racist and unethical behavior among the people. But they say these advertisements are a major source of their revenue. Therefore, there is no ban on them.     

Hamid Ali a young man who lives in the Old City was disturbed at labelling his part of the town as despicable. More people in the newer parts of the city inhabit people with socially disturbing behavior. “There is nothing like the Old City or New City, it is the mindset of the people that needs to be changed,” he opined.

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There are no two or three parts of this city.  It is rather the culture groups of people associated with,” says Mohammed Masrat, CEO ,  IPRISM  Technologies .

“These stereotypes have been perpetuated for long. It is nothing to do with the geographical parts of the city. Unfortunately most people have fallen victim to this bias and though they have their homes in the older parts of the city, they have moved to newer localities exclusively for the purpose of marry off their daughters to suitable boys,” says Mazhar Hussain, Executive Director, Confederation of Voluntary Associations or COVA.

Over a period of time murder, riots, thefts, kidnapping, eve teasing, dowry harassment and many such societal evils are associated with the Old City.

While demand for fair and lovely girls has always been there what has disturbed the balance in the Hyderabad is boy’s family demanding dowry that has become unbearable.  The dowry system has to be broken and image of the Old City should be improved through organised campaigns. Only then when there can be a balance in social norms, says Hussain.

Fatima Hasan is a Hyderabad based journalist

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