Marriages- Mere Parades of Wealth

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Whatever happens in a society depends upon the degree of civilization its denizens possess. Being civilized doesn’t mean wearing modern dresses, having costly gadgets or owning luxurious cars. It means being developed both ethically and morally.

One of the burning issues in our society is dowry. Every day we hear about some poor girl who committed suicide because of being pressured for dowry by her in laws. Although the dowry system was legally prohibited in India, it still continues unabated in our society. Many cases of domestic abuse as well as many deaths continue to be reported every day because of this menace. But the real question is – who is responsible for it? The answer – we alone are responsible. We have nurtured many baseless customs and traditions in our society. We have given ourselves completely over to greed and have lost all moral values. The only progress we have seen is embracing social evils like dowry in the name of gifts and love showered by the bride’s parents.

Marriages have become auction halls where the family which can buy more gifts takes away the prize or the groom in this case. Even the groom’s side now has to spend lakhs on walima functions because they have a reputation to uphold and show everyone that they can afford much more than their next door neighbour.

Recently, I personally witnessed this debauchery at an engagement party I was invited to. The bride’s side had gone overboard on everything from wazwaan to dry fruits. Everyone from the groom’s side was showered with enough gifts to fill their car backseats. The groom’s side wasn’t also left behind in this circus. While the bride’s side showered them with gifts, the groom’s side suffocated the bride with gold ornaments. Every party eyed the other party’s gifts, speculating about who had won the battle. The party felt more like an exhibition than an engagement party.

Religiously speaking, a Muslim father does not have to bother about dowry as there is no such thing in Islam. Yet we, the so called preachers of this religion, hardly care about these teachings. Large sums of money are given to the groom in the name of gifts. Every marriage sees huge exchange of expensive gifts. A would be bride’s father is buried under the huge demands from the groom’s side. If we look at our religion, the only gift made compulsory  is the ‘Mahr’ or ‘dower’ presented as a token of love and assurance by the groom to his would be wife. The Holy Qur’an instructs the believers, “And give the women (whom you marry) their dower (obligatory bridal gift) happily”.

People today consider it a mark of respect to be able to give and receive more gifts. Occasions like marriage are seen not as a holy binding of two hearts but as a means of showing off one’s wealth. I am all for, ‘if you have it, flaunt it’ but I don’t believe it should be at the cost of other’s sentiments. Marriages shouldn’t be based on money and gifts. They should be a celebration of love and warmth. This is what our peaceful religion teaches us and this is how we should live our lives.

 

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