SRINAGAR: Weddings in Kashmir Valley have become very expensive and a familiar problem for many Kashmiris is how to afford it. Parents and guardians of thousands of girls of marriageable age have difficulty in finding suitable grooms for their daughters because they cannot afford the huge costs involved in getting them married. However, as every cloud has a silver lining, a couple of social organisations have launched crusade on behalf of such families and their approach is gaining quite a following.
One such organisation is Jaffri Council of Jammu and Kashmir which made as many as 105 young couples to tie the nuptial knot at a mass marriage function held in Srinagar at the last weekend. It was first such event in the history of Kashmir. The organisers said that just Rs 50,000 were spent on each wedding including Mehar, the mandatory payment in the form of money or possession paid by the groom or his father to the bride at the time of marriage. All the newly-wed and their immediate family members were served traditional feast at the end of the nikkah ceremony.
The crusade launched by the Council has been greatly appreciated across the Valley . The Valley normally witnesses large and lavish wedding ceremonies, which typically involve folk singing, dancing and the rich multi-course Kashmiri cuisine wazwan. The ceremonies go on for days and each extravagant event costs millions of rupees. Despite repeated appeals for austerity from a section of clergy and social organisations, guest lists are growing by the day. So do the number of wazwan preparations served to them. Also many such rituals have been added to weddings which were until recently unknown to the locals. All this has taken ceremonies to a record opulence.
A few people began thinking about girls and boys who can’t plan their wedding for huge outlay it involves. “We met cross-sections of people and found thousands of children who have crossed age 30 but are still single. We decided to work on this," said Ghulam Rasool Chakan, the general secretary of Jaffri Council....