Hyderabad: The twain shall never meet. That’s what comes to mind when one thinks of “saas-bahu” in the Indian context.
Perpetually at loggerheads, each trying to dominate the other. The image portrayed by TV soap operas of a devilish mother-in-law and a silently suffering daughter-in-law took a beating here on Sunday. For a change, however, many daughters-in-laws spoke glowingly about their mothers-in-law and the latter sang paeans to their bahus.
At the “Saas Go To Aisi (A mother-in-law should but be thus)” programme organised by the Socio Reforms Society, 20 women were felicitated for being exemplary mothers-in-law.
While marrying off their sons they had not made any dowry demands. There was no insistence on the brides’ families to even host the customary dinner.
“There is no egoistic clash, distrust or misunderstanding between us,” said Nusrat Sultana and her daughter-in-law Sabiya Begum, echoing the views of many women who had gathered at the Khaja Mansion in Banjara Hills.
The programme was intended to encourage women who ensured simplicity in marriages, marking a departure from lavish and ostentatious ceremonies which have become the bane of the Muslim community.
For fear of “what people might say”, many families are going bankrupt by incurring huge expenditure in the marriage of their wards. “This trend should change, and marriages should be made simple in tune with the Islamic spirit,” said Aleem Khan Falaki, president, Socio Reforms Society.
It was for the first time that Muslim women gathered in large numbers to find a solution to the burning issue of dowry in marriages. It is no longer a social issue but one of “halal and haram”, many felt. For a change the programme was run by women alone. Men were made to sit behind the curtain.
Salma Shaheen was the cynosure of all eyes for marrying off her three sons on a single day without demanding any dowry. “We did not burden the brides’ parents in any way,” said the proud mother-in-law, clutching at the memento.
Prof Shahida, head of women’s studies at the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, attributed the spurt in dowry deaths and trafficking to increasing demands for jehaz which many families are not in a position to fulfil. “Of the dowry deaths in the country, Muslims account for 23 per cent.”
Many women came forward to express themselves. Aquila Khamooshi wanted the word “Nikah” to be used instead of “Shaadi”. The latter has come to denote pomp and show in weddings, she said. Merely blaming women for perpetuating dowry was wrong, she said, and wanted everyone to join hands to root out this evil....