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Khandar or Nikah: Choose Wisely

This burning issue calls for immediate attention
12:00 AM May 10, 2024 IST | ABID RASHID BABA
khandar or nikah  choose wisely
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Last time I wrote about Kashmir’s marital mess and how I was rejected for not having a government job, I got funny responses/proposals from some kind souls. The loyal readers of this newspaper know that I am a huge advocate of early marriage. Since this piece is more of a social satire, let’s get Nikahfied first and then we can have Rukhsati and Walima the next day at my humble bungalow. But wait, where is the potential bride?

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Now that I have upscaled my skills, earned a relevant Master’s degree, successfully completed a few fellowships and courses, earn a decent living to live a luxurious life, do I have the privilege to choose a partner of my choice now. I don’t understand why government service is a criterion for boys to get married?

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People say I look like a 25 something handsome hunk but I am officially a 30-year old man without Sarkaer Naukri. I am a son-out-law. I do not know the luckiest father who would prefer me to be the prince charming of his princess, Kaeshir Señorita. Almost a year ago, when the father of this particular girl agreed that I could come to see his daughter at their home as per the arranged marriage rules and regulations, I was so happy that I got dark circles for not sleeping enough.

Finally in a 55 minute talk, she reiterated that if I am not a government servant then it will be difficult for us to agree to this marriage proposal. Her money minded banker father had already asked how much money I make a month?

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That is an insult to a would-be zaamtur. I hope koore moul will understand the dynamics of this post-truth world and choose wisely. You can have Nikah in a local mosque and take your bride home. You can also be shameless to come to the bride's home and have an expensive feast prepared with the sweat and blood of her wife’s father. Choice is all yours.

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The vulture culture of our matrimonial market has created an invisible crisis. Late marriage is a cancer, it is a curse. At 30, I should have been a father of a 9-year old child but I think this unkind society doesn’t let a 21 year old boy take responsibility. We have a bad habit of spoon-feeding our men and women. Take a walk around Kashmir University and you will notice the plight of scholars. If a 32-year old is dependent on parents for bus-fare, it is not worth a career.

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The ascending graph of distressed and anxious young souls walking aimlessly is a worrying factor. They feel lonely. They want to settle down but we have collectively put brakes on their path. Let me explain. Due to hormonal changes, when the physical needs are not fulfilled, it creates disorder in our body.

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There is no decent approach to tell this story since we all have grown in a womb - our first dress and address. Girls are the worst sufferers. From menarche till late 30’s, we can imagine how it ruins the reproductive health of females and increases the rate of childlessness. Just like the thirst and hunger of our stomach, having a partner beside you is a natural urge. There is nothing wrong with it.

Dear parents, try to understand that your nech (daughter) or nyuk (son) is not dodde shur. You do not know that s/he is involved in activities causing a lot of harm to his/her body. Marrying late increases the rate of depression and lesser life satisfaction. The socio-economic, educational and the political developments of the contemporary world have affected the practices, rituals, values and norms of marriage. Conflict, poverty, modern education, dowry, unemployment, caste consideration are some of the key reasons for late marriages in Kashmir.

I don’t understand why girls hesitate and not take the first move. Why do you forget that a 40-year old widow proposed to a 25-year beloved Muhammad (PBUH). Islam prohibits adultery but allows marriages of choice. Our ‘well-educated’ parents wait for the ‘perfect match’. It never comes. Thousands of girls are waiting for the henna-dyed hands. If you truly believe that Allah is the sustainer, you will never reject boys for not being “servants of the government.”

Marriage is a rigorous training program which shapes our existence. But we don’t understand the logic since common-sense is very uncommon. It is a legal and social contract to start a new lease of life. It is a game-changer event. But our “customs and traditions” have tainted this otherwise sacrosanct relation.

The odd reality is embarrassing and we are not willing to gulp the bitter truth that expensive attire, vehicles purchased from a bank loan, are material assets and material is always stressful. Love thrives because love is immaterial. When lover’s feel that the society is crossing the line and not respecting the laws of love, they just pack their bags and elope and come back after a year or so and start afresh.

That is called breaking the glass ceilings. While enjoying the luscious lunch, when was the last time we thought about the orphan or under-privileged daughters struggling to get married? They have almost crossed the marriageable age. Hundreds of families are not able to meet the benchmark we are setting. Why should a future mother-in-law be bothered about the single story house of the bride? Is this how low we have stooped? My priority should be the bride's personality. After all, I have to marry a girl, not the second story of her house. In this age of marital mess, this is bizarre and the highest form of stupidity.

Nikah is a beautiful adhesive bond of opposites. This magnetic relation is the most cherished yearning. Men and women are twin halves of each other. Nuptial-knot is an obligation to please benevolent God. It cements organic love. It accelerates mutual respect, selflessness and forgiving factors between the couple. Above all, wedlock is a way to acquire spiritual perfection.  Marriage is the foundation stone of new relations. We need physical and emotional comfort to live a stable life. Better-half is what completes our existence socially and psychologically. Pairing –up is natural and anything unnatural is harmful.

Conflict has orphaned thousands of boys and girls. Making sure that we help them in whatever way possible is what Nizam-e-Mustafa preaches. Otherwise, hollow sloganeering doesn’t hold water. In a life-threatening situation when the emotive appeals are shared on social sites about blood donation, ever noticed someone not allowed to donate just because s/he belongs to a particular caste. No. It doesn't happen.

Why don’t you let someone start a new life with a person from a different caste? How does it even count? Since caste is just an identity. It is not a virtue or vice. This social evil has to be binned. Who will bell the cat? Me. I am ready to marry a person from any caste. I don’t care what the society will think of me. Nobody pays my bills. I have stopped getting validation from random/toxic people.

Dear Molvis, I know that you are wielding immense influence on the ‘highly religious’ Kashmiri community. Please use pulpits and platforms to educate the devotees about the ills of late-marriage or the drawbacks of expensive marriages, a complete corporate waste. For heaven’s sake, stop the blame game and address the elephant in the room. This burning issue calls for immediate attention.

Look for compatibility, not chemistry, in your partner. I am not good at maths but don’t get into those numbers. Do not devalue people. Devaluation hurts both parties. Groom is the economic security of the bride, if he asks for dowry; he is a ready-made case to be called a professional beggar. Say NO to beggars. No two people are the same on this planet. At times, things look best on the surface, but they can be the ugliest. We all have to accept our partners with all their imperfections, with their abusive or tragic past.

In Kashmir, couples don’t marry; their families and relatives marry each other.  Immaterial values in a person should be a top priority.  Money comes and goes. Love remains. True love does not die. It is reciprocal. It always comes back to you. Good-looking doesn’t mean good person within. Nothing lasts long. Outer beauty withers. Kind-hearted souls get along well.

While the body decays, love blooms. Love is the hunger of the soul. The love-filled union breaks the barriers and boundaries of caste or class divide - otherwise a massive monster. Forced marriages give rise to domestic violence, extra-marital affairs, family feuds and psychological trauma in children. Let’s promise to make marriages a blessed bond.

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