Wedding Hands: And Covid going hand in hand

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By WalterThornton

WAVE after tide of this Covid outbreak is affecting life all around the world, such as Pakistan. It’s so paradoxical that the civilised world has set lots of constraints on social gatherings, while at our portion of earth, life is being treated as ordinary; providing a fresh twist to the word’New Normal’. An instance in point is that the wedding hands ceremonies that are in full swing and also continue to be marked with great pomp, pageantry and gaiety.

Lately, I happened to attend three weddings at Islamabad. Each of the functions were organized under the open heavens.

1 factor common in most of the well-attended ceremonies was that the non-observance of standard operating procedures (SOPs) from the Pakistani Young Couple Wedding invitees. These weren’t just flouted, but were intentionally defied. The guests were publicly embracing and hugging each other.

Nobody in these parties had some concern of these wedding extravaganzas function as breeding grounds to the coronavirus. With this kind of a non-serious mindset, how do we expect to conquer the pandemic?

Tying the nuptial knot, in technical terms, is a personal affair between two households, and, like the ritual is intended to be easy.

Rather, in our nation, the conventional approach is to expand the parties for days and weeks together. Along with the pandemic hasn’t dampened the power of convention.

Throughout the very first coronavirus wave, a few sensibility prevailed and the wedding hands that happened were solemnised at a low-key method.

I wonder why we can’t continue with this practice. The heavens won’t fall if the bride and groom take their wedding hands vows in home or in a nearby mosque, using a minimal number of relatives.

Meanwhile, rather than getting into the root cause, we’re repeatedly experimenting and studying the choice of shutting down schools today and then, negatively impacting and undermining the schooling system, and also the future of the coming generations.

Two big elements come into mind while thinking about the spread of this virus, especially in schools.

To begin with, the transport of children from home to college in vans packed like sardines, and, secondly, the seats of children in improvised classrooms, notably the private colleges in residential homes.

I wonder what prevents us from investing in our future generations? Everything boils down to our awareness of priority.

Could it be that the education of kids, 40 percent of whom are handicapped because of stunted growth, or can it be guarding the company interest of marquee and poultry farm owners? The way wedding hands are being held, and therefore are permitted to be held, in such troubled times signifies a muddled sense of disposition about the part of those concerned.

‘Bad Tradition’: Pakistan’s Crippling Dowries Set Enormous Burden On Poor Brides

Gulalai had many suitors in her hometown in Pakistan, in which arranged marriages are common.

However, the marriage proposals fell through since the households of the possible grooms required a hefty dowry her parents couldn’t afford.

“People frequently come to ask for my hand in marriage, but they don’t return as soon as they recognize that my poor family can’t cover a massive dowry,” states Gulalai, who’s in the northwestern state of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Dowries are a centuries-old convention in South Asia in which the Pakistani bride’s parents devote money, jewelry, or clothing to the groom’s household as part of their union.

There are regulations which restrict dowries from the profoundly religious, conservative state of a 220 million. However, the principles are rarely followed or enforced.

Activists say disputes over dowries leave women vulnerable to domestic violence and may even result in death once the in-laws are not pleased with a dowry.

‘List Of Things’

Gulalai isn’t alone in being beholden to a out-of-reach dowry so as to get married. The issue is normal.

“Many families can’t marry their daughters because of dowries,” she adds.

Gulalai claims that the groom’s family frequently presents a listing of things to the bride-to-be’s household. It may include furniture, jewelry, electric appliances, and sometimes even a new vehicle.

The immense expense of this dowry is often a crippling investment for poor households struggling to make ends meet.

The financial strain of attempting to reduce or prevent a dowry or having to get a single compels families to take a marriage proposal for underage women.

Mohammad Ali, the mind of Khpal Kor (Own House), an NGO at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that assists poor families, states dowries have been”an obsolete and unnecessary ritual which is now a contest between households.”

“The households of bad women would be the worst affected because they can not manage it,” he states. “In years past dowries were straightforward and involved kitchen items and clothes. However, now the weight is too much”

Though some women remain unmarried, other households take loans out to meet dowry demands. The loans frequently saddle families with enormous debts they struggle to settle.

“My dad and my brothers obtained loans from several relatives and friends to organize my own dowry,” states Zahida, a girl in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “They tried to find everything that my in-laws wanted.”

But even that wasn’t enough.

Zahida says she’s endured years of emotional abuse from her in-laws that think the dowry her loved ones gave was inadequate.

“It’s been over 15 years since my union,” states Zahida. “However, my husband’s family taunts me concerning the dowry. It is a tradition that is dreadful “

Dowry-Related Deaths

Dowries exist across all levels of Pakistani society since it’s an problem of honour to the bridegroom and his loved ones.

Brides who don’t fulfill the dowry expectations of in-laws tend to be humiliated and physically abused. Sometimes brides are murdered.

Human rights groups state disputes over dowries are often a cause for misuse. Sometimes, even after households compensated dowries they faced pressure to cover more.

“Dowry requirements are often settled in the time of union. But some guys and their families continue to create dowry demands during the union,” said Human Rights Watch, speaking to this practice in the broader South Asian area.

“Girls that cannot meet those demands endure risks of abandonment, beatings, cigarette burns, deprivation of food and drugs, acid attacks, as well as sometimes, passing,” added the New York-based human rights watchdog.

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