Sat. Jul 2nd, 2022

Of Gold, Dowry and weddings

Roshan Bano

Just a decade or few more years back in our culture bride was adorned with very light silver jewelry on her wedding. Golden jewelry was not even considered. No ring (keep aside golden ring) on behalf of bride groom’s family for to be daughter in law on engagement, no ring was exchanged between bride and bride groom on wedding day. Married women were not supposed to put on any ring, nose ring (nuth or nuthni) as a symbol of their marriage. No any such norm existed at all. But it’s no longer so. It’s totally different nowadays.

With the advent of fast communication and transportation facilities migration to urban areas, frequent travelling and access to media, exposed us to other cultures. We blindly adopted lifestyle of metropolitan middle class, with its negatives and positives .I will focus only on “Golden Jewelry for Bride on Wedding”.

As per current trends we adopted from other cultures, to be in-laws are expected to bring at least one golden ring on day of engagement for to be daughter in law. If they can afford more than this, there is no limit; they are free to bring as much as they can. On wedding day bride is fully adorned with Golden jewelry. Golden Jomer on her forehead, long and huge Golden ear rings in her ears, huge Golden nuth for her nose , up to 2 -3 Golden rings in each finger of her both hands, Golden bangles in her wrist, Golden wrist watch and Golden necklace in her neck.

 She is more like a show-case in shop of a gold smith! Isn’t that? Wait! She has either Golden watch or Golden ring in her purse for her to be bride groom to exchange for the one she will get from him. The minimum amount for all this Golden Jewelry is Rs. 70,000 (seventy thousand rupees!). Why this extravagance?

The accepted and taken for granted answer is to look beautiful. I totally disagree. What lies in Golden jewelry?! How pieces of a unicolured metal cut and moulded in different shape make someone beautiful?

Women have been fooled so intelligently and we are not realizing it. None look beautiful in gold. There is a variety of other more colorful artificial jewelry, multi colored semi-precious stones to be used for beauty purpose and they are affordable and inexpensive in comparison to Gold.

In reality, Golden Jewelry is just an indirect way to demand material thing from the bride’s family, to make them realize that getting to married with your daughter is a favour on my behalf. She including her family must be grateful to me (bride groom) and us ( in laws) and as her gratitude she (bride) and them ( her family) are supposed to do whatever is expected and demanded, be it fair or unfair …including bringing lots of gold so that the couple feel secure materially in case of any financial mishap in future and bla bla bla bla……..

Mind it! Its an expression of gender discrimination. Seemingly decent but the meanest and cheapest if pondered over a bit deeply and the ugliest in its consequences!

It’s one more form of dowry; a cleverly designed way of dominating and exploiting women. It is to maintain male dominance and female subordination. The irony is that this socially harmful and destructive custom or tradition is adopted, practiced and introduced by highly educated, qualified individuals and families. Those members of society who got opportunities to reside in urban areas are more responsible than any other source for introducing all this mess .Inspired by them the rest of society is practicing this in spite of financial constraints.

This cursed custom of Gold jewelry imported from outside cultures as fashion is destructive not only in short run but even more destructive in the long run, currently practiced as fashion or trend. It will not be fashion but tradition for future generations. When it will be tradition then there will not be an escape. It will be as important as wedding feast.

Bride’s family will have to arrange Golden jewelry. Bride’s family will be expected by their daughter, to-be in- laws and the society to arrange golden jewelry for their daughter. If this could not be arranged, bride will be taunted throughout her life in her in -laws.

It will be a lifelong plight for her. God forbid, in extreme situation she will be tortured (it could be mentally, emotionally). Mind you it’s not an exaggerated prediction. We have all this happening around us. Daily reports on media both print and electronic. Engagements are broken just because the to-be bride’s family cannot afford the expected amount of gold and dowry. And if got married bride is tortured, burned, acid is spilled on her and so on.

With these fears in their mind parents don’t welcome baby girl’s birth. Her birth is not celebrated just because of these traditions. The moment she is born saving for her dowry which includes Golden jewelry she puts on her wedding is started. No investment for her education, personality enhancement but saving for her dowry including Golden jewelry for her wedding. Parents and to be bride are helpless because of socio-cultural pressure. Individual family or parents cannot escape this plight as long as the whole society will not abandon it.

The question is, why are we adopting and practicing it? Answer is so simple. We are ignorant. We are not realizing the dreadful consequences of this detestable custom. Cultures practicing this custom are in search of an escape from the suffering of this custom and we are deliberately borrowing those suffering for ourselves.

We are dragging our future generation in to burning fire of plight, torture and agony. Instead of abolishing already existed destructive and gender customs and traditions we are adopting and practicing more and more destructive customs from other cultures that lead to perpetuation of gender discrimination sense of deprivation, and show off.


4 thoughts on “Of Gold, Dowry and weddings

  1. A well written document depicting on some crucial issues emerging in our society. This need to be addressed to our institutions for consideration. Nip the bird in the bush.

  2. Right indication on serious issue in our society,better to get individual responsibility expecialy the new generation in order to preserve there culture despite of how much we get educated and living in urban.especially in language and some serious issues like mentioned in article.

  3. Excellent!!! the article is a very effectively indicates with a sharp flow of ideas some of the many issues surrounding the seemingly blind but subtly conscious adaptations from other cultures. Enveloping birds in golden jewelry is one of it, Roshan has very rightly indicated that it is not for the sack of the the girl (birde)that jewelry is bestowed on her rather it is a bribe for the in-laws of the bride, so shameful. If in-laws are not bribed they will be ultimately torture the bride.

    At the same time the issue of gender discrimination is very obvious issue here, why man is not been ornamented??

    So far our culture is not polluted with what Roshan has warned us of, but she has very rightfully indicated the dangerous trend towards which we are moving and the outcome is suicidal.

    So it is right time to debate, create awareness and and put in place advocacy plans as well as actions to stop this menace of falsehood of beautifying women with jewelry.

    Ahmed Brushal

  4. A very important and serious issue is raised by Roshan. Indeed it will affect us in the long run. Globalization is effecting each individual of a society…this is cultural globalization and we need to be critical about how other cultures are influencing ours and is it right to adopt any other dominant culture…? We need to keep up our identity and at the same time cope with the changes around…. I wish one day we could tell the world that educating daughters is the only dowry given to her in our part of the world.

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