Pakistan cleric radio station hit.
Wow, I thought. A cleric radio station that is actually a hit with the locals! What does it play? Not music, surely? Maybe cultural or religious issues with a dose of modernity? Eagerly, I clicked on the news link. And the truth shall set you free.
Let's move on to Pakistan's neighbour. Another BBC news article caught my eye. This is about dowry fraud. Foreign Indians return to the mother country to marry a girl, get the dowry and disappear, leaving a girl and her family scarred financially, socially and economically. I don't know if Bangladeshis face this problem - a few months ago the CBC (Canada's BBC) did an equivalent documentary, called Runaway Grooms, on Canadian Indians engaged in this vile act.
For me, the first thing when I saw Runaway Grooms page was this picture.
This is the picture from the CBC link. Note that the groom is missing in this ceremony. The girl is getting married to a photograph!
Now before you think this is a Hindu India problem or a rural problem, I have encountered a few such weird wedding practices amongst the educated elite in Bangladesh as well (thankfully no frauds).
- Phone wedding (guy in Canada says I do, girl in Bangladesh says I do).
- 'Proxy' Wedding. Guy is here. So he nominates friend or brother who is in Deshland to stand on his behalf. 'You may kiss the bride' not yet part of marriage ceremony there.
- Text Wedding (now this is verging close to Maniac Muslim's online nikkah, but essentially the guy texts his "I do"s to the girl's cell who stores it in her inbox as 'proof'. Apparently, have not heard of this site.
- Surprise! Wedding - Guy comes to get engaged, elders decide to get them married.
- All Inclusive Tour Package For Ladies - Go for vacation back home, see the sights. Hotels, mealplans and one husband included. Usually accompanied by tragic phonecall to non-existent Canadian embassy.
So far, I have not heard of anyone who has gone to bed single yet woken up married (I heard rumours of a reverse case).
All this makes me wonder - WTF?! No, seriously, WHAT THE F***?!!! Has the so-called clerics in these small town villages or back home lost their minds? And what excuse does the immigrant, foreign residing desi have for submitting to this ancient practices? And that's the last part that bugs me.
If someone my parents decided to get me hitched called me up and said, "Ei, listen! I was thinking of saying our Bismillah Kabuls by phone, next Sunday there's a 2-for-1 deal, book an STD line and get an Imam free, how's that for you?" I would probably change my number and get an unlisted line. Not to mention telling my parents not to contact Rishtaa Aunty for any more rishtaas.
I have a bad habit. When I get interested in something, I research that topic thoroughly. I exhaust literature on that topic. A few months ago I got interested in Muslim marriage rules, though for reasons mentioned here. All of which has led me to compile a list of dos and don'ts every Muslim must demand in their prenup, or nikah-naama. Islam is good and beautiful, unfortunately some uneducated Muslims can be SOBs.
Since this post has already grown big, I will make that list part 2, iA.
Tags: Desi Marriage Dowry