Wedding is a costly affair in India but some Muslims in the city have found a way out. They are now turning to the idea of mass weddings where many couples tie the knot under the same roof at the same time.
Such ceremonies are organised by community groups and they help parents share the costs. Some influential Muslims organised a ceremony on Sunday in Juhapura where 12 couples took the vows at the same time.
Four affluent Muslims of the city - Zahid Memon, Sajjad Bose, Sajid Qureshi and Shafiullah Bawa - were behind the concept of organising the wedding ceremony for 12 young couples of Juhapura. The 'nikaah' was organised according to the modern 'nikaahnama' based on the Quran, designed on a national level by Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan.
It was a moment of melancholy mixed with pride for Zeenat Bano, whose daughter tied the knot at a recent mass wedding. "My two daughters got married at the mass wedding ceremony and we spent only around Rs8,000," said Bano. "If we had organised the wedding on our own, it would have cost us so much more" she added.
Mohammed Habib, one of the grooms, said mass weddings were useful in saving money and time. "I am very glad to have got married at this ceremony because it has saved my family a lot of money. It would have been impossible for my family to shell out such enormous amount of money individually," said Habib.
In times of recession, weddings have become a very expensive affair, with the families having to pool in money for making arrangements as well as for dowry.
The giving or receiving of dowry, usually money or gifts, is illegal and therefore punishable in India, the practice continues unabated in several parts of the country.
"Dowry exists in several parts of the country because it is a traditional concept. Mass weddings help people save a lot of money which could be spent on education and other purposes," said Noorjahan Diwan, state convenor of Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan.
Shafi Anwar Sahab, an Islamic priest, said the mass weddings adhered to the Islamic law and were indeed very helpful at times of global slowdown when marriage has become a pricey issue.
"Marriage is something which does not require excessive pomp. It is an occasion when two young people accept each other as man and wife. It is heartening to see well-off residents of the city contributing to make others happy," said Sahab.
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