Stories about dowry

Zesty and witty, Load Wedding uncovers body shaming and marriage like never before

Director cum screenwriter Nabeel Qureshi and producer Fizza Ali Meerza, the famed duo behind hits like Na Maloom Afraad, Actor In Law and Na Maloom Afraad 2, are once again back to lure filmgoers. This time, they are ready to amaze movie-buffs with a newfangled theme; conveying the message regarding social issues via a highly charged romcom – Load Wedding. The much anticipated film has been creating buzz and excitement since its first look was released. It is obvious, judging by the recently released official trailer, that the subject is captivating for various reasons. The three-minute trailer is a mix plate ...

Read Full Post

Why India will continue to be the world’s most dangerous country for women

India’s record on women’s safety is never too far from global attention. Over the years, India has developed a reputation of being an unsafe country for women. The latest spotlight on this has been cast by the recent Thomson Reuters Foundation survey that ranked India “the world’s most dangerous country for women due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labour”. In a misogynist world that includes the likes of Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Mexico, Pakistan and Afghanistan, getting the dubious distinction of being top ranked has understandably caused a great deal of indignation and ...

Read Full Post

How could Gul Bano’s own father ruin her life?

The day was bright, the sun blazing and a sweet smell of blossom swayed in the air. The village of Charbagh was witnessing the beginning of summer. Gul Bano’s elaborately styled reddish brown hair and her emerald green eyes glinted in the sunlight. She wore a green shalwar kameez that matched her eyes, and a white dupatta enhanced by gold and silver threads, to complete the look. Father had told her they were going to meet someone important today. She had asked over and over again who this important person was, and why she had to go meet him, but ...

Read Full Post

Yousafzai’s children weren’t children at all

Yousafzai village was a land of men. It was a land of agriculture and multiple wives. Presently, however, it was a land of marriage. Children around the village were waiting for the vehicle to arrive which was carrying the groom. Some lurked around corners, others behind shops, underneath sheds. Ah, when would the car arrive? When would they chase it? When would the groom throw the children the sweets they were denied by the main shopkeeper? It was, after all, Rashid sahib’s wedding, the only man in town who could afford more than five of the red crispy notes of hundred rupees all at ...

Read Full Post

How a newly hired employee is no different than a newly married bride

This isn’t one of those blogs about the social nuisance that weddings are, nor will it mention dowry, brides, grooms or even their families. Whether we like it or not, all of us have come across Star Plus soap operas. Never-ending dramas based around new brides, their unbearable miseries and the constant struggle to settle into their new family are constant themes in such soap operas. Instead, this blog is about how the Star Plus’ daughter-in-law resembles a newly hired employee at any organisation. Nearly a month ago, a friend of mine was extremely frustrated because she was transferred to a different department in her organisation. Her new team ...

Read Full Post

Madiha’s only crime was that she was unable to bring a motorbike in her dowry

Madiha was a 22-year-old girl in Gujranwala who had just gotten married. You know how it is for newly-wed girls; the apprehension, the stress of adjusting to a new home, the worries about making everyone like you and leaving your family behind. For Madiha, these worries became small compared to the horror she ended up facing. Her husband, Amir, would beat her regularly. Madiha’s crime? She was unable to bring a motorbike for Amir in her dowry. Two months or so after the wedding, Amir and his family doused Madiha with petrol and set her on fire. She died within ...

Read Full Post

Why marriage is not for everyone

There are more routes to happiness than those identified by the social majority. It is time we acknowledge that not all of these routes transit through the terminal of marriage. Any discussion on whether a certain custom is right for you, must begin with an honest recognition of your primary goal. The goal is your happiness and prosperity, and nothing that any parent, uncle, aunty, friend has to say about it has any agency over your own awareness of what brings you contentment. Their counsel may be wise and worthy, but they have the disadvantage of not knowing you the way you might ...

Read Full Post

When women talk, men are heard – but hopefully not for long

India’s daughters have long been discriminated against. They are taught to be subservient, docile, and self-sacrificing and the whole social structure is designed to keep them suppressed. The parents of girls take it for granted that they have to pay for dowry and carry the burden of a lavish wedding where the groom’s family can make unreasonable demands and expect them to be fulfilled. No questions asked. It is also considered normal that the girl will give up everything to go live with and serve her husband’s family. With such thoughts so deeply embedded in the social psyche, it is no ...

Read Full Post

I refused a marriage proposal because they demanded dowry

The notion of dowry has always been rampant in Pakistani society. Ironically, it’s been adapted from Indian culture. Living together in the subcontinent encouraged us to adopt each other’s customs, and eventually, they became a part of ours. Now, we are so deep into this mixed culture that we have forgotten there’s a fine line between culture and religion. We fail to realise that dowry is not approbated by Islam. When given the factual argument that Islam sets no example of dowry, the dowry mongers are left with no other argument. All they have to say is, “Baaki jaghon pe tou Islam yaad nahin aata.” (When it comes to other things ...

Read Full Post

It’s not easy being a female divorcee, especially in Pakistan

I happened to have an incredibly appalling conversation with a male friend the other day. It pretty much went like this; “Hey did you end up finding a girl for yourself?” “Yeah, I did, but I ended up rejecting the proposal. She was divorced and seemed quite sharp.” But, to my surprise, his response didn’t really shock me. Even so, his comments still ring in my head. I was amazed at how an educated and sensible man like him could pass such a judgement. Unfortunately, we’ve been moulded to think divorced women are off limits. They just don’t stand a chance in the ‘marriage market’ ...

Read Full Post