Stories about dowry

My lover, her father and the ‘honour’ that tore us apart

Our ordeal had begun. She said to me, “What if something goes wrong? We will be doomed, my whole life will be ruined and they might even kill me.” Although I was scared, I responded in a brave voice, “Don’t be scared, just have faith and everything will be alright.” We were stuck in the midst of a battle to reclaim our lives and live it according to our aspirations and desires. The only other option we had was to abandon our hopes in the name of chauvinistic traditions, where women were the sole victims of culture and tradition. Her destiny had been sealed by her ...

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Your daughter’s education is as important as her marriage

The wedding season is currently in full swing in the country. There are weddings events and functions almost every other day.  This is the time when practically every household is involved in mehndis, dholkis and mayuns (musical nights) along with nikkahs, shaadis and valimas. I do not know whether it is the pleasant weather that inspires so many to get married at this time of the year or if it is the fact that winter holidays means that friends and family from abroad can attend weddings at this time, not to mention that local schools are also closed, making it easier for the parents. What I do know ...

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Weddings in Pakistan: Down with the dowry, enough with the spending!

An often ignored reality that has plagued Pakistani society is that getting married is a financial nightmare. Marriage in our country is an occasion for insane displays of spending on outrageously lavish valimas, mehndi banquets, jewellery, give-aways, dowry and similar acts. What is interesting and downright appalling is that all classes of society are guilty of this madness. Our upper-class uses the occasion to show how wealthy they are. The middle-class, as always torn between the echelons of society, tries its best to spend as much as it can and register itself within the upper-class so as to feel accomplished. The poor take out the money ...

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10 situations which highlight why educating women is vital in Pakistan

Being the daughter of a surgeon, and being a lawyer myself, I hear and read stories everyday about how certain mishaps which have occurred could have been avoided with the simple proviso: education.  The government needs to encourage the right of women to be educated. Listed below are 10 real-life situations where education would have prevented unfortunate outcomes. 1)  A woman who is encouraged to abort a daughter or is killed or divorced upon producing daughters. If she was educated, the woman would know that the gender of a baby is decided by the male sperm and not by a woman’s eggs. This is basic ...

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10 reasons why you should NOT marry a Pakistani man

1. ‘Ammi jaan’ – the famous monster-in… I mean mother-in-law. She is the idolised queen of the domestic domain, ‘lovingly’ referred to as Ammi jaan.  Her precise duties can vary from lovingly criticising you in front of your husband, taunting you with scathing remarks while your husband is not around and haunting you in the middle of the night, even in the privacy of your own bedroom! She will not forgive you for the smallest of mistakes and enjoys watching you squirm in your chair, embarrassed. She will not allow you to change anything in the house, even though the ‘you’re just like my daughter’ ...

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When not being able to afford dowry can lead you to kill yourself

What would you say to five women, who are all fairly above the ‘marriageable age’ and yet have no good prospects in sight? Yes, I know that phrase pretty well. ‘Haye bechari!’ (Oh, the poor thing!) But it’s alright. Four of these five women don’t have to worry about marriage anymore. That is not because they have found feminism. It’s not because they found someone to take care of them or to love them or hold on to them without the greed of a dowry or a fancy wedding. It’s not because their father has won a lottery and suddenly became the richest man ...

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Advice to a new groom

Just like two hands are required for clapping, a marriage, too, is unlikely to succeed with the efforts of one partner alone. To all those readers who thought that my blog “Advice to a new bride” was overly derogatory to new brides, let me clarify, this blog is not a consequence of comments on that piece. This was already written even before the first was published. On that note, if I were to have my wish for a chat with the groom before the marriage, the following are some of the issues I would address. 1. Resolve your issues before marriage: If you ...

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Jahaiz, destroying families one wedding at a time

The absurdity of the dowry norm, commonly known as jahaiz, prevalent in our society has long been debated. I did not realise the gravity of the issue until recently when my father’s cousin had to sell off his shop — the sole source of income for his family — to arrange the jahaiz for his daughter. The girl is now happily married to a financially stable guy but her family back home is finding it hard to survive. Her mother, who started sewing clothes to earn a living, has developed an eye illness that cannot be treated due to the treatment’s high ...

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A ‘long march’ against social evils

My October 2011 visit to the Wahi Pandhi village in the Katcho desert suggested that there is a deep connection between ‘money and marriage’. Early marriages were widespread in this desert area, where trying to secure a regular meal is a challenge. Such ‘marital transactions’ are but the norm to win the basic necessities of life. During my visit, I met a ten-year-old girl named Kanwal. Her name was beautiful — it meant water-lily. Sadly, her fate was not as enchanting as her name. It was learnt that the police had foiled her marriage in the preceding year as she was underage. The ...

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