Stories about marriages

India’s contract marriages: When Sheikhs marry, rape and divorce child brides, all in one week

Poverty is not a crime, but it surely is a curse for docile Muslim girls in the poverty-driven city of Hyderabad, India. Why, you ask? Because young girls from impoverished families are forced to marry ageing and rich men. Since the 90s, Hyderabad has been a hunting ground for the rich philanderers from oil-rich countries to seek young and virgin brides. Over the years, numerous unfortunate stories of teenaged brides wedded to ageing Arabs have unfolded at regular intervals. Recently, 20 people were arrested in a major crackdown against a ‘Sheikh marriage’ racket, which hints towards a much greater issue. Amidst poor living conditions and rising ...

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Love at first Careem? Uh, no thanks, but perhaps Careem should focus on improving their existing services

There are two things Pakistani’s are unabashedly and unapologetically obsessed with – discounts and shaadi (marriage). By combining these two, I have to admit that Careem’s new rishta aunty service is quite genius. Or is it? No, I did not want to be woken up on a Wednesday morning (Wednesday being the most annoying day of the week) to Careem telling me my “rishta has arrived”. I honestly thought maybe I accidentally ordered a cab and the driver’s name is Rishta, Rishta Khan or something? My brain did not have the energy to solve this mystery, especially not on a Wednesday. When I got to work, ...

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Are unrealistic expectations ruining the institution of marriage in Pakistan?

It’s wedding season in Pakistan. We all know what that means – our tables are strewn with intricately designed wedding invitations, making us wonder how long each wedding will last. Unfortunately, the time lapse between a wedding and a divorce has shortened, and the number of broken marriages is increasing. Talking about breakups is never easy. Recently, I came across certain figures that stated that from 2015 to 2016, there were record divorce or khula cases in Pakistan. In 2015, in Punjab, 5,000 divorce cases were filed, and thus, 4,500 parted. In 2016, the number had grown to 18,901. Although divorce is allowed in Islam, it ...

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What if Brangelina were a Pakistani couple?

Just heard the horrendous news that you two have decided to split up. I would really like to sympathise with you but got tied up with pulling in all my winning bets that your marriage wouldn’t last even this long. Hate to say it, but it would have been better if you two hadn’t gotten married at all. I mean, you lasted longer without marriage and while rounding up six kids. So really can’t figure out why you had to take the hassle of getting married in the first place. Don’t take this personally, but the western society at large seems to have an obsession ...

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What is so ‘filthy’ and ‘unnatural’ about reproductive sex, Pakistan?

A close friend of mine recently had an STI (sexually transmitted infection) scare. Despite being in excruciating pain, she was scared to ask her husband how she got the infection. After a few days of discomfort and suffering, she consulted a doctor who put her mind to rest by confirming that she had a yeast infection because of diabetes. But during this whole episode, I was surprised to find out how ignorant she was about sexual health. First, she was adamant that she couldn’t get an STI from her husband because he was absolutely fine, which is irrelevant and factually incorrect because some STIs ...

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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 ...

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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’ ...

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Child marriage is a disgusting practice

Every year, hundreds of young girls are deprived of their destiny right before they blossom and they’re trampled upon mercilessly. Why do rituals, generation-old promises and societal concerns continue to decide the fate of those who haven’t even reached adulthood? The on-going issue of child marriages in developing countries has been highlighted by UNICEF in a hair rising video. UNICEF has taken a step to create awareness about child brides and is taking great initiatives to put a much needed end to this grave issue. This thought provoking agony is just another story for listeners but in reality, it puts an ...

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I was never his wife, I was only his slave

“I maybe from a  third world country but I have a heart like you do, emotions like you have, and dreams to pursue. On my first Eid as a married girl, I wanted to dress up and celebrate my new beginning instead of being in a hospital bed recovering from the effects of abuse.” I got married in March 2014 in Chicago with dreams of starting a new life and a future built out on love and trust in my new home. My parents were so assured that they were giving me into the hands of an educated guy; someone who ...

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Want to marry your cousin? Think again!

Cousin marriages have been very common in the subcontinent and this may be one reason why quite a large number of people in our rural areas are so unhealthy. I personally know two families whose members are the products of many generations of inbreeding. In one family – distant relatives of mine – many children are deaf and consequently unable to talk. The head of the family reacted with amazement when told that his children and grand-children suffered from various birth defects because of cousin marriages in his household. In fact, many doctors advised him to stop arranging marriages of his ...

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