In this section, Kashmir Narrator asks common Kashmiris to opine about various issues faced by the society.
Gulzar Ahmad, govt employee: Follow the injunctions of the shariah which are categorical: Eat and drink but be not excessive. Follow this commandment in letter and spirit, the problem will be solved. However, I must admit that it is easier said than done.
Qurat Shah, social worker: Most people spend more on weddings because of peer pressure. If one family adds something, other follows blindly. We should spend according to our capacity and not go out of the way to please others.
Arshid Qadir, student: When you put too much on the plate, something that even an animal cannot eat leave alone humans, it results in wastage of money and effort. So we should make the wazwan leaner and take on our plates only as much as we normally consume.
Tariq Ahmad, shopkeeper: Cut down on the number of dishes in the wazwan. The traditional seven-dish course which we call satee sinni khander needs to be done away with. We must arrange such austere marriages and show people that marriages can be done even without wasteful extravaganza.
Hafeeza, matchmaker: Marriages are a time of festivities. People save up for wedding ceremonies almost all their lives. There is nothing wrong if they spend lavishly on wedding ceremonies.
Dr Sameena Gul, nutritionist: Every locality in Kashmir has a masjid and an imam. I think these institutions should take up the responsibility of educating people on how to conduct wedding ceremonies as per the Islamic way.
Mehraj ud Din, farmer: Extravagance is must at weddings, especially when you are from bride’s side. Even if a single item is missing in salad, your daughter or sister will have to listen to awkward things from her in-laws for decades. So it is better to be extravagant in weddings rather than to make your daughter/sister suffer the taunts and barbs.
Asifa Nabi, student: We can reduce unnecessary spending by taking small step such as using simple invitation cards rather than fancy ones, avoiding use of fire crackers, limiting the number of dishes or cutting down on the guests lists.
Shabir Ahmad Wani, businessman: Only youth can stop extravagance at weddings. They must get together and enforce austerity. You will have to take some extreme steps initially to curb this menace. But the traditional rituals that characterise Kashmiri weddings should be respected.
Waseem ul Rahman, teacher: The number of invitees needs to be restricted to end this extravagance. So elders need to step in and save this money for the future usage of the married couple. And if the couple has enough for its future life, then spend this money on those who cannot afford even bare sustenance.
Shah Mateen, teacher: It is important to stop romanticising the idea of marriages. This one day of wedding should not be seen as something that defines your social status. Both sides involved have a responsibility towards one another and towards the society to not create false examples by spending lavishly on weddings.
This vox populi appeared in Kashmir Narrator’s April issue. To subscribe to print edition of Kashmir Narrator, please mail here: KashmirNarrator@Gmail.com