Disclaimer*: The articles shared under 'Your Voice' section are sent to us by contributors and we neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of any facts stated below. Parhlo will not be liable for any false, inaccurate, inappropriate or incomplete information presented on the website. Read our disclaimer.
Getting married in Pakistan is a financial burden and often drowns you in loans. We have forgotten the importance of marriage as a relationship and all our energies are focused on the day of the wedding. We enter into a new life with the burden of loans that need to be paid off.
An elaborate display of wealth is often in the form of dowry. Be it a family from upper class or a lower class family, almost everyone in our society indulges in this social evil.
Dowry is the custom of giving gifts like money, land, jewelry to a bride that she takes with her to the groom’s family after marriage. The intention is to equip the newly-wed couple with the necessities to start a new life together. However, violent acts and domestic disputes are often related to dowry. Dowry is no longer a gift; it has become an obligatory custom that the bride’s family has to abide by.
The custom of dowry even in well-educated middle-class families has intensified due to the portrayal of excessive wealth by upper-class families. Their show of wealth through week long festivities and branded items has increased expectations in a wedding event. The bride’s family expects the groom to buy a designer jora and vice versa.
Not only socialites but our politicians promote such rash spending at weddings, Sharmila Farooqi’s 15-day wedding highlighted her designer joras (by the likes of Ali Xeeshan and Bunto Kazmi). The upper-class families gift luxury cars and houses as part of the dowry, this increases the expectations related to dowry in the society.
The lower class spend their whole lives saving up money for this occasion; and the middle class is always torn between the two, trying to register for the upper class and also struggling with the finances.
Another reason is consumerism. Weddings have become commercialized events. Fashion magazines and social media tell us to go buy a customized designer bridal dress that costs over 5 lakhs, it urges us to go overboard our budget for journalistic event coverage and the list doesn’t end here.
The brides’ family in order to save face in this materialistic society and to meet the expectations of the groom’s family go well over budget spending on the wedding festivities.
I recently had a Romanian relative visiting Pakistan and while discussing my wedding preparations with her I realized the amount of money that had been spent in the process to look ‘good’ in front of our families and friends. She was amazed and appalled by the extravagance at the same time. The joy in planning a wedding is replaced by the burden of endless expenses.
Even if the groom’s family clearly communicates that they don’t want dowry and don’t wish to be a part of this custom, some form of dowry is still given. The bride’s family wants to give some form of dowry either because of social pressure or to give some sort of financial support to their daughter.
With the wedding season upon us, we are witness to such extravagant affairs and have accepted them without getting appalled. The groom is not the only person at the receiving end but his whole family is. The groom definitely needs to clearly communicate that he is completely against this custom, but so does the family.
They can’t just say no to dowry but not make any adjustments for the bride. If the groom’s family doesn’t want the bride to bring furniture, then they should buy it before the wedding and inform the other party about it. If nothing is said, then it’s implied that dowry is expected from the bride.