Extravagant weddings

Weddings are no more a mere union of souls and a private affair. They have rather become a symbol of wealth exhibition and showiness. In Indian sub-continentthe expenditure on weddings have grown from 25% to 30% according to some recent studies. Extravagance, Show off, lavishness, luxury, and superfluity can be used as synonyms for the weddings now.
Weddings, now a days, arecertainlyconsidered incomplete without a range of immoderate cuisines from across the world. Vegetarian food,non-vegetarian food, Continental food, Chinese food, Japanese food, Pakistani food, Mexican food and what not is displayed in the food corners inside the marriage halls. The wastage of food in this mindless show off becomes inevitable. Apart from it,exchange of Jewellery and expensive gifts and over-the-top lightening in the luxurious marriage halls has indeed taken the form of a social obligation. The flamboyance goes well beyond expensive food, grand marriage halls, five star hotels and Jewellery. One new development to this profligate is the expenditure on well festooned vehicles and even helicopters for the ceremony.
The magnetism of simplicity and quiet is no more visible in the weddings.Personal invitations have been swapped by costly invitation cards. Water has been substituted by innumerable artificial drinks (wine, bear, soft drink, hot drink and what not). Similarly folk traditions, folk songs and dances have been replaced by DJ’s and other lavish musical instruments. Horse and Doli have been replaced by high cost decorated vehicles and helicopters. Temples and Mosques too have been abandoned for luxurious marriage halls and five star hotels. It would not be wrong to say that simplicity and modesty has been trafficked for immodesty and pretentiousness.  Undoubtedly, weddings are celebrated more lavishly than any other festivals. Let me call this extravagance an evil. Possibly as evil as dowry. This evil of extravagance, indeed has completely trapped all sections of the society. Mindless imitation of each other in extravaganceand superficial glamour has indeed ruined the great institution of marriage completely.
These weddings might be a mere exhibition of wealth for the elite and the rich. They might be doing it out of choice. But there are many others who spend out of social compulsion and social pressure. Many have to spend even being indebted. And that is why marriage has become a trouble for many.
The antagonists might take refuge in saying that, one may use the money according to their will. They might also take refuge in saying that this leads to the growth in other industries creating employment and revenue. But how can we allow the growth of any such lavish industry when millions don’t get enough food to go around. Antagonist also need to know that the same arguments can also be used for dowry. As it’s their money, let them spend the way they want to. And if dowry can’t be justified on any grounds. Similarly the evil of extravagant marriages too can’t be justified on any grounds. However, to deal withthe crime of dowry, we have certain laws. But extravagance still is out of the grip of the law till date.It is high time that we restrict wedding expenditures through law. It is high time to ban this extravagance socially and morally and above all legally.
(The author is a Department of Geography Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh)


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