Opinion 11 January, 2021
SELECTION OF LIFE PARTNER IN KASHMIR
In Islam, marriage (nikah) is a legal contract between a man and a woman. Both the groom and the bride are to consent to the marriage of their own free will. Nikah is concluded by guardian (Wali) of the bride and the groom but it does not give them a right to force bride and groom to enter into a nikah. According to Islam, the marriage is invalid without free consent. Modern times have brought about change in the quality of the marital relationship. With changing generations we find more and more information about what marriage involves and requires. When I asked my mother whether selection of life partner is easy she said,” The selection of life partner has gone through lot of changes. It is being modernized. The women who once had completely no role as for as the selection of life partner was concerned have now an important role in it” and I totally agree with my mother that the institution of marriage has undergone various alterations but women has important role in it is little bit hard to digest. The rules governing selection vary widely from society to society. I personally feel love and compatibility are very important but in Kashmir the focus is always on caste, government employee, wealth, family status, physical beauty, Age, body shape, personal adornment and especially facial appearance are usually the focuses.Selection of life partner is the responsibility of the parents in Kashmir and children’s usually don’t interfere in such decisions and in case if any kid says anything he/she is considered as rebel and unfaithful but our elders fail to understand that , selection of life partner is one of the most important choices of both men and women. The possibility of happiness is low in marriage if they do not understand each other. Our parents take it as a mission which is named as “Proper match”. It was observed during research that most of the partners who were getting marriage late or were found unmarried in fact suffered from years in finding their proper matches. So proper match is a challenge in selection of life partner and I wonder whether such thing even exists. In spite of so many changes in our society, we find that the child is still so conditioned as not to think in terms of his own rights, his own pleasures, his own status and his own privacy etc, but to think in terms of family.Prof. Bashir Ahmad Dabla, in 2009, said late marriage phenomenon is increasing in kashmir due to poverty, unemployment, family status, poverty and socio-economic status, conflict, illiteracy, modernization impact, health abnormality, customs and traditions, caste consideration, dowry in different shapes, waiting for higher education and jobs, and the lengthy search for a proper match and 10 years down the line I feel nothing has changed in our society. This has brought negative ill-effects in Kashmir, like Psychiatric problems, suicides, drug addiction, pre- marital affairs, sex scandals and a spiral in divorces. That’s why in Islam marriage is considered half-faith completes which prevents the believers from the immodesty and immorality but in Kashmir we have made (Zina) cheaper but (Nikah) expensive. All the above factors have led to Postponing marriage in Kashmir and this trend has become so common that the percentage of women who are unmarried is now more than double what it was 10 years back. As per the census, 60 per cent of the total population in the state has actually never married, even after attaining a standard marriageable age which in old times was 22-25 years has now changed to 27 to 32. I personally request parents to be actively involved in the lives of their children, to guide and lead them properly recognizing their choices, preferences and desires and help them not force them to arrive at decision in their life. Let us cherish our traditional and cultural way of doing marriage but let us not turn this into competition with others. There is lot poverty and unemployment in Kashmir so it is completely fine if we don’t find a Government employee as a life partner, trusts me we can still go to heaven. Then comes “the caste “which is much different in Kashmir than the caste system in India, as caste system in Kashmir is based on occupations and is an obstacle in marriages. The caste and family background of the families is an extreme object for our parents in Kashmir that they will not compromise a bit over caste and family match but they fail to understand that all these factors are not key for successful marriage but a key to destroy lives of their children’s. All I can say is let us follow Islamic laws when it comes to selection of life partner or marriage indeed life will be blessed. Let us avoid the unnecessary delay in marriage as it has biological, social and the psychological consequences.