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Marriage season


The season of marriages has more or less begun in Kashmir with the upcoming month expected to be the busiest one. The last two years have been more or less subdued in this respect. First due to the lockdown following the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 and then the global pandemic. Probably the only good change this pandemic brought with it to Kashmir was people choosing simpler wedding ceremonies as compared to the exorbitant expenditure on food, gold, and other avoidable things that had made marriages unaffordable. However, now that the Covid-19 cases have majorly decreased and people have, more or less, forgotten about masks and social distancing, one is expected to see people resorting to the older practices. In 2017, the J&K government had imposed curbs on expenses, the guest list and dishes to be served on such occasions. Also, it had put a ban on the use of amplifiers, loud speakers and fire crackers at such events in the state. But we all know that the decree was hardly followed on the ground as officials remained muted while the public openly defied it. A study conducted by the Department of Sociology of Kashmir University shows that the percentage of unmarried population in the erstwhile state is 55, which is higher than the country’s average rate which is 49.5 percent. Kashmir, nestled within which is the Kashmiri society, has its own view on the relationship between employment and marriage. What employment means here is a secure government job, of any cadre, respect, or pay grade. Nothing else matters as long as the term ‘government’ is prefixed to what you do. It may come as a surprise to most that, ironically, that the valley lacks government jobs per capita of the population. According to a report, there are 2,50,000 youth grappling with unemployment in Kashmir. Many well-educated youths are harrowed just because the government is indifferent to its concerns. It disavows a dearth of job opportunities to whoever comes to the porch. Amid this, people are resorting to exorbitant expenditure on marriages. This approach needs to undergo a drastic change. People must realise that while they may be able to spend huge amounts on such weddings, they are also setting a very negative precedent for others. And considering how Kashmiri society works, people do absurd things in peer-pressure. Religious figures have time and again raised this issue however there is hardly any change on the ground. Covid-19 was able to force people to adopt what was ideal or at least close to ideal in this regard.