Weddings, Indian Style
Weddings have always been extravagant affairs in India, festivities lasting up to a week or more. Now, with the economy growing at over 9% and the middle classes swelling to nearly 300 million, weddings are becoming the most conspicuous example of conspicuous consumption. Besides
ceremonies and feasts, even dowries — legally outlawed — are becoming larger and more costly. As rightly pointed out in SouthAsia’s article ‘Weddings, Indian Style’ the extravagance of Indian weddings has attracted many international luxury brands to look east- ward and has also spawned a new breed of wedding planners, event managers, celebrity endorsements and what not. However, taking into consideration the boom that such lavish weddings have brought to the urban economy one should also not overlook the fact that it has done nothing to raise the low human development indexes in India. In fact, it has greatly impacted the gender ratio.
Female feticide has been a persistent malaise in northwestern India, and recent studies have shown that it is spreading to other parts of the country, too. When people see how much they have to spend on marrying off a daughter, they prefer to not have daughters. If not killed, girls are often neglected in the family. No matter how fast the urban middle-class is growing in India, one can not ignore these facts and therefore it is imperative for the government to put in place proper practices which curb excessive expenditure on weddings and instead urge the urbanites to spend the same to bring about social development in the country.
F.M. Krishna, Chennai, India