Wed­dings, In­dian Style

Southasia - - Editor's mail -

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

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