Unique way of action against female foeticide
Borrowed from Timesonline.co.uk:
The big fat Indian wedding has been told to slim down. Leaders of Delhi’s Sikh community have called for an end to lavish wedding celebrations featuring meat and alcohol on the grounds that they encourage the dowry system and female foeticide.
The Delhi Gurdwara Management Committee, the city’s top Sikh body, has told the capital’s one million Sikhs to boycott weddings that are not teetotal, vegetarian and over by noon. Similar measures are being considered in other Indian cities.
Sikhs are supposed to avoid unnecessary expenditure, but their weddings have become increasingly ostentatious in recent years. Many last several days, beginning with the groom’s procession to the bride’s home and culminating in a banquet featuring tandoori chicken, beer and whisky and dancing into the night.
One of the most extravagant on record was that of Vikram Chatwal, a New York-based hotelier, and Priya Sachdev, an Indian model. Their ceremony last year involved twenty-five parties, held over ten nights in three cities. The committee has ordered Delhi’s 350 gurdwaras (Sikh temples) not to issue wedding certificates to families who ignore its guidelines. Those who hold wedding processions in the evening will not be allowed to marry in a gurdwara.
“Our fight is against the exploitation by those who pose demands on the girl’s family to organise elaborate weddings,” Paramjit Singh Sarna, the committee president, said. “It is this splurge of wealth on ceremonies which is promoting dowry and practices like female foeticide.”
Although it is technically illegal to demand a dowry, most Indians ignore the ban. The bride’s family is expected to pay for a sumptuous wedding and give the groom’s family cash and other gifts. As a result, daughters are traditionally seen as a financial burden and many Indians kill newborn girls or abort female foetuses.
The Indian Medical Association says that five million female foetuses are terminated every year. The issue was highlighted last week when the wife of an Indian millionaire accused him of forcing her to abort two girls.
Sardar Ram Singh, another Sikh leader in Delhi, said that the committee’s new guidelines would soon be taken up elsewhere. “I am confident that over 95 per cent Sikhs will positively respond to our appeal,” he said.
Similar calls have fallen on deaf ears on the past. “There might be a show of restraint, but at the end of the day, Sikhs like to party,” one 31-year-old Sikh man who is about to get married said. “I don’t think we’ll be changing our plans.”
Labels: Action against Female Foeticide