She rushed through the myriads of trees that formed a mesh and passing the water stream reached the farther end of the fields, there she stood to look at the sky for a while which was preparing itself for the much-anticipated rain, clouds encircling within themselves as if trying to make way for themselves. she stood looking at them and after a while, she started circling following the pattern of circles of the clouds. She was Halima. She was at an age when the thoughts of marriage were instilled in her mind time and again, there standing among the fields that day and looking at the sky she knew this is what she wanted in her companion whenever that would be, to look at the sky and admire its beauty just for the sake, someone she can share her sky with each day of life.
Few years slipped by when her understanding what she wanted in a companion until the time arrived when the talk of her marriage was the topic of the house. What came out was shocking to her because her parents did not even try to understand what she sees in an ideal companion. Her marriage was all a matter of preserving their egos and society standards and facades they had been preparing all along their life. They didn’t want to give her a right to choice but they insisted on giving was DOWRY, so they can tell the world how considerable they are towards their daughter.
In order to make this scheme they found people of their interest, those who can accept these items in the name of dowry. It was appalling to see that they found people of their interest, those who too, were in search of someone who can bring enough wealth to fill in their house. It appeared they too didn’t care if the marriage was a match after all, which is what it is supposed to be.
What started here didn’t end here with the marriage ceremony, for the impacts of our actions travel farther than we think them to be. Her husband treated her a coupon to withdraw riches from her parents whenever he wanted, rest aside the understanding and look at skies together, all he looked up to was money. Their life was nothing near the companionship.
Halima’s marriage happened at her village, her family was among the influencers of trends in the vicinity. Among the attendees of her marriage were the in-laws to another girl named Salma. She was to get married a few months later, it was all set until her in-laws decided after attending Halima’s marriage that they too wanted a certain list of things in Dowry. Salma’s father was not among the affluent persons in that village. He tried to somehow meet the ends but couldn’t reach the demands of her in-laws, and they walked away saying no to this marriage at all.
Do you think this is just a story revolving around two characters Halima and Salma? Halima can be your daughter or sister who is merely treated only as a voucher to withdraw money, and she is paying the price of your egotism of your wealth. Salma could be your sister or daughter whom you will have to see turning old at the boundary of your house. They can be your wives who paid the price of a tradition who we are all part of, a tradition of showing our wealth off, a tradition of accepting this wealth to secure our place, a tradition of misfit marriages, a tradition which devalues marriage of companionship and all that is left behind is a contract. We are all part of this process of crushing dreams.
In accepting dowry, insisting for it, expecting it or dreaming about it, we all are part of this tradition which is so deep rooted that we see nothing wrong about. This can be your story but you can learn to change this story by taking one step towards innovation, by saying a simple ‘no’ to dowry.
Orient Pakistan is supporting the #nodowry campaign and promotes the lesson that just like we expect innovation in all other walks of life, let’s bring it in our relations as well, let them be about care and compassion, let’s define a new meaning for relations. Orient in its new TVC #RishtonMeinInnovation promotes this message, would you join your hands in bringing the change? Because together we can.