We Indians like to celebrate marriages in an extravagant manner and for many of us, we don’t like to settle for anything less. But, this very thought was proving to be a curse for the underprivileged people in India occupied Kashmir (IOK). Thanks to a non-governmental organization in the state, which is helping couples from the Muslim community to lower their financial burden.

The marriages in few regions of the state have become really expensive and the common problem for many Kashmiris is that they are unable to bear the huge expenses because of either dowry or unstable situations in the state. It is an ancient belief system in Indian culture, dowry means an amount of property or money brought by a bride to her husband on their marriage.

In Kashmir Valley, many people opt for marriages that are arranged by their parents and, due to financial problems, the people of the region find it difficult to look for suitable partners for their sons and daughters.

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Jafri council that has come forward to solve this crisis by organizing mass weddings for many couples at the same time. General Secretary, Jafri Council, Ghulam Rasool said that this is for the first time that 105 couple tied the knot in a mass marriage in Kashmir. He also mentioned that in the year 2015 the council undertook mass marriage of 38 couples, in 2016, the council married off 70 couples in a similar function. “In the year 2017 the number rose to 75,” he added.

Ghumal Rasool Chaka, a member of the organization said to VOA, “We noticed that folks have unmarried sons and daughters over 30 and we thought we should work on this.”

Recently, in the month of July, a single event was conducted by the organization where 105 Kashmiri couples tied the Knot. Like traditional weddings, here too the relatives and friends of the couples were present, who enjoyed the music as well as the Kashmiri cuisine.

Syed Tanvir Hussain, who is one of the grooms in the mass wedding says, “This is probably one of the best ways to get married. The marriage ceremony went really well and everyone should get married the way we got married.”

Also, newly married Fatima says “This event is not only helping couples to follow the financial burden but also plays a big role in letting go of ancient tradition. What the NGO is doing is really good. It is helping poor people to end the dowry system. So many educated girls are not married because they cannot afford the dowry.”

According to the report, the average cost of the wedding can run between 2-3 lakhs but the Jafri council asks the family to pay only 5000 rupees to participate in the joint ceremony. Couples who tied knot said that it is a big relief for them because they can enjoy their wedding and do not have a stress of starting a new life together with a huge debt.

Marriage is about commitment and it is not a contract, by countering the huge financial expenses, the organization has proved to be a blessing for these poor people in the region.