Advertisements in the matrimonial columns of major Indian dailies today focus on the super-woman - a formidable Muslim girl raring to take on the often conflicting roles of super- mom, a professional and a compassionate homemaker with good understanding of Islam.
What option do parents of daughters have who patiently await the arrival of a decent proposal? Few of the parents scan the matrimonial column of the newspapers. Ironically, after scanning the matrimonial columns their worries increase.Why? Just have a look at the insertions asking for the proposals.
*Wanted, a decent religious and pious SM girl from respected family. Only hopefuls with the following pre-requisites should apply: Tall, slim, beautiful, cultured,a homemaker and above all, ‘homely’.
A tall order? Not at all, if we go by advertisements in the matrimonial columns of major Indian dailies. These would have us believe in a super-woman - a formidable Muslim girl raring to take on the challenging and often conflicting roles of super- mom, a professional, and a compassionate homemaker with good understanding of Islam .
Most of the advertisements talk about a bride who has the ‘right’ physical attributes, who is also educated as well as religious.
While education and ethnicity considerations retained importance, slim and “smart” are the words used in a fairly big way. Specific physical requirements such as height and “fairness” are also mentioned.
In many insertions, increasing stridency of tone is also visible. Physical beauty - in terms of height and skin colour - clearly stated becoming very important, to the detriment of “accomplishments” or talent. Also men put great emphasis on their background, their family, and the part of the world they were settled in, or wanted to settle in.
On the whole, physical attributes of the woman is acting as a parameter of success in the marriage market. Another requirement for both men and women, is emphasis placed on professional degrees But the real test is proving religious affiliation.
Even if every parameter is perfect, it should match the religious parameters of both the parties. Here parents and elders take over. If the boy is from the Tabligi Jamaat and the girl parents are affiliated to Barelvi sect, or vice versa then its a big No.
In the eighties, it was the geographic boundaries which influenced the marriage. Now it is the religious affiliation.There are cases where the boy is modern and outgoing, but one of the pre-condition for engagement is the acceptance by the girl that she will wear hijab just after the engagement.
In one of the proposals, it was clearly mentioned that those who do not visit Dargahs need not contact. Does it really matter whether the girl’s parents visit Dargahs or not, is it more important than being a good Muslim?
In another instance, after the initial correspondence, the first meet was organised between the boy and the girl’s parents. Within few minutes, the proposal was rejected by the girl’s parents as the boy sported the beard and wore traditional outfit. The reason:”They did not want a highly religious son-in- law who will not take care of the entertainment interests of their daughter.
In the past, Muslim parents were hesitant to use matrimonial columns fearing that it may send the wrong signal that they are very desperate.Since more and more Muslim professionals aspire to have a life partner from the same profession, to get the good match they resort to the matrimonial column.
Many a times, the perfect match would not have been possible without the matrimonial columns. For those who do not have a close family circle, these columns are the only option for finding a good match.