08:09 GMT +324 September 2017
    An Indian couple prepares to take part in a mass wedding in Ahmedabad

    No More Big Fat Wedding for Indians?

    © AFP 2017/ SAM PANTHAKY
    Asia & Pacific
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    An Indian lawmaker has proposed a legislation seeking a cap on wedding expenditures of the affluent and creation of a welfare fund for helping poor families pay for their daughters’ weddings.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Marriages (Compulsory Registration and Prevention of Wasteful Expenditure) Bill, 2016, put forward by Indian National Congress (INC) lawmaker Ranjeet Ranjan proposes that families intending to spend more than Indian Rupees 500000 ($ 7400) for a wedding declare the amount to an authority and also contribute 10% of it to a welfare fund that will be established by the government to facilitate marriage of poor girls.

    Lawmaker Ranjan said the Bill is aimed to prohibit extravagant and wasteful expenditure on marriages “Marriages have become more about showing off your wealth, as a result of which the poor feel that they are under social pressure to spend more.” 

    The Bill also seeks to put a limit on the number of guests one can invite and dishes that can be served in the wedding. The proposed legislation has evoked mixed response from the public and the media. While some called it a novel idea, others dismissed it as an undemocratic proposition.

    ​The move is understood to have been prompted by the US$ 100 million wedding of businessman-turned-politician G Janardhan Reddy's daughter. The wedding had garnered much public outrage for being inappropriate parade of wealth while the common man suffered unprecedented hardships due to the government’s currency swap scheme.

    ​In India, wedding is always an extravagant affair both for the rich and the poor. While the affluent see it as an opportunity to flaunt their wealth, the less fortunate are under tremendous pressure to catch up as the kind of wedding a family hosts is directly co-related to the family’s honor. Much of the wedding’s expenditure is borne by the bride’s side; therefore, this usually results in families running into deep debt which in turn prompts sexual discrimination which manifests itself in the form of female feticide, infanticide, dowry harassment and honor killings.


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