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One of the readers pointed out that the Kashmiri wedding is a lot more than just food, and I certainly agree. Actually the food is just a part of it – an interesting set of courses that interest the five senses in different forms.

But the fact remains that in Kashmir weddings are an elaborate affair that start with the elaborate and painstaking process of matchmaking. This involves middle-men(or sometimes women) called the ‘manzimyor‘ (or manzimyarin), who do their part to make the simple and beautiful concept of a nikah into an elaborate set of annoying rituals. But then the marraige rituals come much later – only after the kouri-mael (girl’s family) and the gobre’-mael (boy’s family) come to terms and agree that marriage should take place.

So without digging into so many things that would side-track me, I will dedicate this post to the manzimyors and their endless pursuit of finding happiness for their clients.

Anyways the process starts with the parents of the girl/guy [who they wish to get married] calling for manzimyors. Or, well, sometimes the manzimyor having sighted a potential client might just decide to walk into the house himself.

Anyhow, the manzimyor carries his ‘list’ of potential spouse-to-be for the client. The list is usually in terms of
Name
Date of Birth
Parentage
Caste
info on brothers/sisters (and if married a little on who they are married to)
Educational background
Job profile
Address

and once in a while, it comes with a photograph too.

The parents look at the list, shortlist candidates, do a background check. This checking process could mean a visit to the neighbor’s house, checking with colleagues of the prospective boy/girl, getting information about the parents from whatever sources possible.

The manzimyor arranges for the other to check if they would be interested as well. And then they too do their checkup routines.

Now that both sides are ready and satisfied with the ‘rest of the things’ comes the viewing/interviewing of the girl/boy. This can be done by the parents, cousins, or well whoever the family deems fit to take the interview (sometimes this is skipped going to next step). The boy and girl meet — meeting could range from seeing from far or talking for 2-20 mins.

And ta-da.

If they both say yes [well that's what it is supposed to be]… then, the next step is the ‘thap’ — literally meaning “catching” — which is nothing dramatic like it sounds. Its as simple as the parent’s of the boy giving a gift to the girl (which is almost ALWAYS gold). This is to symbolize the agreement of both sides in taking further steps to getting the two married.

huh! and now i am tired.
Actually the way i put it, it sounds rather simple. But well.. it can get annoyingly difficult… however… this is the traditional way of getting married in Kashmir … and the NORM.

Anyone who defies the norm is looked at with those strange eyes that stare without understanding.. but then…. that is a different issue…. will talk about it some other day..

In the meanwhile, you can stay fascinated with the way marriages are arranged in Kashmir!

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15 Comments

  1. As!f
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I am going to die of laughter!

    Catching, what a translation of Thap. Sounds as if the to-be in laws have to run after the guy/girl and catch him/her! Imagine the scence!

    You have forgotten sending-the-mithai-part, the cakes, the dry-fruits and the chocolates (now-a-days) which is a way of informing the relatives and neighbours (Why can’t a phone call do the work?)

    And the Nishain, the Nazr (something of that sort), the going to bride’s place, the going to groom’s place, the pound (gold coins!) and all this before the Khandar!

    I know I am writing all in a haphazard manner, one should do a documentary on koshur Khandar!

  2. Posted June 13, 2007 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I had to stop at thap. it was getting on to my nerves. Will write further in the next episode (episode??)

    Also… according to latest sources, the ‘thap’ is known among the Kashmiri ‘angrez’ as “grabbing ceremony”.. what-ever!!!

  3. Abu Sadat Nurullah
    Posted June 13, 2007 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    I guess the social norms are more or less same in the sub-continent (particularly in Bangladeshi rural tradition, as I see it), having different terms used to describe it. Although in some cases, Kashmiri Wedding process seems to be more complexly painstaking.

  4. Posted June 14, 2007 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    It truly is very complex! When I read what I had written, I thought to myself, it sounds much simpler than it actually is.

    There is a lot more that I hope I can pen down about the koshur khandar. :)

    Will be writing about the events after the ‘thap’ till the actual wedding – with its various variations that I know of, inshaAllah!

  5. mas
    Posted June 14, 2007 at 4:42 am | Permalink

    ohh wat an interesting topic here!!
    well i can say, such norm r still exist at some part of malaysia-especially de remote n suburban area…Depends on de family way of thinking n values. When de girl (especially) reaching 23 n above, de family would start make themselve busy wth de arrangement. Even most of my cousins frm other state were been ‘thap’ to dis marriage arrangement stuff. he hee Luckily im here at Kuala Lumpur.
    but on de other hand..if we look into de positive side of it, i think de process r quite acceptable. Inline with de Shari’ah, in a way to find de partner of life.

  6. Posted June 14, 2007 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    true. I have thought much about it, and I cant think of a better way!

  7. Posted June 14, 2007 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    A good effort to present a kashmiri wedding process………!
    I was particularly amused by the interpretation of ‘Thap”!!

  8. mamoonq
    Posted June 18, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    hmm, i wonder whenz the next episode coming. han asma bajee.

    is it in october or…

    good work.
    kind-af-eldinbleze stuff

  9. Posted June 18, 2007 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Unless its a love marriage and the girl/guy know each other from before. Then the parents will try to fake as much of the stuff mentioned in the post trying to hide the fact that their kids had the balls to find a mate on their own.

    Another side note, the manzimyor is almost always a fag…..

  10. Posted June 19, 2007 at 4:20 am | Permalink

    mamoon,…. shhhhhh….. :P

    next episode jaldi aayayga…. have been a bit busy at work… :)

  11. Posted June 19, 2007 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    Talking of love marraiges… oh! That deserves another long discourse… but then.. I would end up irritated with the whole social system…

    Just a little something that I cant help but get annoyed at is how some “shareef” boys/girls after having multiple affairs and breaking multiple hearts, get married ‘as per their parents wishes’ — and automatically adorn the title of “shareef”. While people who remain faithful to the person they love, and actually do marry them, end up with people hush-hushing the whole process… and ofcourse, all the irritating people saying…”Eyem chu na paanai kormut”

    Disgusting!

  12. Posted June 19, 2007 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Matches are made in heaven and burnt on earth…

    Say what!!!

    Marriages are made by manzumyours and settled by manzumyours and all the rest in between by the menzumyours…

    Where the h**l are the others…

  13. Posted June 19, 2007 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    trying to comply with manzimyor’s instructions…

    Anyhow… Having spewed the venom against Manzimyors, one has to agree they are indispensable! Just that maybe the way things work could be improved upon.

    And mamoon… there isn’t all that to be burnt.. except maybe we cud work on burning a lot of hypocrisies that are in our society.

  14. Posted August 15, 2007 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    How did I miss this one?

    Definitely the complications are more. And people make sure they make it as complicated as they can, so that others who want to keep the complications away are forced to make things complicated.

    Now how complicated is this? :)

  15. Asma Jami
    Posted November 24, 2007 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    One of the most important thing in kashmir that needs a complete transformation is the kashmri khandar,It neither goes by religion nor by the modern day renaissance.It is sick,it is foolish,and it shows what idiots we kashmiri,s are in following a stupid tradition that needs to be revived and be changed in the light of religion as well as sensibilities bestowed by Allah to human mind and which we somehow have surrendered to some social bindings .

    How educated people hand over themselves and the most important decision of their life,s to an illiterate manzimyour is something that i still fail to understand,who doesnt give a damn about them but is only concerned with his money.

    Which islam says that we have to go through such a complicated process that kashmiri marraige is,so much so that kashmiri parents almost mourn the birth of a girl child.It is because we kashmiris have made the pious bond into a material transaction.

    In short everything about a kashmiri marraige is

    wrong and we kashmiri people have to put a strong foot forward and change the whole meaning ,going by religion and using our brains……

One Trackback

  1. [...] While preparation of food (see Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding)  is a very elaborate and lavish affair, the process of finding your soul-mate, the koshur-way is a complicated and tiring process (see Khandar the Kashmiri Wedding – Part 2. ) [...]

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