Non Resident Indian’ or ‘NRI’, is a beautiful phrase which naturally impresses common men in Indian society, because generally people think that NRIs lead a happier and more successful life compared to the other Indians.
But, in fact, as far as the Muslim NRIs leading an expatriate life in Gulf countries are concerned the above assumption is not true, as their lives are filled with agony, sorrows, tensions and debts. And surely the main reason for most of their woes is dowry.
There is a huge population of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in the oil rich countries neighbouring the Persian Gulf. Most of them have flown there with the prime purpose of earning money for getting their daughters and sisters married off to a ‘suitable’ partner.
It is a bitter truth that men too suffer throughout their life along with women because of this menace. Bearing the responsibility of their sisters’ marriage, thousands of people fly to Gulf countries, carry out hard labour without caring about their own health or life. Their main intention and tension is to pile up money for a grand marriage of their daughters and sisters. Many of them stay bachelors even after crossing more than half the age of their life time. “How can I marry, when my sister in the home is still un-married?” This is a common question we often face from many Indians working abroad. And the worst thing is that many people prefer to pay dowry during their sisters’ or daughters’ marriage in the name of “GIFT”, not only to impress their partners but also to be recognised in the ignorant society. Don’t they know that there is no place for dowry in the religion of Islam? Just imagine, a Muslim travelling thousands of kilometres working for years spending an important part of his life for a thing which is outlawed in Islam!
We also can find other kinds of people in Gulf, who go there to earn money for their own marriage! We can say that the entire lives of most of the people, who go to Gulf countries from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi Districts, are dedicated for the purpose of marriage and dowry. In other words, marriage in general and dowry in particular is sucking the lives of Muslim community of these two Districts.
Crores of money flows into Dakshina Kannada and Udupi District in a single day from Arabian Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, and a major part of that money ultimately takes the shape of “dowry”. This is neither an exaggeration, nor a rumour, but a bitter fact.
Imagine the difference and the result that one would see, if the same amount of money is utilised in any kind of productive investment. Surely, the picture of the regional Muslim community would drastically change.
It is a historical truth that centuries ago Arab Muslims voyaged to Southern parts of India to spread the message of Islam, which strictly prohibits extravagancy like grand marriages and menaces like dowry, but, unfortunately now, Indian Muslims are flying to Arab countries in order to earn money to pay dowry and arrange grand marriages!
Being the care takers of our sisters and daughters there are many areas, in which we compulsorily have to spend our wealth according to the religion. According to the teachings of Islam the best gift from a father (or caretaker) to his child (whether it is male or female) is nothing but proper education. But, unfortunately, nowadays, it seems that our society has come to a conclusion that dowry is the best gift.
All this happens when we follow bad examples and models in our society. We should always be aware that when we follow or adopt a custom or tradition from anyone, we also will become an example or a model for many people. E.g, if you hold a grand marriage with dowry, many other people of your surroundings too wish to do so. And if you arrange a simple marriage without dowry, that too influences your surroundings and many people may follow you.
Now, I would like to ask an important question with all those Indian expatriates who work in Gulf countries that what kind of example do you want to set for other people of your own community through your wealth and time which are nothing but two gifts of Almighty God? Do you want to spend them only in arranging marriages, parties and paying dowries, which destroy life? Or do you prefer to invest it in any productive sector with the intention of gaining fruits in this world and hereafter too? Are you ready to say good bye to extravagant marriages and practice of dowry?
If we want to follow some other people, why don’t we adopt the example of those people who spend their money for the sake of the education of their daughters rather than spending in their marriages? Why don’t the follow the life style of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), during whose period marriage was an easiest thing for any woman? Why do we dedicate our entire life for the purpose marriage which is nothing but a small part of our precious life? Are we giving more importance to marriage rather than our lives? Whether life is a part of marriage or marriage a part of life??? We have to ask these questions to ourselves, so that we can bring a revolutionary change in the entire community.