Previously the word ‘কুমারী’ (virgin) was part of question 5 of Bangladesh’s standardised Muslim marriage contract. The question asked whether the bride is a virgin, divorcee or widow. The high court directed the government to remove the word and use the word ‘অবিবাহিত’, unmarried, instead.
Previous Muslim marriage contract
The first question of the marriage contract or nikka form is about the address and the name of the ward in which the marriage is taking place. The second question and third question are about the name of the groom and groom’s parents and his age. The fourth line is to fill in the bride’s name and parental details. The fifth asks “konna kumari, bidhoba, othoba talak prapto ki na?” Then, one notes the brides age.
Some English versions of the marriage contract would translate kumari to maiden instead of virgin. Unmarried will now be the accurate translation.
Steps towards equality
This change came about as part of a joint effort between BLAST, Naripokkho and Mohila Porishod. They had filed the writ petition with the High Court in 2014 challenging the legality of number five column in the marriage contract or Kabinnama.
This is a step towards bringing equality into our law and life. This is also a move away from the culture of misogyny that permeates society.
The court did not make any directives towards the usage of the words ‘divorcee’ and ‘widower’ from the form. These words are unnecessarily discriminatory and cause privacy concerns. However, the ruling included a new item so that the groom is asked whether he is unmarried, divorced or a widower.
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Being a brown Bengali woman in your mid 20’s, you can only have one life goal – to find and marry the perfect man. And if by any chance he happens to be a doctor, engineer or lawyer, well then you’ve hit the jackpot!
It’s a universally acknowledged truth, that a deshi girl who has surpassed the age of 20 must get married, or else the world shall perish.
It’s usually a random aunty or uncle who desperately wants to take on the role of a ‘ghotok’(match-maker) for you, if it’s not your parents stressing you out already. We often face a hard time thinking what our parents would have to face if we straight off reject these ‘biyer prostaabs’. However, it is actually possible to dodge these marriage proposals easily without bringing too much trouble. Here are some tried and tested easy ways to avoid such encounters.
Trust me on this, dark goth lipsticks scare deshi aunties. Seriously, pick any goth shade, be it dark shades of blue, grey or just pure black. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it makes you look rough and ruins the whole facade of the “ideal, docile wife” image. Whatever it is, it seems to do the trick for you. Plus dark lipsticks are bold and gorgeous. Rock them while shock them aunties!
Use the sarcasm shield
Sarcasm is a life savior. If used correctly, it can get you out of almost anything! It can ensure you with one of the two: either they will catch onto the sarcasm and assume you’re extremely rude, or they will believe what you say and think you are absolutely insane. To be honest, both work pretty well. Seriously, just imagine their expressions when you tell them “I’m sorry, I was just busy reading this fun article on how to properly chop human bodies.” with a serious face on.
Tell them you can’t make tea
Or worse! Add salt instead of sugar in their tea and then sit back to enjoy their expressions when they sip on your evil-eye-casting-potion. If you’re a proper Bengali, you know that tea is basically life to most Bengalis; the better the tea, the higher your rank in the household. So what could be more off-putting to these uncles and aunties than a woman who can’t make cha? One who makes terrible cha! And you will no longer be a daughter in law material, sorry. Or maybe, you’re welcome?
Be bold and opinionated
This isn’t a hard task for many of us. Don’t just jump straight to an issue; you could really just randomly talk about normal things and slowly go for sensitive areas that are considered taboo; like gay rights, abortion or even legalizing marijuana! It’ll be so much fun to see an aunty in shock after you discuss sexuality openly, I mean where is my lojja shorom?!
Do something insane
Maybe chop off those locks? Okay, I’ll admit this one is pretty drastic, so maybe you can use it as a last resort. It’s actually an excellent last-minute backup plan though. One of my friends was once almost forced to get engaged to this older man. When nothing else worked, she decided to completely shave her head on the day of the engagement! Guess what? It worked!
But really you could do so many other crazy stuff that you could actually have fun doing. Maybe dye your hair a gorgeous color? *gasps* Yesss, any color! Put on a poker face and do something incredibly crazy to scare the hell out of these people, like pretend to talk to an imaginary friend. Or maybe start laughing at completely inappropriate moments like when they’re talking about a tragic incident. Seriously, get creative and you can single handedly make these prostaabs fly away before you can say ‘Kabool’.
While the suitor’s mothers and/or aunts brag about how rich and successful he is, why not take them up on it? Get extra enthusiastic, ask about their advancement opportunities and pay. Act like you’re calculating something and then hypothetically discuss how much you would get if a divorce occurs. Create an entire financial plan right in front of them.
Yes, no joke. Once you master the art of flatulence, it’ll not just help you drive away the aunties, but anyone that messes with you. It’s the ultimate human repellent!
They say a girl’s best weapon is her smile. They are right, they’ve always been. Whenever your suitor or their family is talking about something they are passionate about, smile. Nope, not the sweet encouraging one. A sympathetic, sad and patronizing smile. If he’s got any sort of common sense in him, he’ll pick up the remains of his bruised ego and never bother you again. Seriously girl, you need to smile more often now!
It’s not necessarily true that marriage is the end of everything, you can still rock you life and do things you love after marriage. But then again, if you’re better off, I hope these tricks help you out. But remember that I bear no responsibility for the consequences. So proceed at your own risk, girl!
In countries like Bangladesh, marriage is not just a tie between two people, but one between two families. The entire process of getting married and staying married can be extremely tedious. On top of that, many of our parents continue to believe that a blind date with a stranger in a public restaurant is enough to decide whether you want to spend the rest of your life with them. The fact that the divorce rate has doubled and that the separation rate has tripled feels almost expected in these circumstances.
Even with such grim prospects, avoiding marriage all-together may not be the solution. So what are the other options? Delaying marriage by a little. Our take on this – don’t get married until you’re thirty. And here’s why.
Weddings are expensive
In our country, weddings feel like a competition of displaying extravagance and opulence. Are you sure you want to spend your father’s hard earned money on an event that will be criticized no matter what? If not, consider bearing the expenses yourself. And for that, you need time. So, our advice is you take your time. Budget, earn the money you think you want to spend and have the peace of mind – that your father didn’t face bankruptcy because you decided to have a lavish party on your way to starting a family. The first of many steps to earn and save enough is an education and a stable career. These are achievements themselves.
The responsibilities are less overwhelming
Major responsibilities come with starting a life with someone new. When you are 23, moving in with a new family and adjusting to their lifestyle is a gruelling task. In this misogynistic society, all the expectations are on the girl. The guy also faces the heat of taking on the responsibility for someone else as well. When you are slightly older, you can be more prepared and take mature decisions during this phase of abrupt change in your life. Embrace this new chapter of your life with proper enthusiasm.
More life experience, fewer mistakes
Have you heard the phrase “young and dumb”? That’s exactly what you are in your 20s. And we all know that only fools rush in, and it has the risk of ending in a messy situation. Waiting gives you time to reach a level of emotional stability necessary for such life-altering situations.
Making babies is a big motivation to get married. It is as simple as that. It is a basic human need to pass on your genes, repopulate the earth and so people have children after they are married. But when you are in your 20s, you are practically a child yourself. You don’t have nearly enough experience or understanding of the cruelty and complexity of the world out there. Bringing a life into this hellhole without knowing what you are doing will just result in yet another broken adult, roaming the earth because of bad parenting. Don’t be that person. Have patience, and work towards a better world fit for your future children.
By getting married, you’re tying yourself to the other person. Every plan you make, every vacation you want to take- you will have to take into consideration someone else’s wishes, plans, and schedule. And what if you can’t match your schedule? An inevitable compromise in your freedom comes out. So travel as much as you can and see as much you can before settling down.
No one is telling you to be a nun, my friend, nor are we telling you to choose a life filled with a series of relationships with no long-term commitment. Life can get hard and lonely; a partner to sit out the storm is a blessing. Growing old with someone you love doesn’t only happen in movies. But make sure you actually love them before taking such a huge step forward. And when you’re older, at the very least, you can say that it is your decision, and nobody else’s.
Best of luck. Please send me kacchi. You will get unconditional love from me in return.