Saturday, February 14, 2009

Despite 26/11, cross border marriages are taking place

Vivek Shukla

New Delhi—Even after gory Mumbai attack of 26/11, the cross border marriages between Indian boys and Pakistani girls or vice-versa are still taking place. The divided Muslim families of cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Bhopal, Rampur, Mordabad, Aligarh, Amroha, Ujjain still don’t mind marrying their kids in Pakistan.

According to M. Ahmad of Khuda Rafiq Trust who knows the affairs of Muslims from both Delhi and UP as back of his right hand, says that even though getting citizenship for both Indians and Pakistanis in each other’s country is a huge task, still divided families are marrying their kids across the border. “ I can safely say that around 10 cross-border marriages took place during the last two months or so in Delhi, Meerut and Saharnpur alone,” says Ahmad. President of the prestigious Delhi based Indian Islamic Centre, Mr. Sirajuddin Qureshi says that as marriages between cousins are very much permitted in Islam, the divided families of the partition happily marry their kids across the border. “ Such marriages were very common after a few years of partition.

However, the number of cross border marriages have come down over the years due to various factors.

It may be recalled that when an ex-career Pakistani diplomat and former President of Pakistan Cricket Board married his son Ali to a girl from Bhopal a few years ago lots of eyebrows were raised. Many people in both India and Pakistan questioned his wisdom to find match for his son in India.

Qureshi, whose many cousin sisters are married in Pakistan, says those who question the wisdom of Khan should know that these people are doing yeoman service in their own way in order to cement the relations between the two bitter neighbours. It is said that the number of such marriages were reduced as whenever there is a chill in the relations. When things normalize, marriages start taking place with all the fanfare. Known educationist of Delhi, Maulana Umer Ilaysi says that it is true that cross border marriages are still on, but their number has gone as down compared to yesteryears. Reason? He feels that there are two major reasons for this thing to happen. First, the fast dwindling population of those elders who were divided across the border in the wake of partition. Till they were alive they used to ensure that their kids marry with each-other. As the number of those people reduced, the frequency of such marriages came down. Second, the governments in both Delhi and Islamabad are very choosy in granting citizenship to the nationals of these two countries. That is the major reason that people avoid marrying their kids across the border.

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