Jain, Sindhi and Gujarati groups in Bhopal have called for a ban on pre-wedding photoshoots and male choreographers during marriages as they “violate traditions”and “rupture relations” and an “embarrassment to families”.
“It’s not about spending money, but the spread of obscenity,” said Bhagwandev Israni, president, Sindhi Central Panchayat, Bhopal. “During shoots, the engaged couple get clicked in awkward poses, that too before marriage. Sometimes, the engagement falls apart and families have to deal with embarrassment.”
Saying there was no need for a couple to meet before marriage, he said, “During dance practices that go late into the night, choreographers naturally touch our daughters and wives while teaching them steps. How can we allow that? It makes us uncomfortable.”
The 28 panchayats of the community, claiming to represent 40,000 families in the city, would soon take a decision. “Our plan is to get the practices stopped State-wide,” he said.
Asserting that the shoots were not permitted in the Jain culture, Pramod Jain, president, Digambar Jain Panchayat Committee Trust, said “This is not acceptable to our elders. We’ll do as they say.” He added strangers had no right to teach the community’s women dance.
As for the Gujarati community, though pre-wedding shoots are not as prevalent, they should be pre-empted, said Sanjay Patel, president, Gujarati Samaj, which had 700 registered families.
“What is the need of a pre-wedding shoot in the first place and choreographers? Parents need to teach children to exercise caution and they can get as many photographs clicked as they want after marriage. We have been performing garbas since childhood and don’t need a trainer,” he said, adding it was not a diktat to the community but a request.
“If members don’t agree, we’ll boycott their functions and ask others to follow suit. It is our duty to uphold the traditions,” he added.
“The call is an attempt for moral control over members and the practices are being looked at only from the prism of sexuality. It’s important for a couple to meet before a marriage and understand each other. If you restrict them, then you may have to deal with conflict later. Our social structures are such that even without compatibility in a marriage, the couple have to stay bound to it,” said Sachin Jain, social worker.
“Both the practices are now a trend and wedding rituals. Even those who want to have a simple wedding may organise them under pressure from society. The practices need to be stopped so that the trend is broken and the middle class doesn’t have to spend unnecessarily on marriages,” said Kamal Kishore Mulchandani, a Sindhi and owner of an electronics shop.
Stating that a couple couldn’t understand each other without interaction before marriage, Kajal Tharwani, a student from the Sindhi community, said, “Just days ago my cousin had a pre-wedding shoot, which will only strengthen their bond. If the couple are about to have a love marriage and have interacted much before, why ban the shoots?”