Elaborate weddings are a hallmark of Punjabis. Loud music at the venue,an array of dishes and a few gunshots in the air are some indicators of a successful wedding celebration. The big fat Punjabi weddings,however,earned the ire of Punjab MLAs on Thursday with a resolution being unanimously passed in the Punjab Assembly to launch a social movement to create awareness about keeping a check on reckless expenditure at weddings.
The resolution was moved by Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Harpreet Singh. With the Congress legislators having boycotted the session for the day,it was the members from the SAD-BJP who expressed their displeasure at the pomp and show at weddings. In fact,apart from weddings,the need to curb expenses on silver jubilee marriage celebrations and retirement parties were also highlighted.
Harpreet Singh said,People organising such events should think whether their guests will help them economically,in case of a problem. If not,then why spend so much money on such people? The amount of food that is prepared should instead be used to feed the needy. People who can afford to spend have set a precedent,and those who cannot follow it,kill themselves for it. Such expenditure is the cause of female foeticide and falling sex ratio.
The legislators held discussions on how it had become a matter of prestige for people to spend lavishly on weddings even if it meant taking a loan. Bibi Jagir Kaur quoted several verses from the Gurbani to highlight how even Guru Nanak Dev had expressed concern over excessive expenditure at weddings. She said that the Sikh Rehat Maryada,the code of conduct for Sikhs,clearly stated that weddings should be simple.
The legislators also expressed their resentment at orchestras being present at weddings celebrations,where girls were made to dance. They further stated that at places,girls were also made to serve liquor. It was felt that such practices should be stopped. Several instances of people dying during celebratory firing at weddings were also discussed.
While the legislators stated that it would be difficult to make laws pertaining to this,and force a ban on lavish weddings,it was felt that awareness about this should be created.
Justice Nirmal Singh advocated installation of CCTV cameras. The number of guests attending the function should be checked. In case of food wastage,people should be punished. The government could implement a guest-control order. It should be evaluated where the money being spent on weddings came from and whether it was white money, he said.
Industry and Commerce Minister Anil Joshi promised not to take any dowry during the wedding of his two sons. He added that he would not give or take shagun or boxes of sweets that was a practice being followed while sending invitation cards.