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From Extravagance to Essence: Rediscovering Kashmiri Weddings

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By: Aubaid Ahmad Akhoon

And those who, when they spend, are neither extravagant nor niggardly but hold a just balance between those (extremes) – Quran, 25:67

As the summer sun relinquishes its fiery grip on the beautiful valleys of Kashmir, a unique trend has emerged this year. With scorching temperatures making traditional summer weddings a challenge, many Kashmiri families have wisely chosen to delay their marriage ceremonies, opting instead for the cooler months of September to November. This shift not only brings respite from the heat but also offers a valuable lesson in celebrating love and togetherness with simplicity.

Kashmir, often described as ‘Paradise on Earth’ has long been renowned for its breath-taking landscapes, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality. The grandeur of Kashmiri weddings, with their rich traditions, elaborate rituals, and opulent feasts, is equally well-known. However, the soaring temperatures in recent summers have taken their toll, making these celebrations more about extravagance than the love and unity they represent.

This change in wedding timing provides a timely opportunity to reflect on the essence of marriage ceremonies. The common message to the public, both in Kashmir and beyond, should resonate with the idea of embracing simplicity and shunning extravagance.

“Indeed, Allah loves not those who are self-deluding and boastful.” – Quran, 4:36

Religious Teachings:

Incorporating the wisdom of religious texts into our plea for simplicity in Kashmiri weddings, we find strong support for this noble cause:

Islamic Perspective:

In Islam, simplicity is highly regarded, and extravagant spending is discouraged. The Quran mentions moderation and avoiding excessiveness in spending, as it encourages Muslims to give to those in need and to prioritize helping others over lavish expenditures (Quran 7:31).

“The most blessed marriage is the one with the least expenses.” – Prophet Muhammad (Al-Mu’jam al-Awsat)

Hindu Perspective:

Hinduism, with its diverse traditions, also promotes simplicity in weddings. The ancient scriptures, such as the Manusmriti and the Bhagavad Gita, stress the significance of modesty and frugality. The Bhagavad Gita, for instance, teaches detachment from material possessions and the value of inner contentment.

Sikh Perspective:

Sikhism, founded on the principles of equality, humility, and selflessness, advocates for simple and meaningful ceremonies. The Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhism, emphasizes the importance of humility and avoiding extravagance.

By aligning our plea for simplicity in Kashmiri weddings with these religious teachings, we honor our faith, promote social harmony, and contribute to the well-being of our community.

Additional Benefits for the Community:

Financial Stability: Extravagant weddings often result in financial burdens not only for the immediate families but also for the community at large, diverting resources from more essential needs.

Community Development: By practicing frugality in weddings, families can allocate resources toward community development initiatives such as education, healthcare, and infrastructure.

Social Equality: Extravagant weddings can inadvertently create disparities within the community. Encouraging modest weddings fosters social equality, where all members can participate equally.

Cultural Preservation: Simplifying weddings better preserves cultural aspects, ensuring they are passed down to future generations intact.

Environmental Responsibility: A focus on eco-friendly weddings aligns with the global movement toward sustainability, contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment for everyone.

Social Cohesion: Shared values of simplicity in weddings create stronger bonds among community members, enhancing social cohesion and harmony.

Education and Empowerment: Resources saved from extravagant weddings can be channeled into educational programs, scholarships, and skill development initiatives, empowering the youth.

Philanthropy and Charity: Wedding celebrations can be an opportunity for charitable acts, supporting local charities or less fortunate community members in need.

Mental Health and Well-being: Simplifying weddings reduces stress and anxiety associated with planning extravagant events, leading to happier and more productive individuals.

Setting a Positive Example: Prominent community members choosing simplicity set a positive example for others to follow, fostering a culture of responsible celebration.

In conclusion, embracing simplicity in weddings benefits not only individual families but the entire community. By making conscious choices to avoid extravagance, we pave the way for a stronger, more united, and prosperous community that can collectively address its challenges and build a brighter future for all.

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” – Coco Chanel

The message is clear: It’s time to rekindle the true spirit of Kashmiri weddings by making them more about love, togetherness, and shared moments of joy. Let us cherish the memories we create, not the extravagance we display. In doing so, we will pave the way for a brighter future filled with meaningful and sustainable celebrations.

The writer is a Columnist & Motivational Speaker and an Associate Editor of the Weekly Publication ‘Education Quill.’ He currently serves as the Senior EDP Head at DD Target PMT Kashmir.Email: [email protected]

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