I am proud of what I did last week.
My niece (brother’s daughter) was getting married. We have a tradition called ‘Maayra’ in our community where the bride’s maternal uncle (maama) offers valuable gifts to his sister (bride’s mother) and her daughter (bride). This basically is with an intention to contribute towards the wedding expenses.
Taking the bride’s mother in confidence, I approached her brother with a request: “In this marriage, if you approve, we’d like to do away with the tradition of Maayra”
After consulting his family members, maama said that they were fine with that. But in turn, would also like to not have related formalities like ‘Bathhisi’ and ‘Saama Levna’. These are small functions where the sister symbolically invites her brother’s family to the wedding.
Since our side of the family was okay with this, the entire Maayra and related programs were eliminated from the wedding.
Now imagine this. If this maama has 6 sisters and each of the sisters has 2 or 3 children, the maama will have to offer gifts at each of these weddings – let’s say on about 15 occasions. It just does not end there. He will also be a part of the Maayra, though on a smaller scale, at the weddings of each child of each niece as ‘Bad Maayerdar’. Some of the maamas will probably spend a good portion of their lifetime-earnings in Mayraas.
Though this tradition is prevailing since ages, it has become irrelevant in the present time, as the disparity between the rich and the poor has increased widely. In cases where the Maama can afford, they can follow this tradition. But it sets, a keep up with the Joneses syndrome, or an inferiority complex of sorts, for those who cannot afford it financially.
In cases where the Maama cannot afford, he begs, borrows, pledges his jewelry or property just to fulfill this tradition. Rates of interest for such borrowings are normally so high that he is sure to be doomed under the burden of paying just the interest.
Is this a fair tradition in the present day situation?
I feel proud that all the Maayra formalities were eliminated atleast in this wedding. I wish others are inspired and follow similar steps for reform in Society.