Afghanistan, a country that has seen numerous wars in past few decades is not only suffering from militancy but also from certain traditions that are no more relevant and practical in today’s context. One such tradition is called “walwar”, according to which the groom has to pay thousands of dollars to bride’s father. The tradition has become a major roadblock for young who wish to get married but are taken aback by price of the bride, which may start from $10000 and may even go up to $20000 in some cases. This is a ludicrous amount of money considering the fact that most people earn on an average from $6-$10 per day.
Surprisingly, walwar is not backed by Islam and the Sharia law doesn’t approve it. The main reasons for the rising price tag of walwar is the lack of employment and source of money for people in agriculture who see it as an opportunity to make up for their lack of money. It is the women, though who have to suffer as they are considered no more than a commodity and as a burden by both sides. Even if they get married they have to brides of new debt-ridden families who spend most of their future incomes to pay back walwar loans.
Afghan Women’s Affair ministry has taken a serious note of the issue though and is involving clerics throughout the nation to make people aware of the ill-effects of the tradition. Ministry is trying to make walwar as illegal in the country, which would in-turn help in improving the condition of women in country. Involving clerics seems to be a wise move as people look up to them and their opinions carries certain gravity and would convince people. According to clerics a tradition named “Mahar” instead is allowed in Islam, which requires the groom to pay a meagre amount the bride’s father in order to show his willingness to support his new family.
The tradition of walwar has resulted in marriages where young brides are married to rich men in their 60s, while many people many men not getting married even up to their late 30s. Women have to suffer to as they do get marriage proposals but since their walwar price is set high most people step back given to their inability to pay such hefty amounts. In some villages the ceiling walwar price is set to reduce burden on groom’s family, though this hardly seems to be the solution. Only a law that makes walwar illegal and is enforced strictly can give people hope and restore pride to the institution of marriage that that is the building block of society.