On the golden jubilee kisan mela of Punjab Agricultural University, the main theme was “Saade Viah, Saade Bhog- Na Karja Na Chinta Rog” (Simple Weddings, Simple Ceremonies; No debt, No worries). It was an effort to cut lavish expenses on weddings and other social ceremonies. This was a historic and a bold initiative of the university which today is the need of hour in Punjab.During the two day mela, the farmers showed an unprecedented response, that left the university experts and authorities wonderstruck. More than 5000 visiting farmers put in their signatures on the pledge banner that they will cut expenditure on wedding and other social events. They also pledged to take this moment to their villages and motivate the farmers to shun extravagance. More than 1000 farmers enthusiastically participated in the survey conducted by the Department of Agricultural Journalism, Languages and Culture. The Department also released a book titled ‘Saade Viah, Saade Bhog’. On this occasion a huge rush of farmer was witnessed on the book sale stall. Many farmers were seen purchasing 5 or 10 books, as the book was being sold on subsidized rate of just rupees ten. During the regional kisan mela at Bathinda more than 550 books were sold in just 3 hours.The university students and volunteers of movement, UTSHAH (a farmer suicide prevention project under the aegis of National Agricultural Science Fund of ICAR) also carried out an impressive march on the mela route, carrying banners with slogans –‘Vikhave wale viah, karde ghar tabah’ (wedding with lots of extravagance, ruin many households) . The volunteers also pasted stickers of slogan ‘Saade Viah, Saade Bhog’ on university vehicles, cars, tractors of the visiting farmers as well as on buses etc. Interestingly many farmers were seen requesting the volunteers to paste the slogans on their vehicles also. But the big question now is how to make this movement sustainable. Here are few points:-
Meaning of simple wedding
Simple wedding does not mean a celebration without enthusiasm or a wedding with just 5 to 7 persons. In fact, simple wedding in today’s context means a celebration without extravagance and the lavish display of one’s wealth. Three things that are very important for such weddings are:
- Cutting down the number of functions in a wedding
- Restricted number of guests and
- Limited number of dishes to relish
Now-a-days, people spend lavishly on many other events preceding the wedding , which include rokka (engagement), chunni, ring ceremony, bangle ceremony, shagun, ladies sangeet, reception etc. If the numbers of functions are reduced to just one event much extravagance can be curtailed. If at all one wishes to perform other ceremonies, only close relatives should be invited so that you do not need to hire costly palaces.
The second point is controlling the number of guests. If one is successful in restraining the list of guests, much saving is possible. Wedding should be a close family affair and not an event to invite the whole city. I personally feel that only those friends should be invited who have at least once visited your home or vice-versa. One who has not met my family means, he is not a close family friend. Moreover the people who call 500 to 700 guests could not spare quality time with the invitees. Anyone who arranges a massive gathering on wedding functions should be condemned by the society. Holding massive gathering on weddings is mere a show of ego. We need to honour those families who celebrate the weddings in simple way. Already many celebrities and intelligent people have started celebrating weddings with few selected guests only.The third point is limiting the number of dishes. The present mad race in Punjabi weddings is of having a large number of dishes. Many a times number of stalls and dishes go beyond 100 and may touch upto 250. So much of precious food is wasted. Here it is important to mention the wedding law in neighboring country Pakistan which has compulsory ‘single dish weddings’. In this way, one can save the hard earned money as well as precious food.Data
According to an estimate the annual wedding business in India ranges from 1 lakh crore to 3 lakh crores. In addition, the economists believe there is an annual increase of 25-30% in wedding business. The economy of a middle class family suffers a ten year back blow. Salaried people spend about 2 years salary in few days of wedding. This data is shocking and if this trend continues, wedding will cease to be an event of joy the rather it will become a horror for many.
Some Simple Steps to Stop Extravagance
The first expense of wedding is on costly invitation cards and sweet boxes. A very good trend has already started. It is of sending the invite through whats-app or email. The invitation card is designed and sent electronically, instead of sending by post or in person. With this simple step one can save huge money, time, fuel and human resources. The trend of sending wedding invite with sweet boxes is in north India only. If at all, one wishes to distribute sweets it can be given to the guests who attend the wedding. Personally delivering the wedding invite with sweet boxes is a cumbersome job. A new concept of sending digital video cards is also becoming very popular these days. Many websites are available on internet which assist in this trend. This is a very good beginning.The next item of extravagance is unnecessary decoration as well as expenses on beauty parlours. The marriage palace owners advice you to hire a separate decorator. People usually spend 50,000 to 5 lakh rupees or even more on decorations only. It is not a wise act. Similarly spending 20,000 to 50,000 rupees on beauty parlours is also a mad race. Why people dress abnormally on weddings is a big question?
Why Opposing The Simple Wedding Movement
Some economists as well as union leaders have raised concern about the university move for advising the farmers to cut expenditure on extravagance. What is the logic? After all if a farmer saves money, it is in his own benefit. The decision to adopt the slogan of ‘saade viah and saade bhog’ as mela theme is a bold and very far sighted decision of Dr. Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice Chancellor. The university is getting many congratulatory phone calls from the farmers.
Author of this article is Sarabjeet Singh who is the Professor of Journalism at Punjab Agricultural University.