Legalised religious fundamentalism
Pakistan’s Supreme Court, best known as an exponent of the doctrine of necessity, has struck down a provincial government law that allowed one dish to be served to at most 300 guests at weddings. Henceforth, wedding guests in Pakistan will not be served much more than a hot or cold drink. While it is questionable whether criminalising wedding feasts can solve such social problems as forced dowry, and whether extravagance is enough of a problem for the state to intervene, the court nevertheless endorsed huge intrusions into personal freedoms.
â€œIt is the duty of the state to take steps to encourage the celebration of marriages in simple and informal ways, such as the performance of a nikah in the mosque of the locality,â€ the court judged.
Condemning the custom of dowry, the court said the lower and middle classes were being crushed under the evils of extravagance and ostentatious displays of wealth.
â€œIt must stop. Functions celebrated on the eve of a marriage such as mayun, mehndi, rasm-e-hina, baraat and even the custom of giving large dowries have Hindu origins and have nothing to do with the Islamic concept of marriage,â€ it added.
Muslims of the subcontinent had sacrificed a lot to form an independent state in which they could live in accordance with Islamic teachings, the court said. [Daily Times]
Amardeep Singh sums it up well when he writes
Pakistan is perilously close to banning enjoyment itself because of its possible contamination by Hindu “culture”…
But what else is freedom but the right to be as frivolous as one wants?[No False Medicine]
Over the years, negative trends of exhibitionism and conspicuous consumption have come to the fore in the Pakistani society. Copying the wealthy and the rich, the middle class and even the poorer sections of the society had to adopt these negative customs. In the last three decades, the display of ceremonies of mayun, mehndi and baarat, apart from new ways of merry-making, singing and illuminations, have entrapped the entire society mentally into the net of Hindu customs and practices. It is in the interest of all that the latest decision of the Supreme Court should not only be fully and effectively implemented but a countrywide campaign be launched till such time as the marriage ceremonies become simple. In this campaign, political and religious organisations and social institutions should play a vital role that can ultimately bring an end to evil practices that arise as a result of ostentation, pomp and show.[The News/Jang]