A BIT OF PAKISTAN’S PESHAWAR BROUGHT TO AMRITSAR ESP FOR THE WEDDING THROUGH SOUND RECORDING OF TEMPLE BELL CHIMES OF ANCIENT MANDIR
BY RASHMI TALWAR
October 13, 2008 —-
A 20-year old Pakistani bride, Anita Kumari in her bridal finery felt lucky and glowed under the shade of the “shaguni ” red duppata bespeckled with stars as she approached the wedding ‘mandap’, shyly stealing a glance at her groom Pawan Kumar (23), amidst sounds of “temple bell chimes” of her ‘maika’ in Peshawar. Complete with Hindu traditions of ghori , jai mala , saat pherey et al the wedding between a “Hindu Pakistani” girl Anita from North Western Frontier province’s capital city Peshawar and Pawan Kumar a Indian Hindu boy from Amritsar was solemnized with much fan fare in the city on Monday.
For the holy city this was a first wedding solemnized between a Indian Hindu boy and Pakistani Hindu girl.
The family of Pawan had migrated to India after Indo_Pak partition but kept alive their relations with relatives in their ancestral town of Peshawar Pakistan . The wedding was an arranged marriage and the bride’s s family had come with 13 relatives to the holy city for the wedding .
At the wedding ceremony Anita’s family had brought a bit of the bride’s ‘maika ‘( Peshawar ) in the form of sound recording of “temple bell chimes” from Peshawar Pir Rattan Nath Mandir – an ancient temple in Peshawar, played during the traditional “jai Mala” (exchanging garlands) ceremony of the couple .
The 400-year old temple in Peshawar is considered holiest among Hindus there with ancient idols of Lord Shiva , Shivling , Krishan –Radha , Ram –Sita –laxman and Hanuman besides Bahiron Nath and Mata where under security by Pakistan government, festivals of Dussehra , Diwali , Navratras and Shiv ratris are celebrated, says the temple in-charge Balwant Ram of Peshawar who had brokered the matrimonial match between the two families .
Anita wearing a heavy mauve and gold lehenga made in Amritsar complete with wedding “chora” while talking to The Pioneer said “my friends and cousins in Pakistan were envious of the fact that I was marrying an Indian. For Pakistani Hindu girls the fascination for India extends even to getting Indian grooms.” she laughed and “Yes I feel lucky” she added .
On a solemn note, having seen the hassles that her family went through, Anita said, visas should be eased for weddings between the families of both countries and also for relatives residing on both sides of the Indo Pak border. The bride’s family including the bride herself has got the visa only for 45 days, in India .
Anita and her family including her aunts and their children are Hindus but have for the first time witnessed the grandeur of the “big fat” Hindu wedding for real in India.
” We have seen grand Indian weddings only in Indian movies . Islamic Weddings in theocratic Pakistan are mostly low key affairs with limited dishes and ostentation reduced to a minimum, so minorities communities there too have followed the majority communities diktats and adhered to simplicity even in various traditions , financial status also being a major factor”, says Anita’s father Inder Prakash who is a general merchant in Peshawar.
The bride’s mother Giani devi could not make it for the wedding due to ill health but her aunts Jasodha and Kamla besides their other relatives made up the guests from Pakistan from the bride’s side .
The groom’s father Dhian Chand a kiryana merchant in Amritsar said nearly 1000 Hindu and Sikh families reside in Sind Pakistan . “While many Peshawaris came with us to India in 1956 after Indo –Pak Partition . They kept on percolating in year 1970, then after the Indo Pak war of 1971, again the migration of Peshawaris started to India in 1980 before militancy took roots in Punjab and stricter conditions followed . Even today the mindset among Peshawari Hindus is to migrate to India . Comparing themselves with their counterparts in India they too want to settle here . “When asked if this was another way to migrate the family said “we have only strengthened bonds between our families with a “sacred marital thread” which is pious to both our families . We as families have exchanged visits over the years and now felt we could conjoin our children in holy matrimony”.
Two years back Pawan, his father and his mother Indu Prakash had gone to Peshawar where the bride side had liked the boy and had said yes to the wedding between their children although the girl is a plus-2 and the boy is a matriculate .