August 19th, 2011
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Post graduate Malabar Muslim girl ?!! No grooms… sorry..!!..

Special Story/ V H Nishad

Malappuram(Kerala): To women across the world, education is a means of emancipation. But at least a section of Muslim women in Kerala are not feeling so. Don’t mistake them as women of the lower strata of the minority community, who have been denied proper means of education and living standards for many a generations. These all are well educated women and most of them hail from some of the most affluent and progressive families of Kerala, the state that always boasts of its cent percent literacy.

It is not difficult to meet Muslim girls with MBBS, Engineering or IT backgrounds in the northern districts of Kerala.Their problem is simple, yet complicated: They are not able to find proper grooms with equal educational standard in the otherwise ever thriving marriage market of Kerala. The situation is extremely severe in the northern Malabar region, compared to the rest of the state. Even marriage bureaus fail to find  grooms of satisfactory educational backgrounds for highly educated Muslim women. But in the case of boys, there is a severe shortage of persons having education beyond graduate level. There are many number of school dropouts, ready to marry girls with professional qualifications. The trend is that boys are going to Gulf countries without even passing the school final and coming back richer to marry girls with better education. But the educational and cultural standards are preventing many a girl from choosing such `unqualified’ grooms.

“Finding a proper groom is the biggest problem that has been haunting me for the last few years. I wish to have a husband with equal educational qualifications. I think it is my right,”says A Najma, a science graduate, presently working as postal assistant in Malappuram.You can see many such girls of marriageable age in nearby areas like Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasargod.Apart from the opportunities in gulf countries, what prevents Muslim boys of the region from college education are the numerous opportunities to start small scale business enterprises, which ensure better monetary returns. “My elder brother stopped education for ever after his tenth standard to enter into the family business. My father told him to assist him in business while telling me to continue my education. So I am completing my graduation now,” says K Suhara Fathima, who hails from Kasargod.

As the number of educated young Muslim men is facing a steady decline, a situation has reached in which an educated girl of marriageable age has to pass through varying stages of depression due to parental pressure to opt for a groom with just school a final pass. In families where the parents too prefer boys with proper education, the endless wait and its psychological implications are increasing many folds.

“The issue is that girls go for higher education, while boys withdraw from their studies immediately after tenth standard or plus two. The age of the bride is another key issue. Those girls who complete their post graduation  normally fail to find boys of the same age or over for marriage. School dropout-turned business men often prefer early marriage, and so, many parents are now thinking against giving higher education to their daughters,” opines filmmaker and  political activist  Aaryadan Shoukkath, who won a national award by penning the story of a feature film, that revolved around early marriage of Mulsim girls in some pockets of  Malapuram district.“The issue stems basically from the attitude of people here,”says P P Shahanaz Begum, an educated Muslim girl from Manjeri. Now pursuing her Ph D, Shahanaz too is facing the problem of not getting a suitable groom.

“Getting a bride groom who at least posseses a bachelor degree is turning to be a difficult task here” adds Shahanaz.Former secretary of Kerala Nadvatul Mujahideen, an Islamic reformist movement, Hussain Madavoor is of the opinion that only a collective effort on the part religious leaders and reformists can address the issue properly. “Instead of looking for a groom of equal educational qualifications, the parents can identify boys with good family background, social status and culture,” Madavoor told Dool News. A Muslim mother from Kannur, who prefers anonymity, said she was forced to go to Kollam in Southern Kerala to find a groom with proper education for her well educated daughter.

“The situation is quite alarming. Now many Muslim girls are getting married off before  finishing the last semester of their graduate courses. It is very hard for a well educated girl to get a proper life partner here. Sadly, education is turning to be their minus point,” says sociologist and writer N P Hafiz Muhammed. A practicing family counselor, he can also talk with authority about relationship failures in many families where educated girls got married to school dropouts.

One Response to “ Post graduate Malabar Muslim girl ?!! No grooms… sorry..!!.. ”

  1. Jaleel P. P.

    I am a man hailing from Kottayam and married from a “marumakkathaya” family in Malappuram. Both of us are Professionals working abroad. We are really enjoying our relation from the far places and different backgrounds.

    I think that there are educated boys in Northern Malabar. At Malappuram now there are many males who have studied well. Otherwise why North Malabar families can’t seek grooms from a little far place if they are not getting as they wish from nearby place.

    Equal education of mate has its importance in married life but it should not be the sole criteria. There should be some relaxation and adjustment for selecting the mate if they are not getting the one as they wished. Such problems are faced by Muslim families in Ernakulam, Idukki and Kottayam also. It is to be noted that there are many families who goes well with one of the couples having lesser education than the other. Trying to find the mate through newspapers has become common in Malabar also.

    Nowadays women are getting bold to face and handle such dilemmas. It is also to be noted that anyway nowadays only in remote villages the marriage of girls are occurred in very young age.


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