‘Dowry Free Nikah’ united its first couple merely three months after its formation. It has brought together 75 couples since then
In February, 2017, a group of eight youngsters from Mangaluru, launched a crusade against dowry, via Whatsapp. Distressed by the increasing occurrence of dowry-related deaths, decided to take matters into their own hands.
‘Dowry Free Nikah’, the WhatsApp group started by these internet friends has triggered a social revolution in the Dakshina Kannada district. Nizaam Valachil, Ilyas Mangaluru, Nuruddin Avinahalli, Zaheer Shantinagar, Musthafa Shiruru, Muzammil Nuhi Addoru, K M Jaleel Kundapura and Rehaman Byndooru met on social media, and discovered a shared concern about the malignant effects of dowry. They were all deeply perturbed by the number of suicides and women who remain unmarried as they cannot afford to pay. In a bid to make a difference, they got together to create a discussion group that addressed social issues. A month later, they created ‘Dowry Free Nikah’.
“We haven’t yet met together as a team, but are united by a purpose. We strive to ensure that no family in our community suffers due to malicious dowry practices. Most of our team members are writers and we met on the group formed after a poverty-stricken family committed suicide in our village. Over a period of time, we started a group of our own to discuss the social issues plaguing the region, and ultimately ‘Dowry Free Nikah’ was pioneered.” says creator, Zaheer Shantinagar.
‘Dowry Free Nikah’ united its first couple merely three months after its formation. It has brought together 75 couples since then. Singles looking for a suitable match send their details to the group administrators. After their details are verified and they agree to follow the rules set by the administrators, candidates are accepted as members. Details such as age, qualifications, height and phone numbers of family members are subsequently shared with members of the group, to connect them with each other.
The group is a warm and open-minded space. Unlike other matrimonial sites, it does not ask for the skin colour. This is unimaginable in an arranged marriage set-up and only highlights their progressive thinking. Any message against a particular caste or group isn’t permitted either.
The group was an instant success in the Dakshina district of Kannada and has had now proliferated across Karnataka and has over 1,000 members. Five sub-groups have been initiated to accommodate these extensive numbers.
Administrators feel that this widespread participation hints at a social change. They are confident that what started as a small scale initiative will soon penetrate the social fabric, and positively impact thousands.
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