Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Wedding gone berserk

By Bishnu Chaudhary

Courtesy: The Kathmandu Post

In the past few months, I had to drag myself to numerous matrimonial ceremonies, no matter how hesitant I was. Today, instead of sharing its pleasant features, I am going to attract your attention towards a notorious social practice haunting each and every wedding ceremony taking place in Tharu villages of eastern Nepal. This perversion has such dreadful consequences that it almost converted a lovely wedding procession into a gloomy funeral. Here, I want to share that very scary experience, which I was destined to confront.

I am a Tharu boy from the southeastern terai district of Sunsari. In the last week of Falgun (around a month ago), my school friend from the village of Jhakanjhoda was to tie the knot. On the day of the bariyati (the day when the bridegroom, along with his friends and relatives go and fetch the bride from her house), we left the groom’s house at about 8pm in the evening. Some of us jantees boarded a bus, whereas others were on motorbikes. After 45 minutes of the bandmaster’s cheering, singing and playing, we had almost reached our destination. As we entered the bride’s village, we were stopped by a group of young men, most of them in early and mid-20s. Some of them were drunk. These days, a trend has surfaced, in which a group of youngsters obstruct the path of a groom and demand cash from his side as a form of payment to be made before reaching the bride’s place.

The guys standing in the way wanted money. Both parties then began bargaining. The groom’s party was stating that the demanded amount was outrageously higher than the usual. The situation began to get intense, leading to some heated verbal exchange. Finally, to our relief, an agreement was reached after prolonged discussions. I’m still unaware of the amount paid.

Relieved, we reached the gate of the bride’s house. Soon a group of pretty bridesmaids came to welcome the groom and jantees, showering flowers and corn on them. I thought the troubles were over, but I was wrong. Some of the men from earlier, unsatisfied with the amount that’d been paid, were throwing rocks over the gate, at the party, at the same time that the bridesmaids were showering flowers and corn over us.

The hurled rocks caught some of our friends, and they started to bleed with head injuries. Next, while we were dining, we came to know that two or three of our friends were thrashed by the same gang. Unable to tolerate it any more, we started chasing a man from the group and were led to a house where his friends were grouped, well prepared with sharp weapons, rods and sticks. In a blink of an eye they charged at us like a pack of wolves on meek lambs with whatever they had in their hands. Laxmi, my childhood friend and the groom’s own cousin, was knocked down with a blow from an axe. For a moment I was left gaping at the sight of my friend lying motionless in a pool of blood. Regaining my nerves, I realised I was unable to help him. Running for my life was the only option I saw. I jumped over a bamboo fence but got caught in a ditch. Pulling myself out of it I ran for my life faster than a projected missile, never looking back.

Sanju, Laxmi’s elder brother lay unconscious on the very mandap where his cousin was to tie the knot. Eventually, the groom was married but he left bride’s house alone. It was incredibly painful. The result of this act of obstructing jantees has shaken the whole district. Three of our critically injured mates are still receiving treatment in ICU, and the whole village of Jhakanjhoda is in a state of shock.

The experience has left a lasting impression in my mind. It still sends chills down my spine when I remember the lifeless countenances of my near-dead friends and death-coloured assailant’s faces. After this incident, I’ve vowed not to attend any night-time wedding ceremony and I advise you to do the same.

This true story was narrated to the writer by eyewitness Tulai Chaudhary

No comments:

Post a Comment