What with all the prejudice everywhere, I was delighted to read yesterday about a Muslim couple in Udaipur, India, who married off their adopted Hindu daughter in accordance with Hindu customs.
The girl was abandoned rather cruelly at the age of four by her own family, for bringing “bad luck” on it: the untimely death of one of her parents was, stereotypically for an Indian family, blamed on her. The succour-offering Muslim couple, Syed Shahzad Alam and Mrs Mehtab, then became her adoptive parents. Mr Alam is a head clerk in the Indian Railways.
Mr Alam and Mrs Mehtab went patiently through all the Hindu nuptial rituals at the Arya Samaj temple in Udaipur on 5th November as Miss Tina married Mr Ram Kishan Chaudhary, of Jhunjhunu District.
Asked what life without her was going to be like for them, the Muslim parents said that the “little girl” they had taken home so many years ago “completed” their family, which was previously blessed with two sons. The parents shed tears of sadness during the kanyadan (daughter-giving).
An office-bearer of the Arya Samaj temple, Dr Sri Ram Arya, interpreted the marriage as a triumph of secularism in the country.