An Indian loved his girlfriend but could not say ‘no’, to the bride picked by his parents, so the village counsel deliberated his predicament and allowed him to marry both.
Some parts of rural India are run by wise, old men who constitute a “panchayat” (the Rule of Five) and it has a system that is something similar to a democracy, but one that has been ‘localised’.
But, imagine if these guys had a say in the lives of young folks in the big cities; there would be chaos, there would be an even bigger population explosion. There would be a lot of unhappy mothers-in-law.
The district administration bigwigs got cheesed off because no one took their permission to get married or to invite people (let alone marry two people) as that is now required in these times of coronavirus. They are wondering how a wedding between three people took place
Indians love (or used to love) big fat weddings, but picture the venue where families of both brides have to be hosted (as decided by a wise but crooked lawmaker), two dowries have to be paid (due to the boorish ideas of the ‘beta’ about modern love).
Two separate households
Polygamy is banned in India for most communities and in most countries of the world, but rich landlords in Indian villages usually have two wives and two separate households, and that may be the reason for the decision by the wise elders.
It is a good thing people are getting more upfront about their loves unlike before where the second wife had to be hidden away from society’s sight.
I remember a report about the expatriate wife of a suddenly deceased very rich businessman in Dubai, who was shocked to learn that her late husband had a second wife and a family in another country.
He must have had a very busy and frantic dual life; you know the usual — parents-teacher’s meetings and getting mocked by two different sets of teenage girls.
I am not sure whether the business magnate had made a will and whether he had two separate joint bank accounts, because if he did than there would have been a very harassed and upset chartered accountant somewhere, as the number crunchers hate joint bank accounts since it is a nightmare to figure out the taxes.
A girl of his choice
Anyway, back to our village hero, Sandeep Uike, who fell in love with his girlfriend while he was studying in Bhopal city. While the courtship was going on, the parents, who were unaware of their son’s love affair, found a girl of their choice, for his marriage.
Our hero said he was cool to the decision as long as both women were cool too (they were). The wedding was solemnised in Keira village in Madhya Pradesh state and all three families were present.
The brides and bridegroom went through the proper formalities and all rituals and went round the sacred fire seven times and they were declared husband and wives.
The local administration got to know of this unusual wedding because unfortunately, this is the era of social media and someone from the village posted it online, saying, “Hey, checkout this really cool wedding in our village.”
The district administration bigwigs got cheesed off because no one took their permission to get married or to invite people (let alone marry two people) as that is now required in these times of coronavirus. They are wondering how a wedding between three people took place.
Polygamy used to be huge in India in ancient times but I have never read about love stories that involved two women, only stories about two men falling for one woman.
Anyway, after independence, all this was getting too much to handle for the new government and it banned polygamy in 1956.
We await news of what happened next with the man with two brides.
— Mahmood Saberi is a storyteller and blogger based in Bengaluru, India. Twitter: @mahmood_saberi