A study has revealed that 62% of Gujjars, mostly nomads in the state, favour two marriages, while 18% want to have about six wives. The study also reveals 42% favour abducting a girl or even a woman for marriage, which is considered a sign of heroism.
The study on the marriage pattern among the Gujjars and Bakerwals was conducted by the Tribal Research Foundation. The study was done among 100 nomads comprising Banhara and Bakarwal Gujjars families residing in different parts of the state.
The study has revealed that 62% of nomads want two marriages while 18% wish to have three to six wives. The study, however, says the tradition is on the wane.
It says 42% nomad Gujjars favour "Kadhu", abducting a girl or even a woman, which is considered as a matter of heroism and valour to marry a girl or a woman of the choice. But 39% Gujjars term it anti-social.
As per the study, 89% of nomadic Gujjars arrange the first marriage of their children at the age of 14 to 18 years, while 72% of girls are engaged to their relatives at the time of birth or at the age of six years.
About 78% of Gujjars oppose "Kharchi" system, wherein the groom's family pays full costs of wedding to the bride family - terming it an un-Islamic. While, five to 10% marriages among the nomad Gujjars are arranged in a hurry by abducting a girl or a married woman with her consent. However, no one among the nomad Gujjars is allowed to remain unmarried for his/her whole life.
The study also reveals that 88% nomad Gujjars and Bakarwals spend up to `50,000 on a marriage ceremony, while the other 12% spend up to `1 lakh on a wedding, which is called a grand marriage.
The Scheduled Tribe Gujjars constitute 20% of the state population, while 40% of the Gujjars-Bakarwals are practising nomadic or semi-nomadic life.