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Want a bride? Prove your capability!

india Updated: Jan 03, 2007 19:59 IST
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In the villages of western Rajasthan, boys of the Jogi community have to stay with their prospective in-laws for a year to prove their worth for the girl they want to marry, doing chores like fetching water and looking after the cattle.

And during the time the boy of the nomadic community stays with his prospective in-laws, he is not allowed even a glimpse of the girl.

Interestingly, if the boy fails the test, he is given another 12 months to prove himself, which is a social snub.

Each task has to be performed properly. The boy gets disqualified if he fails to arrive on time in the evening or fetch water.

"This custom is being practised for years. The boy proves he is fit for the girl in every respect. The exercise is undertaken to ensure that the boy can earn a livelihood for himself and for the girl," explained Laxman, a Jogi from Jodhpur district.

The boy has to contribute to domestic work, like cattle rearing and sowing crops. "The exercise is meant to prove that the boy really wants to get married," he added.

Laxman is one such bachelor contender who has been taking a similar rigorous test for the last many months for his would-be wife Kamla. For Laxman, getting married to Kamla is more like winning a battle of wills.

He wakes up early in the morning and sets out to beg. In the evening he gives a daily account of his earnings to the girl's father, who rebukes him if the money is below expectation.

"It is over 10 months and I have not even seen the girl. I would be able to see her only at the time of engagement. Till date everything is going well and if I continue to live up to the expectations of my in-laws I will be soon married to Kamla," said Laxman.

Kamla said: "He is working hard for me. I pray to god that he should pass the test so that we can soon get married."

According to the community's customs, if Laxman passes the test he will get a dog and a donkey in dowry.

There are several others in the community who have taken years to prove their capability and impress their in-laws. For many it took more than 20 years to get married.

Naku, one of the oldest Jogi women, had to wait for 20 years to tie the nuptial knot. Every year her father would reject the son-in-law for not performing the task well.

"These customs have gone stale and are of no use in the present context. It is a mere wastage of time," said Shyam, a youngster from the community.

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