A Critique of અણવર tradition
Last weekend, I attended engagement ceremony of a very close friend of mine (Congratulations once again!). It was modernized traditional setting, if that makes sense. What I mean is that the rituals were kind of traditional, but adapted to fit the different standards the society has evolved over time.
The ब्राह्मण (Brahmins) performed the rituals (without shouting them out loud in speakers, I appreciate that), the boy (here after B) and the girl (here after G) sat on a rented 2 person steel sofa for the rituals and afterwards. After rituals, they moved to a modern way of exchanging the rings - on the stage, the couple and their families got together, rings were exchanged. B got on his knees and stuff. A cake was cut, flowers showered etc. This was all great.
During this whole process, I started thinking about a particular tradition that I have been seeing in all the engagements and marriages. And I hated it. I would like to say what I disliked, why I disliked and may be convince you too! I promise I won’t rant about the same when I attend your ceremonies, I will keep mum, but have this in the back of your head and if possible, refrain from having this.
The tradition, is to have a person be with the boy and the girl at all times for whatever help they might need. It would have been okay if it was limited to helping out (not concretely, contextual helps can be given by different people too). This helper person is called અણવર (anvar) for the male side, and અણવહુ (anvahu) for the female side.
An example of what the અણવર will keep doing: wipe the sweat from the forehead of the boy.
If something falls down, they will pick up; they will collect all the money being given to B and G and put them aside (right beside the chair, nothing else); adjust the clothes (of B and G of course, not their own); smile at everyone; ask for water if B/G are thirsty; take care of other little inconveniences as and when they arrive. Such are the duties.
I have been told in past that the Boy is considered a King for a day and gets all the luxuries. And I feel that’s how it probably came into the tradition. People with a lot of resources would hire servants to help them out during the whole process, so that their royal lifestyle is not hindered during the ceremony. Understandable. But the middle class families of our society cannot afford to hire such servants, and hence, they have hacked the process and decided to keep friends or cousins to do so instead.
I personally think, that the young generation must abolish this tradition. Why the hell do you need a dedicated person who is your relative (a close one) to wipe the sweat off your face?! DIY, put better ACs! If you are rich, then hire people - pay them - to help you out. Human lives are valued. As a software engineer, I also think that such things can be automated. I just suggested ACs which is an example of getting rid of one problem completely. Many such problems can be eradicated completely. And some things can be automated. Some might think this is outrageous, but our group of friends were discussing if it would be viable to accept plastic/virtual money (PayTM, BHIM, Tez, Bitcoins…) during the ceremony. Water is a necessity, so we can automate water-filling too. We can put autonomous vacuum cleaners to keep the stage clean. Many such ideas can be thought of, I am sure.
The અણવર being a close friend or relative, will surely defend. Such a person will surely not feel small or awkward or wrong about it. They will be happy to be of help to their dear ones. But it is not about that. I am suggesting the consideration B/G should put into it. I understand when અણવર defends, but the overall picture, thinking and value of other humans should be considered by B/G. And also as a society - which is made of the individuals like B/G - is an abstract entity and should take very good care of potentially bad traditions/ways.
Thus, as a sign of respect to all human lives, friends and family; as a sign of intellectual individuals we should get rid of this tradition.