CHAPTER III

PEOPLE

(a) Population

(i) Total Population

According to the 1981 Census, the total population of the Rupnagar District was 7,16,662 (3,85,087 males and 3,31,575 females). Of this number 5,62,024 persons (3,01,230 males and 2,60,794 females) resided in rural areas and 1,54,638 persons (83,857 males and 70,781 females) in urban areas.

Growth of Population - The net percentage increase in the population in 1981 over that in 1971 was 30.46 which was the highest in any decade in the last 80 years. The decadal variation in population of the Rupnagar District during the last eighty years is shown in the following table:-

Year

 

Persons

Decade variation

Percentage decade variation

Males

Females

1901

. .

3,35,670

_______

_______

1,85,781

1,49,889

1911

. .

2,90,817

-44,853

-13.36

1,65,575

1,25,242

1921

. .

2,88,555

-2,262

-0.78

1,62,050

1,26,505

1931

. .

3,16,920

+28,365

+9.83

1,77,100

1,39,820

1941

. .

3,60,942

+44,022

+13.89

2,00,342

1,60,600

1951

. .

3,82,267

+21,325

+5.91

2,10,980

1,71,287

1961

. .

4,76,359

+94,092

+24.61

2,62,880

2,13,479

1971

. .

5,49,332

+72,973

15.32

2,96,362

2,52,970

1981

. .

7,16,662

+1,67,330

30.46

3,85,087

3,31,575

(Census of India, 1981, Series 17-Punjab, Part II-A and Part-II-B, General Population Tables and Primary Census Abstract, PP. 64-65)

During the eighty years from 1901 to 1981 the population of the district inceased by 113.49 per cent. The ten year period, (1901-11) had been marked by severe epidemics of plagues and malaria which took a heavy toll of the Population . During 1911-21 there occurred the great influenza epidemic. The decades 1921-31 and 1931-41 were comparatively free from natural calamities and the population increased rapidly. However, during the decade 1931-41, when the overall increase of population in the State was 19.82 per cent in the State, the net increase in the Rupnagar District was only 13.89 per cent . Although this was a higher rate of increase than in any of the earlier decades, it was still lower than the overall rate of increase in the State. The decade 1941-51 experienced the holocaust of unprecedented communal trouble and mass migration of the Muslim population to Pakistan. The district, however. does not seem to have affected much by the communal violence. Even as the population of the State decreased by 4.58 per cent . there was a net increase in the population of the district by 5.91 per cent. The decade 1951-61 was free from disease and as a result of improved medical and health facilities,the death rate was reduced considerably, whereas the birth rate remained almostt unchanged. The population of he district increased by 15.32 percent and 1971-81 by a further 30.46 percent. In comparison, during this same period increase in the population in the State was 23.89 percent.

Density of Population:- According to the 1981 census the density of population in the Rupnagar District was344 per square kilometer as compared to 333 for the State as a whole the 1981 census is given in the following table:-

Tahsil/District

Total

Rural

Urban

Rupbagar

313

266

1,335

Kharar Tahsil

371

289

2,783

Anandpur

326

267

2,087

Rupnagar

344

280

2,000

(Cesus of India, series17-Punjab, Part II-A and PartII-B, General Population Tables and Primary Census Abstract, pp 29-30)

Sex Ratio:-According to the 1981 Census out of the total population of 7,16,662 of the district there were 3,m32,575 females and 3,31,575 femals and 3,85,087males, making a female to male ratio of 46.43:53.57. In the Rupnagar District,there were 861 females for every 1000 males, as compared to 879 for the State as a whole.

During the last eighty years, there has been overall improvement of the sex ratio favour of females in the district, as the following figures show:

 

Females P er Thousand Males

Year Rupnagar Distirct Punjab

 

Total

Rural

Urban

Total

Rural

Urban

1901

.

807

806

820

832

836

804

1911

.

756

755

784

798

785

740

1921

.

781

780

791

799

808

735

1931

.

789

790

773

815

832

721

1941

.

802

802

791

836

855

750

1951

.

812

813

802

844

854

807

1961

.

812

838

700

854

865

817

1971

.

83

856

841

865

868

856

1981

.

861

866

844

879

883

865

 

(Census of India,1981, Series 17, Punjab, Part II-A and Part II-B, General Population Tables and Primary Census Abstract, Pb. 59-60)

 

The Sex ratio for rural areas of the district in 1981 was worked out to 866 and for urban areas 844 as against the corresponding figures of 856 and 848 respectively in 1971.

 

(ii) Distribution of Population between Rural and Urban Areas.

The following table shows the tahsil-wise distribution of population between rural and urban areas in the district, according to the 1981 Census:-

District Tehsil

 

Person

Males

Females

Total District

.

7,16,662

3,85,087

3,31,575

Rural

.

5,62,024

3,01,230

2,60,794

Urban

.

1,54,638

83,857

70,781

Rupnagar Tehsil

.

2,30,612

1,23,192

1,07,420

Rural

.

1,87,25

1,00,059

87,194

Urban

.

43,359

23,133

20,226

Kharar Tehsil

.

2,71,406

1,48,414

1,22,992

Rural

.

2,04,611

1,11,999

92,612

Urban

.

66,795

36,415

30,380

Anandpur Sahib Tehsil

.

2,14,644

1,31,481

1,01,163

Rural

.

1,70,160

89,172

80,988

Urban

.

44,484

24,309

20,175

(b) Language

The spoken language of the district of Rupnagar includes two traditional dialects, Malwai and Powadhi. The dialect of the area lying north-west and west of Rupnagar adjacent to Ludhiana District is by and large Malwai, and that of the part lying south, south-east and east of Rupnagar adjacent to Ambala District (Harayana) is Powadhi,

The tract lying south of the river Satluj and south east of the United Satluj and Beas rivers is known as Malwa. It includes the districts of Ludhiana, Firozpur,, Faridkot, Bathinda and parts of the districts of Rupnagar and Patiala. The northern part of Malwa, the Powadh extends from that part of the Rupnagar District which lies near Satluj upto the Ghaggar Nadi in the east, which separates the states of Punjab and Haryana.

The spoken Malwai in Rupnagar District has its own local characteristic use of certain speech and idioms. There is an optional but free interchange of b (ph) and v
(th) sounds as bekh (t/y ) alternates with vekh ( t/y ) (see) and bich (ftu) alternates with vekh ( t/y ) (in). The final consonant is also not doubled like that of standard Majhi. Sometimes when i falls between two vowels,, it changes into a glide y. Thus a. ya instead of a: ia: (came); gaya instead of gaia (went). w ( t ) between two vowels is often changed to m ( w )

The homa: nga: (j'wkrK ) instead of hawa : nga: (j'tKrk) (I shall be) ; a:ma:nga: (nktKrk) (I shall come). In pronouns a:pa: n (nkgB) is used to mean 'we. It also means 'I' A: wda: (nktdk ) is used to mean of the standard Punjabi a: pna: (nkgDk) is also used. In other pronouns, t (s) is sometimes subsituted for s (;) Thus we find kit (fes ) for kis (fe; ) kam (ezw) (of what use). Sometimes sh (;a) is used instead of ch (S) Thus Kush (e[;) for kuch (e[S) 'anything'. At times ka: (ek) instead of da : (dk) 'of' for genitive is used as in panja : n dina : n ka : (gzik fdBK ek) of five days'. In the declensions of nouns, there is contraction of vic (ftZu) 'from within' to con (u'A) . Thus we find karo field respectively. At times villagers are fond of adding u : to words ending in a consonant. Thus ciru : (fuo') instead of cir (fuo) 'a space of time': ma : lu : (wb') instead of ma:1 (wkb) 'property'. There is an inversion of the aspirate in thuada (E[nkvk)for tuada (s[jkvk) 'your' and oda : (T[dk) for oda : (Udk) 'his'. the verb dena: (d/Dk) 'to give'makes the first person singular of its future as dema : nga: (d/wKrk) 'I shall give'.

The characteristics of the Powadhi dialect within the Rupnagar District are the pronunciation of vice (ftZu) as bice (fpu) 'in'; the insertion of an aspiration/tone in words like balad (pbd) 'ox'; the frequent dropping of the first syllable as in khu;con (y{ju'A) instead of khu : biccon (T[BK u'A) instead of 'unha ; n biccon (T[B{K ftZu') 'from among them' ; and frequent transposition of high tona as in unu : n (T[Bz{) for unu : n (UB{) A 'to him'; oda : (T[dk) for oda : (Udk) 'of him'; jera (i/VQk) for jera (i/jVk) 'who'. In certain cases, even the initial h (j) sound is replaced by tone as in neri : (B/oh) 'storm' from haneri : (jB/oh). The oblique forms of pronouns like minnu : n (fwB{z) 'to me'; ma : nu : n (wkjB{z) 'to us' : tinnu : n (fsB/) 'to you: thuanu : n E[nkB{z) 'to you' (pl) ; onu : n (T[jB{z) 'to him' etc. are characteristic of this area. Since the Powadh area of Rupnagar District lies on the border of Bangru speaking area, some influence of Bangru on its vocabulary is quit natural. Thus we find hamen ( ) 'we ' thamen ( ) 'you' (pl) the : ra : ( ) 'Yours alongwith asi: n ( ) tera : ( ) respectively; ma ( ) as locative postposition; ka ( ) ke ( ) ki: ( ) ki: an ( ) as postpositions of genitive , ets. These forms are more common with elderly folk. The postposition of accusative case is nu: n ( ) although ko ( )is also spoken in some parts in some parts of this district.

The consonant conjuncts are almost absent. The conjuncts which appear in words like pa: njs : ( ) 'sister's son' ; carda: ( ) 'East' , chipda: ( ) ' West', nambarda : 'headman', etc., are very loose clusters because in these fall in different syllables.

On the whole, the tone is the most conspicuous phonological phenomenon of the language of Rupnagar District. There are tones- high, level and low as in standard Punjabi. although Gurmukhi script has letters for these sounds. Multani dialects of Punjabi has these voiced aspirates intact.

A select list of words and phrases in common use in the area include ba :i ( )

'ploughing', barga : ( ) ' like ' jua:k ( ) ' child', ga:e ( ) ' cow', nia: ne ( ) 'children',vagda: ( ) ' following ( water) , a: va: tia: hoya :ya:,( ) cak nai: n hunda ( ) dubane te darda ( ) rakhde hunde the ( ) etc.

 

(c) Religion and Caste

Principal Communities

According to the 1981 Census, the total population of the district was 7,16,662. The Sikhs accounted for 56.58 per cent and the Hindus 41.83 per cent of the total population of the district. During the decade (1971-81), the Sikh population registered a growth rate of 31.99 per cent which is the second highest for any district in the State. The Hindu population, on the other hand, registered a growth rate of 26.43 per cent. The religion wise population of the district, according to the 1981 Census, was as under:

Religion

Males

Females

Total

Percentage to total population

Hindus

1,61,285

1,38,483

2,99,768

41.83

Muslims

4,187

3,470

7,657

1.07

Christians

680

601

1,281

0.18

Sikhs

2,17,564

1,87,926

4,05,490

56.58

Buddhists

3

2

5

N*

Jains

978

773

1,751

0.24

Other religions and persuasions

374

312

686

0.10

Religion not stated

16

8

24

N*

Total

3,85,087

3,31,575

7,16,662

100.00

 

(Census of India, 1981, Series 17, Punjab, Paper 1 of 1984, Household Population by Religion of Head of Household, pp. 4-5, and 28-31)

*N means negligible.

During the years since the last Gazetteer relating to the areas in Ropar District (Ambala District, 1923-24 and Hoshiarpur District, (1904), there have been major social and economic changes. Apart from an inevitable increase in the per capita incomes, both in rural and urban areas, the traditional systems of castes and communities have been substantially modified. While the groups comprising various castes still wish to marry within themselves, there is little rigidity as to the class of professions that the members of any caste or community eventually adopt. And even inter-caste and inter community marriages are becoming common. In so far as physical appearances go, the earlier distinctions between members of communities, as for example, Brahinms being more fair and even featured, or Jats being better built, are vanishing. The pressure of modern living forces people of all families to search for jobs for which they are suited by inclination and training, rather than adhere to family trades which had earlier been their only choice. Thus, among government servants would be found men from families of Brahmins, Khatris, Banians and Jat Sikhs and the business field would not be confined only to Banians as in the past. Of course, the government policy of reservation in employment whereby members of Scheduled Castes can claim 25 per cent of all vacancies and those belonging to certain specified Backward Classes can claim upto 5 per cent has brought these categories of persons into a non traditional area of employment. While the members of the various sub castes might still continue to dominate in their traditional fields, they are venturing in very large numbers to enter fresh areas. While we cannot state with assurance that the traditional caste system is actually breaking up, there are many visible cracks.

 

The Hindus. The number of Hindus in the district, according to the 1981 Census, was 2,99,768 (1,61,285 males and 1,38,483 females), which formed 41.83 per cent of the total population. They are mostly settled in towns. They also hold land in certain villages and are also engaged in cultivation. Most of the Scheduled Castes among the Hindus, settled in villages, work as tenants or agricultural labourers.

Hindus are divided into various groups, viz Brahimns, Khatris, Aroras, Banians, Suds, Rajputs, etc. These groups are further subdivided into castes and subcastes. The persons belonging to each group generally make matrimonial alliances within their own castes and sub castes. Although in recent years the caste system has gradually been getting relaxed, if still retains considerable hold, especially over rural society Inter caste marriages are, however, not so uncommon as a few decades back.

Brahmins

There are ten groups amongst Brahmins. Of these, the Sraswats Kankubjas, Gaurs, Utkals and Maithals are called Panjgaur, and the Darbara, Tailang, Maharashtras, Gurjars and Karnatakas are called Panjdarbaris, Brahmins in the district are mostly from Saraswat stock. The other section of the Brahmins who could be seen in the district are Gaur. However the distinctive identity of these groups has disappeared and they now marry into other groups.

The Brahmins in the district are engaged in public services, business, industry and agriculture. Some perform priestly duties- their hereditary profession. The number of those mainly engaged in priestly duties is, however, on the wane.

Khatris

The word Khatri is derived from the Sanskrit word Kshatriya. Like Brahmins, they are also divided into various groups and sub-groups such as Dhai Gharas, Char Gharas, Bara Gharas, Sarins, Banujais and Khukhrain. In short, they intermarry within the group or outside the group but within their subcastes like other Hindus. they are easily distinguishable by their peculiar dialect and dress. Avocations are no bar to them but rather a matter of convenience. They are engaged in trade, commerce, and industry, in private and government services and also join the army.

Aroras

Aroras are said to be Khatris of Aror modern Rori and Sukkar (Sindh) in Pakistan. However, the fact is that they resemble Khatris in certain traits. They are also divided into many groups and castes. They intermarry within those groups. They also intermarry among Khatris. By religion, the majority of the Aroras are Hindus, but a number are Sikhs also.

After the partition of the country in 1947, many Aroras who had migrated from Pakistan settled in the towns of the district. The Aroras are very active and enterprising, industrious and thrifty. They are engaged mainly in trade and industry. A number of them have also joined public and private services.

Suds

Suds are largely migrants from hilly tracts of Kangra District (Himachal Pradesh). They are engaged in trade, commerce and industry, private and government services, etc. and are also adept in business.

Banian

The word Banian is derived from the Sanskrit word banijya or trader. This is an essentialy commercial class which can be easily recognized. Their main sub castes are Aggarwals, Oswals, Mahesri, Saralia or Dasa. They trace their origin from Agroha in Hisar District, (Haryana) and claim to be the decendants of Raja Agarsen. Banians of all subcastes are to be found in the district.

Gujjars.- They are mostly Hindus and are found at the foot of the Shiwalik Hills. Their traditional occupation is cattle grazing and shifting agriculture. In summer, they migrate to the Chamba Hills and in winter retreat to the foot of the Shiwalik Range. With the shirkage of pastures, their gipsy character is disappearing day by day. They have also begun to settle in the plains.

There are Dhai gots of the Gujjars-kasna Gursi and Barkat, bu there is no restriction on marriage within there gots. However a Guhjjar can marry a got or in any other got.

Rajputs- They from a substantial portion of the population in the district. Most of them have migrated from Vijay Nagar (Rajasthan) and settled in the district. Among the larger villages where they are found Padiala, Kuriali, Sialba, Majri, Khizrabad, Chamkaur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib. Their main avocation is agriculture. Some of them are in Government service and some are transporters. They have little or no aptitude for trade and commerce. However, Namkgar (noongar) a sub-caste work in gardens. Rajputs are originally from the ruling classes of Rajput (now Rajasthan). They hold sway in the Kangra hills and in the loer Shiwaliks. They wielded great influence in the hilly tracts of the district. Their main got is Rathaur, Dhaiya and Ghorewala. They venerate the temple of Sati Kailam Devi situate in village Tajpura (Kharar Tehsil). However, purdah system is still observed by they women.

Sainis:- The word 'Saini' is the corrupted form of Sainis (wise). The majority of them reside in Rupnagar, Kharar and NurpurBEdi blocks of the district. They are mostly clean shaven. A very large number are Sikhs. Sainis are mostly engaged in trade and commerce, agriculture and service. Some of them are transporters. They are expert in vegetable growing. They are divided into many groups and sub-groups such as, Dhamat, Badwal, Bola, Gangiana, Kabadwal, etc.

 

The Sikhs:- According to the 1981 Census, the number of Sihs in the district was 4,05,490 (2,17,564 males and 1,87,926 females), which formed 56.58 per cent of the total population. They pay respect to their ten Gurus and their holy book is Adi Granth, that is, the Granth Sahib.

According to the Sikh faith, God is omnipresent and has no form or substance. The faith lays great emphasis on recitation of name- the constant repetition of any of the names of God. It also believes in immortality of soul and its transmigration. It demands meditation on God through name under the guidance of a Guru, Socially, Sikhism attaches much significance to the institution of langar (community meals) in which persons from all classes, high and low, sit and dine together. For initiation, every Sikh is required to receive pahul, a sacred ceremony, in order to become a 'Singh'. As part of his unique identity, a Sikh is enjoined to wear on his body 'the five K's', distinguishing physical items, namely, kes (unshorn hair) kachha (short drawers), Kangha (a comb), kara (an iron bangle) and kirpan (a sword).

The Sikh population also comprises khatri Sikhs, Arora Sikhs, Jat Sikhs and Mazhabi Sikhs. Khatri Sikhs are generally of the same subcastes as Hindu Khatris. they are generally engaged in trade and commerce and industry. A few of them also own land and a good number are in Government service. Arora Sikhs have settled mainly in the towns of the district. Their origin is also not different from that of Hindu Aroras. They are well-built, hard working, enterprising and intelligent. Most of them are engaged in trade and commerce, industry and service. The major proportion of the Sikhs in the district are the jats, who are mainly landowners and farmers. They belong to different gots (sub castes). Almost all the Jats trace their origin from the Rajputs. The Scheduled Castes converted as Sikhs are called Mazhabi Sikhs. They are engaged in petty jobs.

Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes.- The number of persons in the district belonging to the Scheduled Castes* according to 1981 Census was 1,74,729 (94,878 males and 79,851 females), which formed 24.38 per cent of the total population. They are divided in to various groups, sub-groups, castes and sub castes. A list of their castes alongwith their main professions has been given in Chapter XVII 'Other Social Services". For centuries, the members of the lower castes in India remained downtrodden and were treated as untouchables. After Independence, untouchability was made a penal offence, and the Government took various other steps to ameliorate their lot. The measures included reservation in educational institutions, jobs and legislative bodies, land allotment, liberal loans and grants. In orthodox Hindu society, the avocations of people from the lower castes were restricted. They are engaged in trade, commence, industry, private and Government services.

The Christians. According to 1981 Census, the number of Christians in the district was 1,281 (680 males and 601 females), which formed only 0.18 per cent of the total population. They are mostly concentrated in the town of Kharar. The converts ae mostly from the lower classes. There is a Church at Kharar. The important festivals among the Christians are as elsewhere in the world, New Year's Day, Easter, Good Fridays and Christians.

The Muslims.- According to 1981 Census, the number of Muslims in the district was 7,657 (4,187 males and 3,470 females), constituting only 1.07 per cent of the total population of the district. Islam teaches theism. Literally, it means submission to the will of God. It is held that the religion was revealed by God through Muhammad, His Prophet. The teachings are contained in the holy Koran.

 

The Muslims comprise two main groups, viz Sunni and Shia. Every Muslim is enjoined to say namaz (prayer) five times a day regularly. He is also required to observe roza (fast) in the month of Ramzan. Most of the Muslims reside in Kharar Tehsil of the district. Some of them work as artisans, tailors, cobblers, etc.

The Jains.- According to the 1981 Census, the number of Jains in the district was 1,751 (978 males and 773 females). They formed only 0.24 per cent of the total population of the district. They had twenty-four leaders called Tirathankaras. The first of these was Rishabha and the last was Mhavira, who was a senior contemporary of Lord Buddha (Sixth Century B.C.). They preach the doctrine of ahimsa (non-violence). Most of the Jains reside in Kharar and Rupnagar. They are strictly vegetarians. Some of them even abstain from taking garlic and onions. The orthodox among the Jains take their dinner before sunset, the rationale being to see that after dark a number of insects, attracted to the light, do not lose their lives.

(d) Social Life

There has been a radical change in the joint-family system a cultural heritage in India. The age-old system has not yet disappeared. The mode of family life in the region is however, still patriarchal. Generally, the family exhibits a limited joint-family system, particularly in rural areas. The persons coming to the towns from villages still retain some connection with their ancestral homes. They revert to their parental homes for the performance of important social and religious ceremonies. Similarly, a man belonging to an urban area and working elsewhere maintains his connections with his family in his home district. This arrangement continues until he becomes the head of a separate family after the marriage of his sons and daughters. The disintegration of large joint-family units may be attributed to the changing socio-economics factors, such as the variety of occupations, the high cost of living, migration etc.

Casteism in a mild form still persists. Although he practice of untouchability stands abolished by the Untouchability (Offences) Act, 1956, yet the people of the higher castes and groups do no mix freely with those from the lower castes. They, however, do not mind such free gatherings in public places, such as hotels, restaurants, cinemas, etc. and there is no obvious prejudice in educational institutions, where the members of different castes are indistinguishable from one another.

The old practice of observing purdah has almost disappeared amongst the Hindu and Sikh women in urban areas. In rural areas, the orthodox women still cling to purdah in a restricted form; but it is also disappearing with the rapid awakening and advance of education.

Despite the tremendous scientific progress and medical facilities, many people are still superstitious. Belief in sorcery still persists, even among some educated people. Quacks and exorcists are to be found in many rural areas and many rural areas and many people believe in omens.

(i) Property and inheritance.

The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 governs the inheritance of the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains. In accordance with the Act, the property of the deceased is inherited by his sons, daughters, widow and mother. However, during one's life time one may, by will or other testamentary disposition, dispose of any property, which is capable of being so disposed of by him in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, or any other law for the time being in force and applicable to a Hindu. In case a person dies intestate , his sons, daughters, widow and mother inherit the property equally. The Hindu adoption and maintenance Act, 1956, governs the adoption of the children and the maintenance allowance to the wife.

Muslims are governed by the Shariat Act, 1937. Under Islamic law, the son/sons, wife/wives and daughter/daughters inherit the property of the deceased. The wife is the sole owner of mehr given to her at the time of marriage

Inheritance among Christians is governed under the Indian Succession Act, 1925.

(ii) Common Social Ceremonies.

Marriage- Marriages amongst the Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, Jains and Christians are performed according to the customs prevalent in their respective communities. A civil marriage is performed under the Indian Civil Marriage Act, 1954. It is open to all communities and is performed in case of inter-caste or inter-religion marriage and often when both parties wish to avoid ostentation and ceremony.

Among the Hindus, marriages is considered as a religious obligation. Usually, the marriage is arranged by the parents. The parents of the girl approach the parents of the boy either directly or through a mediator. In urban areas, amongst educated classes, matrimonial alliances are also contracted through advertisements. After preliminary inquiries about the required particulars, the parties agree to the marriage. The father of the girl, accompanied by certain relations or friends, visits the house of the boy and offers money and sweets. This custom is called thaka or rakai. When the regular engagement takes place, the boy is given seven dry dates by the father of the girl along with money and sweets. Some clothes and ornaments are also sent by the boy's parents for the girl. After consulting the horoscopes of the boy and girl, the date of the wedding is fixed. A day before the date of the marriage, ladies sangeet (community music) is held, in which the women from amongst the relations, friends and neighbours participate. On the day of the marriage, an hour or so before the marriage party starts, the sehra badi ceremony is performed. The marriage party proceeds to the bride's house with pomp and show. The bridegroom rides a decorated mare at the head of the party. In recent years, bhangra (a folk dance) by friends of the groom has become a feature of the marriage procession. In front of the bride's house, the milni (reception) takes place among the relations of the bride and the groom. Gifts and money are given by the girls relations. The groom dismounts and the jaimala ceremony, that is, garlanding of the groom by the bride and vice versa takes place. The barat (marriage party) is cordially received and is served with sumptuous meals. At the appointed time at night, the ceremony of lawan or phere (circumambulating the holy fire by the bridegroom and the groom) is performed by the priest in the presence of relations of both parties. The next day (and at times on even the same day), the barat returns to the bridegrooms home with the bride. The bridegroom's mother receives the bride with shagun (blessings). In the bridegroom's house, certain ceremonies, such as taking the couple to temple, etc. are also performed. Ordinarily after staying a day or so with her inlaws, the bride returns briefly to her parent's house.

The marriage ceremony among the Sikhs is performed according to the Anand Karaj Act, 1909. The lawan are performed by taking four rounds of the Holy Granth to the chanting of a specific hymn. the bridegroom and the bride are required to receive the pahul or amrit before marriage. In certain cases, the condition is relaxed and amrit is taken after marriage.

The marriage ceremony of the Namdharis is very simple. The parents of the boy and girl settle the marriage, but the final approval of the Namdharis' Guru is essential. A Namdhari girl is generally married to a Namdhari. No dowry is allowed. The marriage ceremony of many couples is performed en-masse by the Guru. The prospective couples assemble in a big circle, duly bathed and robed in white. The handkerchiefs of each of the couples are knotted together, the lawan ceremony is performed by chanting hymns from the Granth Sahib. The distribution of prasad completes the wedding ceremony.

Marriage among the Muslims is a mutual contract and is called nikah. It is generally arranged by the parents of the girl and the boy through negotiations. The amount of mehr, which is explicitly the property of the bride, is settled. After the betrothal takes place at the bride's residence, the date of marriage is fixed. The marriage party proceeds to the bride's house where it s treated with special feast and nikah is performed. In the case of Sunni Muslims, the Vakil (agent) of the rbide obtains her conset in the presence of two witnesses and conveys it to the Vakil of the bridegroom who sanctifies the nikah. Among the Shia Muslims, consent of the bride-groom is obtained in the first instance.

Among the Christians, the marriage ceremony is performed in the Church by the priest. If a Christian whishes to marry outside his faith, usually the spouse must accept Christianity. After the ceremony, the friends and relations are served with a feast.

Widow Remarriage

Remarriage of widows amongst the Hindus and among Jains is still not common. Traditionally a man marrying a widow was considered to be of inferior status. The remarriage of a widow with her dewar (younger brother-in-law) in the villages by customary law chadarnadazi is, however, commonly practised among the Jats. Namdharis also plead for widow remarriage. Muslims, however, do not fvour widow remarriage.

 

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