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Simpler and cheaper Weddings, Really?

Santhosh Ramdoss
20th Apr 2011
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Weddings in India are usually an extravagant affair. Even among the poor, many households save years of income to prepare for a marriage in the family. The problem also reinforces the gender discrimination already prevalent in the country since it is traditionally expected that the girl’s family pay for the wedding.

Any movement that can help make weddings simpler and cheaper can mean a huge difference. It would also save resources, given that a lot of food goes waste in any weddings in a country where millions of people go to bed hungry, every night.

So, is a government law to restrict the number of dishes in weddings the right approach to address the problem? At least that is what folks at National Advisory Council (a policy advocacy body) seem to think (Full story here):

On the menu at the meeting were proposals to restrict the number of dishes served at weddings. There were suggestions to draw lessons from Pakistan, where it appears there are restrictions on serving more than one dish at marriages and similar social gatherings.
There was another suggestion: weddings should not be as event-filled as some have become. If the food and consumer affairs ministry were to accept the recommendations, mehndis, sangeet, cocktail parties and receptions could be crunched into one.

Its unclear if this is a simple and elegant solution as it sounds to be. There could be other entrepreneurial approaches to address the problem of food wastage. There could be a more structural solution for the Government or a social enterprise to gather food that might go waste and feed the hungry and the homeless to food banks.

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