It is the groom who bears all expenses of his marriage
Many of our laws meant for removal of anomalies in society seem irrelevant in the tribal ethos in Adilabad district. Anti-dowry provisions, for example, cannot be exercised on Gond and Kolam men, who are constrained in accepting ‘katnam' or dowry which may lead to domestic violence.
It is in April and May when the primitive Gond and Kolam communities organise marriages for their youth that some of the related cultural aspects get exposed. These aspects are nothing if not progressive in nature even by modern standards.
“The entire cost of the wedding is borne by the side of the bridegroom,” says Sidam Kaniram, a Kolam elder from Sungapur village in Jainoor mandal, as he begins to relate about tribal marriages to The Hindu on Monday. “Half the cost of its own travel however, is borne by the bride's party,” he adds.
As weddings are usually solemnised at the bridegroom's place, he needs to invite the bride to his village a day before the marriage. He has to organise a grand luncheon at the village of his would-be wife before taking her away.
The tribal people had evidently taken care of important factors like poverty in order to reduce its influence on a marriage. The family of the bride bears the expenses of the wedding when the groom cannot afford to do so.
“In such cases, the marriage takes place at the home of the bride. Nevertheless, the groom has to repay all the expenses by contributing his mite in his wife's family income,” reveals Mr. Kaniram, who has married his daughter Drupatabai under these conditions.
Kaniram's son-in-law will now become a member of his family until the debts incurred by the former are repaid to the local moneylender. “The period of stay could extend even up to two years,” he says.
Community contribution in tribal weddings also extends to the music associated with these events. Groups of tribal youth enliven the atmosphere as they sing and dance all through the night without expecting even a meal from the bride's family.