In a well-lit room, an elderly couple carefully leafs through neat files, jotting down informa tion from time to time.They look closely at each page, studying the photographs in them. It’s serious business, looking for suitable matches for their children.And helping them bypass tricky matchmakers and costly middlemen is Du-BaDu (Face to Face), a free matrimonial service. Initiated 10 years ago by Urdu daily Siasat’s social wing, Minority Development Forum, the programme has revolutionized the matrimonial scene in Old City. Earlier, Muslim families were entirely dependent on matchmakers to find suitable spouses. These middlemen not only levied fees for each prospective `find’, they also created problems by exaggerating the qualifications, financial prowess or beauty of the brides and grooms.
It was to save parents from running pillar to post that DuBa-Du launched its service from the Siasat building on Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Abids. “We began it a decade ago and so far, at least 10,000 boys and girls have got married through this initiative,“ said Zahid Ali Khan, Siasat’s editor-in-chief and chief patron of Du-Ba-Du.
The organizers also wanted to reduce the financial burden on families by providing an alternative to the traditional process in which expensive weddings and gifts are the norm. “Reports of parents getting cheated by matchmakers disturbed us. But what worried us more were the extravagant receptions that many parents were forced to throw. There were demands for more than two varieties of biryani for baratis. It left several families bankrupt and acted as a hurdle for several unmarried girls in the community,“ said Zahid Ali Khan.
Du-Ba-Du simplifies the entire process. Through advertisement in Siasat, parents are asked to submit resumes with photographs of their children. The organizers maintain a separate file for divorcees, widows and widow ers. A boy or girl visiting the office to view the files must be accompanied by parents or elder siblings. “We don’t encourage single men seeking information. This is to avoid any chance of girls being harassed by strangers posing as suitors,“ said M A Qadeer, organizing president of DuBa-Du.
Once families are satisfied with a suitable match, they fix meetings. To facilitate this, organizers regu larly conduct Du-Ba-Du sessions, in which parents sit across the table, exchange information and, if happy , fix a wedding date. “In these meetings, dowry and demands for expensive clothes and food are strictly not allowed. Low-cost wedding is our motto,“ said Aamir Ali Khan, Zahid Khan’s son.
Since its launch, the initiative has helped many people like Amina Begum, who is looking for a match for her younger sister. “A decade ago, I got married with help from this centre. I got information about the man I married from there. I’m sure I’ll find a good match for my sister too,“ she said.
Mohammed Jaffer, a retired bank employee, also finds the service a major help. “We don’t trust matchmakers any more. We spent thousands of rupees in fees but were not able to find a suitable boy for our daughter. We hope this centre will help us,“ he said.
Courtesy: Times Of India