Tragic legacy of Arab men and Hyderabadi women

Hyderabad, September 01: They are the tragic legacy of Arab men and Hyderabadi women. Born to such marriages, they are returned to Hyderabad and abandoned, sometimes alone, sometimes with their mothers.

In some cases, they have been abandoned in the Gulf countries itself. At least 100 such children are said to be languishing either in the Gulf or in Hyderabad, having been foresaken both by their ‘mother’ city as well as the city of their birth.

More tragic than the plight of the offsprings is that of the mothers, many of whom have simply gone missing. Here is an example. “My father Mohammed Abdur Rahman Hassan Al-Ali who lived in Ras Al-Khaima performed nikah (marriage) 24 years ago with my mother Zehra Begum. After the marriage, I that is Ahmed Abdur Rahman Hassan Zareef Al-Ali and my sister Mona Abdur Rahman Hassan Zareef Al-Ali were born to our mother. I am in search of my mother. If anybody has any knowledge about her whereabouts, please inform on the following address,” said a prominently displayed advertisement in an Urdu daily recently.

Ahmed had come looking for his mother to Hyderabad with his half-brother. He was able to meet some of the relatives of Zehra Begum, but they too did not have any clue about her. However, they believed that she is alive. “She was hurt when her husband abandoned her,” they reportedly told Ahmed who later left Hyderabad empty handed.

In the advertisement, Ahmed had given the local address of 71-year-old Awad Abdullah Al-Amri, representative of the Mumbai-based UAE Consulate in Hyderabad, in the hope that someone would come up with information about his mother after he returned to the Gulf.

The UAE government is too pitching its bit in tracing the children born to their nationalities. But so far, not many have been traced and if done so, are in a sorry plight. Al Amri is reluctant to tell how Ahmed and her sister got separated from their mother. “I can’t talk to you about them”, he says and adds, “however, such stories of separation are not uncommon.”

Hyderabad’s matrimonial connection with the Arabs that was first established in 1970s had brought happiness for some families and distress for many others. The Hyderabadi girls had gained the reputation in Gulf states of making good second wives. Most of the marriages were between aged Arabs and poor young girls.

Many such alliances survived and flourished with brides sending home money and arranging jobs for close relatives in the Gulf. The socio-economic status of such families changed encouraging many other poor parents to give away their daughters in marriage to the Arabs.

There was also twist in the happy story. Reports started pouring in that several Arabs are ditching their brides of few weeks and going away to their home states. Some of them didn’t even leave their correct addresses. Such wives gave birth to children who didn’t get a chance to see their fathers.

There were also instances where the brides were divorced and sent away from UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain or Oman to Hyderabad, sometimes with one or more children.

According sources there could be several children born to mothers deserted by their Arab husbands. These marriages (between city girls and Arab men) have thrown up serious social issues while underpinning the poverty of Muslims here. Unfortunately, there is no mechanism to take care of any such issue, Syed Abdul Majeed of Mughalpura laments.