Two recent high-profile wedding celebrations have brought the extravagance that is “big fat Indian wedding” to the world’s attention. With the West showing its disbelief at how lavish, oh and also wasteful, Indian weddings are, it feels like it is time to draw the line at our excesses when it comes to celebrating nuptials. At least the Supreme Court of India seems to agree with this, because it has expressed concern over wastage of food and misutilisation of water in marriage functions. The Hindustan Times reports that in response to this, the Delhi government has informed the Supreme Court that it is contemplating a policy to “limit” the number of guests at weddings and institutionalise catering arrangements to check food wastage at such functions.
- With the West showing its disbelief at how lavish and wasteful, Indian weddings are, it feels like it is time to limit our excesses.
- The showmanship and grandeur at Indian weddings only keep getting worse with each passing year.
- The wastage of these resources like food, water and electricity at Indian weddings which is of utmost concern.
- No one has the right to waste common and limited resources out of indulgence.
Honestly, this was long overdue. We should have stopped the revolving stages for varmala and crane supported entries for the bride and groom. We have seen horrendous videos of such antiques gone wrong, often resulting in serious injuries and even deaths. Yet, the showmanship and grandeur at Indian weddings only keep getting worse with each passing year. We have all been indulgent and defended such practices in the name of rituals.
We need to stop and access the irreversible damage to nature that we leave in wake of each wedding season in India.
I must make it clear that I am not going to talk about expensive clothes or jewellery here. Or the latest trend of making quality wedding videos, complete with exotic locations and drone cameras. It’s your money, so you can spend it any way you want. Besides, the definition of unnecessary expenses is subjective to one’s economic condition. Getting a designer lehenga may be unnecessary and indulgent for many who cannot afford or have different priorities. Similarly, sending out expensive invites or return gifts, the cost of which could fund college education for a kid, may come across as lavish to others.
But this is not about money. This is about the things which belong to the entire humanity and just an individual. Limited resources like food, water and electricity. It is wastage of these resources at Indian weddings which is of utmost concern. Have brides and grooms ever question the kind of dent caused to limited resources like electricity their fancy entries incur? Do parents ever wonder what happens to all the surplus food which they order for various functions? Does it rot and land in the garbage? Unusable for those in need? Quite certainly it does. Hence wasting grains and vegetables and whatnot, which could have been put to a better use than landing in a landfill, is unjustifiable.
Recycling and management of waste is yet another problem which both organisers and families tend to ignore.
The remains of their opulence are not their concern and perhaps this ignorance is why the SC has to step in today. If there is indeed a cap on the number of guests attending a wedding and monitoring of food waste, a major chunk of affluent citizens will oppose fervently. This is because there is simply no awareness among the common population about wastage of resources. These are the very people who would rather burst crackers to pamper wounded sentiments, than care for the well-being of their own children and elderly.
A ban only makes matters worse in our country, this we have learned whilst choking during the last festive season.
So before they begin implementing bans, the authorities need to bring the toxic side effects of opulence in the notice of the general public. Also, we must discourage glamorisation of opulent weddings and the grand display of power and wealth. The only reason why people go out of their way in arranging weddings is it earns them social status and page three mentions. Once their efforts begin to go unnoticed and they begin earning flak instead or praises for lavish sound, light and water displays and gourmet food literally falling off counters, perhaps people will learn to draw the line.
Please stop fawning over lavish bridal entries, or reception stages lit like a galaxy. It is costing all of us a lot of electricity. Those limitless hors d’oeuvre circulating on silver trays are going to end in bins, when unconsumed. No matter if expensive or cheap ingredients were used to make them, eventually food and water wastage is just that – wastage.
There is a difference in spending and wastage. While you can spend the money as you like, no one has the right to waste common and limited resources out of indulgence.
Pic by MyAdvo.in
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.