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16 June 2013

The kidnapped Bachelor of Bihar...

I love this story. This was told to me by a Bihari friend of mine....

These are the kind of stories that make India, India. This is why India is so different from the rest of the world. 

For those of you, my dear readers, who are reading this from outside India (every time I told this story to a non-Indian friend of mine, this story has evoked emotions ranging from laughter to incredulity, like 'It is not possible', to dubiousness 'How can this happen' etc), Bihar is one of the States of India and the people of Bihar are called 'Biharis'. The state lies in the northern part of our country and over a period of time, has come to be known as one of our poorer states with a workforce with extra-ordinary capability to work (and that is the conundrum that is India, people have extra-ordinary capability to work, but the state is one of the poorest. That is us)

Kidnapping is (used to be, at least) a big business in Bihar. Rich people and their kids used to get kidnapped for ransom, people used to get kidnapped for revenge etc..

One key form of kidnapping that parts of Bihar specialized in was to kidnap young eligible male bachelors to get married to the daughters of the kidnappers. These kidnappers will kidnap these boys and get them to marry their daughters at gun point. It is expected that once married, the couple will live happily ever after !!!

And they do live happily ever after. That is the beauty of the system.

My friend told me the story of one  such kidnapping where a smart boy was kidnapped to be married to the daughter of the kidnapper.

In this specific case of kidnapping, the kidnapper himself was a rich person (normally the kidnappers are lower or equal in status to the family of the kidnappee  (I use my artistic privilege to create this new word). a kidnapper of higher social strata kidnapping a boy who belongs to lower social strata is unthinkable), with lots of land and cash and he had a daughter of marriageable age. This boy was tall, fair and was studying in the final year of Chemical Engineering in a local Engineering College. With good looks and good education, this boy was a prime catch.

And he was kidnapped one fine afternoon, from in front of his hostel.

Usually once the kidnapping event is complete, the rest happens very quickly. The boy is taken to the Kidnapper's place, the family are all waiting and ready (This is all planned well in advance. You see, the marriage ceremony has to happen at an auspicious time on a specific day, so the planning of all activities, including kidnapping has to be perfect). And by evening the marriage ceremony is over.

So the boy was taken to the kidnapper's home. Having known the culture of kidnapping, he knew and was reconciled to the fact that he was going to be married that day. During the day, while he was in captivity, the boy had got an opportunity to interact with the whole Cabal. He had opportunity to see his would be bride and her cousin, the daughter of the younger brother of the kidnapper. He saw that the cousin of the same age as his would be bride,  was much more prettier. 

By evening the priest, the family and the whole gang was present and the boy was brought to the altar. There was the family of the proud Kidnapper - his wife, his daughter who was to be married that evening, his parents,  his gun totting henchmen, the kidnapper's younger brother and his wife, daughter, son, his gun-totting henchmen....

The ceremony was under way and the auspicious time had arrived. Now was the time to apply 'Sindhoor' on the 'Maang' of the bride...

The boy took the 'Sindhoor' in his hand...

In a flash of an eye, he jumped up, and applied the Sindhoor, not on the girl whom he was to marry, but on the forehead of the Cousin...

All happened in a flash. The cousin, having been applied 'Sindhoor' on the 'Maang' by the boy, had become his wife.

(As you know, we in India have what is known as 'arranged' marriage. The families of boys and girls will decide that the couple will get married, and they marry, thats it. Marriage is solemnized when the boy applies vermilion on the forehead of the girl at an auspicious time. It is called 'Maang (forehead) main Sindhoor (Vermillion) dalna (Apply)'.
You get the drift. The families decide who the boy and girl will marry, the boy applies vermillion on girl's forehead and boom....they are married.
'Maang main Sindoor dalna' is a big deal in India..)

As you can expect, commotion and chaos...

The guns were out. The enraged kidnapper, who had put in all the efforts in kidnapping the boy to get married to his daughter, took out his gun...

But, there were wheels within wheels...

By applying the Sindhoor on the Maang of his daughter, the boy has now become a key member of the family of the kidnapper's brother. So the henchmen of the brother took the guns against the henchmen of the kidnapper...

Things were getting ugly...

The seniors took over. They agreed that on an auspicious day and auspicious time, the boy had applied Sindhoor on the Maang of the cousin and by the definition of marriage that existed, she was the rightful wife of the boy. 

The dust settled, the ceremony went on with a sulking kidnapper and his family having to watch a hard fought  catch slipping out of their hands...

The boy was married to the girl...

And they lived happily ever after...

This is India.

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