If there’s one thing that dislodges Indians into a fit of fervent celebrations and an extravagant display of rituals, it is the prospect of a wedding. Sometimes, this soaring excitement spells out strange practices and customs. Then there's also photography, an intimate chronicle of the loud, colourful moments: from the poignant to the embarrassing, from staged to candid. And while many may contest that that there is no such thing as a “bad wedding shoot” -- and no wedding without one – the grooms and brides of Madhya Pradesh might disagree.
According to a new diktat, the government officials in the state have begun demanding proof that the groom-to-be has a toilet in his house if the bride is to avail Rs 51,000 under the Mukhya Mantri Kanya Vivah/ Nikha scheme, The Times of India reported.
Since it’s practically impossible for officials to hop from one house to another, checking loos everywhere, they demand a #selfie-standing-in-toilet from the groom. The only respite here, perhaps, is that one thankfully doesn’t have to take the photograph in their wedding outfit.
The embarrassing wedding custom, however, is not just confined to the rural pockets of MP. In the state capital, Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials make the same demand.
"The idea of grooms being required to prove they have a toilet before marrying is not a bad thing. The social justice department has not issued any such directive. The implementation of the policy can be better," J N Kansotiya, principal secretary of department of social justice and disabled welfare, was quoted as saying by TOI.
According to him the toilet clause has been a part of the scheme since its inception in 2013, but the photographic evidence is a recent addition.
Earlier, there was a relaxation in the policy and grooms were given 30 days to build a toilet before their wedding. “That has been done away with”, a BMC official was quoted as saying. “There is nothing wrong in attaching a photo of the groom in his toilet. It is not part of the wedding card,” he said.
However, many believe that the bizarre practice unfavorably puts the groom at the receiving end. “We understand that toilets are an intrinsic part of Swachh Bharat mission, but the process could be better,” Rafiq Qureshi, a BMC corporator and local Congress leader was quoted as saying.
Politicians on both sides, too, admit that grooms are left in an embarrassing position because of this cleanup mission, and wish there was a more graceful way of asking them to prove they have toilets.
The Mukhya Mantri Kanya Vivah/Nikah Scheme is for economically backward sections. On December 18 last year, only a day after coming to power, the Congress government had hiked the financial assistance from Rs28,000 to Rs51,000. It led to flood of applications, making it difficult for officials to assess each house for toilets