Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Redhakhol (Sambalpur), June 1:
Everything was in perfect order band, baaza and baaraat; the wedding feast was over; the ritual of hasta ganthi (tying of one hand of the bride with that of the groom by the priest in a Hindu Odia marriage by the priest symbolizing tying of the nuptial knot) was on. And then the unthinkable happened. In a rare feat, the bride refused to marry the groom who was insistent on his demand for a gold chain in addition other articles promised as dowry.
The young woman has earned admiration among the conscious masses for her daring act while the groom has been condemned by one and all.
While an Odia young woman created waves in neighbouring Chhattisgarh for showing courage by turning down her marriage to a drunkard, the Redhakhol incident is being seen as a repeat act.
The marriage between Babita, daughter of Bhimsen Nepak of Rathasahi in Redhakhol with Saroj, son of Somanath Sahu of Baijamunda near Gosala, was scheduled for Sunday. The baaraat (friends and relatives accompanying the groom to the bride’s place) party arrived with pomp and show and the wedding feast for the guests held at the Ratha Sahi Ram Mandir was over.
Everything was in perfect order. The marriage rituals went apace; even the hasta ganthi was in progress and the bride’s parents presented the groom with a gold ring and Rs 50,000 in cash as dowry at the bedi (altar where Hindu marriages are solemnized).
The groom and men by his side suddenly insisted on a gold chain as gift from the bride’s side. As the bride’s parents expressed their inability to give one, the groom’s side threatened to quit the marriage ceremony midway. People present at the marriage tried to reason out with them but failed as they remained adamant in their demand.
As arguments between both sides continued, the bride gathered courage and told the groom that she doesn’t want to spoil her life by marrying a person who is greedy for dowry.
Following a complaint by the bride’s father with the police in this regard, the police arrested the groom Saroj Sahu, his brother Sanjay Sahu and sister Sorojini Panda and is investigating the case.