Dowry, jahaiz in Urdu, is a tradition in Pakistan and India that has ruined numerous relationships and marriages. Parents borrow staggering amounts of loans just to satisfy the greed of their daughter’s in-laws and to ensure that she is not taunted after marriage. As evil as this tradition may be, almost all families, irrespective of their place on the social ladder, follow it.
Sadly, these warped expectations from a girl’s parents do not end here. Recently, one of my friends asked me if I had ever heard of a tradition called chuchak. She told me she was making a shopping list for her upcoming baby and her mother-in-law remarked,
“What do you need this list for? In our family the girls’ parents bring everything for the first baby. This is called chuchak; it is the baby’s dowry.”
Since that day her mother-in-law was always saying things like,
“I gave this and that to my daughter in chuchak.”
Similar to jahaiz, the girl’s parents give the in-laws all the belongings needed for a new born child and the husband (along with his parents) do not bear the expenses at all.
She and her husband both earn well, so she refused to ask her parents. She said her dowry was enough for her in-laws to not expect a dowry for the baby as well.