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Matrimonial site a hit with Kashmiri community

Zulfikar Majid, Feb 22, 2015, DHNS 0:27 IST

Managers claim to make through check of registered people

A screen shot of website.
Internet is rapidly spreading its base in the conflict-ridden Kashmir Valley in the last few years. Taking advantage of it, a few professional have quietly managed to launch a matrimonial site helping men and women in a conservative society.
KashmirNikah.com, the first online matrimonial service, caters exclusively to the Kashmiri community. It is the collective indigenous effort of a group of Kashmiri professionals. The idea was first proposed by Abdur Rauf, an engineer, in 2011 when he was pursing B.Tech from NIT, Srinagar.

He discussed it with his friends and like-minded people to form a team, who then together worked for designing the website. Other members of the team include Malik Tariq, Muhammad Banday, (US-based Non-Resident Kashmiri), Saba Bhat and Junaid Shah (an IT professional), Basharat Aiyaz, a businessman).

Besides, the team has hired staff who take care of every operational aspect of website and provide customer care services. “It’s one stop destination for Kashmiri brides and grooms where they or their families can register search and choose a suitable life partner,” the website head Abdur Rauf told Deccan Herald.

“Marriage in general and match-making in particular has become a complex process in our society. It has also become a time-consuming and costly affair, leading to an unhealthy trend of late marriages. With our personal experience, we got motivated to come up with a convenient and cost-effective practical solution to this issue, keeping in view cultural
sensitivities of Kashmir,” he said.

Rauf believes that with internet and other technologies, present day world is more open and people are mature enough to know how to deal without need of any middleman to speak on their behalf.

However, he accepts that most of the Kashmiri Muslims feel uncomfortable about admitting they surf matrimonial sites. “Authenticity of profiles and privacy issues are main concerns. We perform rigorous validation of all registered profiles. They are manually scrutinised and verified against identity proofs provided by users. Besides, we perform telephonic verification of registered users on their contact numbers,” Rauf said.

Asked what was the idea behind starting this venture, he said, “Our mission is to make marriages easy and we just want to provide a convenient alternative. We are overwhelmed by the positive response of the people and are sure that very soon we would be the most preferred mode of match making opted by Kashmiris.”

Waheed Ahmad, a tax consultant working in a multinational company in Hyderabad, availed the services of KashmirNikah.com to get married.“I saw an advertisement of the site on Facebook and I clicked on it. After a cursory look I registered myself and within a month I got interested in some profiles on the site.

I shared the idea with my parents back home but they were not that much interested. However, after I made them understand they contacted parents of one of the girls and subsequently both families liked each other and the marriage was finalised,” Ahmad told Deccan Herald.

He said that it would have been difficult for him to go for the marriage through traditional matchmakers. “As I was working outside I hardly had anytime to come to Kashmir and spend time on finding a life partner. My message to Kashmiri youth, especially those working outside, is it is a very good and decent option,” Ahmad added.

Mehmooda Begum, whose daughter is one of the few people who have got married while availing the online matrimonial service, says that after two years of search through traditional matchmakers for a groom for her daughter she was exhausted.
“One day my son told me about KashmirNikah.com. I didn’t like the idea but he motivated me to upload the profile of my daughter on the website. Within a few days some families contacted us and finally my husband and son after verifying the antecedents of one of the families, finalised my daughter’s marriage there,” she said.

However, Begum admitted that she couldn’t tell it to her relatives that the marriage was finalised through a matrimonial site. “We live in a conservative society and people would have started making stories if we had revealed that the marriage was finalised online,” she said.

“My son-in-law is a businessman and my daughter is working in government sector. There was no dowry, no customs, nothing. I want my son also to get married through this service. It saves time and you don’t have to go for wasteful expenditure and hassles,” she added.

Kashmir’s renowned sociologist Prof Bashir Ahmad Dabla says getting married through online matrimonial sites is a strong trend emerging in Kashmir. “A lot of Kashmiri boys are working in multinational companies. They can’t come here to find a match as they don’t have time. It is a good beginning for them,” he said.

“We have a sizeable population of educated girls in Kashmir who are without jobs. They hardly get good match and for them boys settled outside Kashmir are the best options. Boys who are settled outside want unemployed girls so that they can take them along,” he said.

Asked whether conservative Kashmiri society will accept such a concept, Prof Dabla said: “The traditional matchmaking practice is time- consuming, costly and a hectic affair. Besides, for new generation traditional matchmaker is a stranger and not convenient enough. Yes, it has worked well for long, but in present times when leisure is not a common luxury, this conventional way for finding life partner may not be the best one.

“That class of society will avail of such services which is educated and has exposure. The online matrimonial service can only be used to collect the information and then the families can verify the facts keeping the traditions intact.” He said complexities of problems will increase day by day in Kashmir and getting married through online site has bright future.

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