He runs mobile matrimonial service to help poor Muslims

Shahid Farooqui interacting with a couple of parents in Hyderabad. Mohammed Aleemuddin

His old scooter with slight modifications and “Match well Marriage Links Home Service” and his mobile number painted in black and white on the front and rear of the scooter is good enough to attract prospective brides, bridegroo­ms and their parents.

Farooqui, a native of the Chandra­yangutta area of the walled city, wanted to do something for the poor in the highly religious and traditional Muslim community, which seldom ventures out to seek help of a matrimonial firm or  consultant unlike other communities in the new city, popularly known as Cyberabad. The gullible poor families of the old city often fall prey to Arab Sheiks, who want quick-fix contract marriages with the help of local touts. They leave the poor girls to their fate and take the earliest flight to their countries.

Farooqui wanted to do something for the unreached. He wanted to create awareness among the public about marriage links as a safer bet. Farooqui who used to earn a living by working in hotels and distributing newspapers, decided to become a match maker. 

He modified his scooter to match his needs. Boot space and front box contain application forms and details of hundreds of prospective unmarried boys and girls only from the minority community. He categorises broadly into educated and uneducated other than sex and age. His business hours are almost 12 hours--starting from 11am and goes up to 11pm round the year.

“I park my scooter mostly outside Irani hotels (favourite spots for many in the city for drinking tea and biscuits) and wait. People notice and gather around me for details of available match. I show them photographs of people already registered with me along with details. It's up to them to take it further or leave it,” Farooqui told Deccan Herald.

Farooqui’s services are free for the poor. However, he is not averse if someone is ready pay for his services. The satisfied customers sometimes pay him anywhere between Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000. Looking at the increasing number of arranged marriages by Arab Sheiks in old city, Farooqui is very keen on verifying the antecedents of the applicant by physically verifying the details provided by them in his application for.

“I only match the profile of prospective grooms with girls and their requirements. My work ends there. I won’t take care of other things like arranging Nikah and all,” he said. Farooqui proudly disclosed that he was instrumental in the happy weddings of around a thousand couples in the past four years. “They are happy by the grace of Allah, otherwise I would have been taken to task by the parents,” he pointed out.

“His services are handy, mobile and free. Parents who are afraid of giving away photographs of their daughters to unknown persons also believe him as he is a local man and everyone knows his home in Chandrayangutta,” said Mohammad Idris, a local tea
powder merchant near Lal Darwaza. “You can also call Farooqui over the phone or stop him on his way. He is happy to help us,” says yet another parent near Charminar. D Roshan Kumar, President of COVA (Confederation of Voluntary Associations). a national network of voluntary organisati­ons located in the old city  and works with the local communities particularly the poor, said “Faroo­qui is a local man, he knows each and every person in the community, there by ruling out any foul play by the touts.”

The NGO that works with  the minority and majority communities in the old city is happy as many of the riot victims from both Hyderabad and Gujarat also found a friend in match maker Farooqui.

COVA Joint secretary S Faizunnisa opines that the mainstream matrimonial firms are not catering to the needs of the poor and there is a heavy price tag attached to their services. “But our match maker provides free service that too at your door steps,” she added.

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