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Breaking tradition – Kerala groom gives 100 books as ‘Mehr’

KOLLAM:  24-year-old Ajna Nazim wasn’t a regular bride on 29 December 2019. While majority long for gold or cash, this Keralite bookworm bride demanded books from groom Ijas Hakim as ‘Mehr’. (When marriage vows are recited husband gives his wife a gift which is known as “Haq Mehr”)

Ajna prepared a list of books she needed and gave it
to Ijas, who after adding his own favourites in the list got her 100 books that
included a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, Bible and Quran which he gifted her on
their wedding day, surprising the guests.

Impressed and pleasantly surprised by his fiancee’s
wishlist, Ijas set out on a mission to get all the books by the wedding. “It
was obviously a task to get all of these books. However, I managed to get
almost 96 books by our wedding day,” says Ijas. The couple got married on
December 29. Three weeks down the line, Ajna’s bookshelf now has 99 books. The
100th book, Constitution of India is on its way.

Ajna Nazim with her ‘Mehr’

Ijas, a resident of Poredom in Kollam district and civil engineer works in Madavoor grama panchayat in Thiruvananthapuram, and Ajna of Chadayamangalam, a B.Ed student in a college in Kollam town, got married at Nilamel. Their decision to celebrate this day uniquely is now making rounds on social media with people applauding their idea to buck the age-old Muslim wedding tradition of giving mehr.

Despite stiff opposition from their relatives and
friends about the decision, the couple succeeded in going ahead with their
decision due to their parents’ support. 

“At first, when everyone around us learnt about our
decision, they doubted that ours was a love marriage as these things are common
in such cases. But, it is purely an arranged marriage fixed by our parents. And
like many couples, when we started talking to each other after our engagement,
she told me that she loves reading books and wishes to get books as mehr which
I immediately accepted,” said the groom. “As we informed our parents regarding
this, they too agreed without any second thought,” he added.

The couple has also set up a huge bookshelf inside
their bedroom now. “We try our best to dedicate a fixed amount of time to
reading books. We will also be gifting more books to our friends and
relatives,” says Ijas.

Ajna and Ijaz has just gotten back to their home in
Thiruvananthapuram, after attending the Kerala Literature Festival in Kozhikode
“This was our first trip together.  I hope we get to attend more
literary events soon together,” says Ijas.

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