Weddings, especially the big fat kinds in India, are not just about legalising love. They’re also a way for families to display their party planning capabilities, for brides to show off their shiny new lehengas and for the guests to stuff their faces at the free-flowing buffet. But in an unusual development in Madhya Pradesh, brides and grooms aren’t just flexing their eternal love or fancy wardrobes, but also their toilets.
Pre-wedding toilet selfies are becoming all the rage in Madhya Pradesh. This is because of the state’s Mukhya Mantri Kanya Vivah/Nikah scheme for the economically backward sections of the society, in which the bride is given Rs 51,000 by the government if she can prove that her to-be husband has a toilet in his house.
Under the Swacch Bharat scheme, the government is on a mission to ensure everyone has proper loos in their homes to curb people from pissing in public places. But because they can't physically go and verify each and every facility, they’ve made it mandatory for the groom to show a selfie while standing in the toilet in order to apply for the scheme to aide weddings. Exactly the kind of wedding photographs you want on your big day.
"Imagine a marriage certificate, attached with the photograph of the groom in the toilet. I was told that the Qazi (religious judge) will not read the Nikah unless I provide the photograph,” an anonymous source, who got married at a mass wedding in the city of Bhopal, told the Times of India (TOI).
While many grooms find this practice embarrassing, others point out that it’s for the greater good. "The idea of grooms being required to prove they have a toilet before marrying is not a bad thing. The social justice department has not issued any such directive. The implementation of the policy can be better," JN Kansotiya, principal secretary of the department of social justice and disabled welfare, told TOI.
While the scheme requiring grooms to have a toilet has been in place since 2013, the requirement of a toilet selfie is a new clause, along with grooms no longer being given 30 days to construct the toilet before their weddings.
Still, others argue that this scheme is a total shit show for the grooms. “We understand that toilets are an intrinsic part of Swachh Bharat mission, but the process could be better,” Rafiq Qureshi, a municipal corporator and local Congress leader said.
As much as this ritual flushes romance down the toilet, at least it’s inspiring people to clean up after themselves.
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