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Demand for Gulf Malayalee grooms wanes in India

Preeti Kannan (Our staff reporter)
Filed on December 30, 2007

DUBAI — The Gulf Malayalee groom is no more considered a ‘catch’ by Malayalee brides in India. Instead, the sought-after grooms today are those settled in the United States, the United Kingdom, and even in India, unlike earlier days when finding a Malayalee groom in the UAE or other parts of the Gulf, was equivalent to striking gold.

Marriage bureaus, based in the UAE, also sense reluctance among families to get their daughters married here and say the awareness of the situation here has increased.

An official from a popular matrimony web site in Dubai, who didn’t want to be named, observed, “The Gulf parties are not so popular today. Long years of separation from the husband and the hardships borne by the family and their children over generations are reasons why preferences have changed. Girls with professional backgrounds prefer Malayalees in the UK, the US and even those settled in Indian metros like Chennai or Bangalore.”

Renjith Joseph, Regional Manager of bharatmatrimony.com, which runs keralamatrimony.com, noted this shift in certain social classes. “Parents from Kerala insist on checking on the background and the salary of the groom. In earlier days, salary was never a major criterion. Over the past one year, we have noticed the demand for software professionals going up and, unfortunately, we don’t have so many IT professionals in the UAE,” he said.

For instance, Ismail Ahmed (name changed), who is working as a clerk in Dubai, has been wanting to marry for the past one year. He said the bride’s family expects him to earn a fat pay packet and also take the girl along with him. “That is not possible for me as I earn a little over Dh1,000 per month. They want grooms earning Dh4,000 onwards. Besides, I have my commitments to my parents and siblings. I just have to be patient and wait,” he added dejectedly.

While no study has been conducted so far on this new trend, experts attribute the shift to the changing dynamics of the Malayalee society, where women are now more educated and prefer to choose their own life partners over the traditional choice of their parents.

Ashraf Pallikandam, Vice-President of UAE National Committee of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre in Dubai, said, “Females in the Malabar area are much more educated and want to get married to people who would spend their lives with them and not away from them. Earlier in the marriage market, anyone with a visa, passport and a job in the Gulf was always a good catch, while anyone with a good job in Kerala or India was not so attractive. But now, the Gulf alliance is no more lucrative.”

Tahihira Razik, a member of the Islamic Cultural Centre Women’s Wing, Sharjah, noted that parents scrutinise the family background and their financial status before agreeing to the alliance.

“If the boy is in the Gulf, their background and exact situation is not always well known and this makes parents a little more cautious,” she remarked.





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