Some of the elders of Hirankudana. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha
New Delhi, Jan. 2: Marriages will now be made under the sun in Hirankudana so that those in their twilight years do not feel left out and those in the high noon of life are not led astray.
The village on the western fringe of Delhi has banned late-night weddings and disc jockeys the first intended at helping the aged witness the rituals and the second at delivering the young from perceived decadence.
The ban on DJs the high priests of modern-day weddings may raise eyebrows but the panchayat insists that its primary objective was to put the whole family back into an event that has been reduced to little more than a jumbo dance party.
None of the older people in the village can attend weddings when they are held late at night. They are too old and cant see clearly, said Suraj Bhan, an elder surrounded by neighbours soaking up the sun, leisurely puffing away at hookahs.
But Bhan added that he and his friends would not mind if the elderly guests take their gaze off the bride and groom once in a while and keep an eye on the young.
If there are no elders, the young boys lose control and start drinking, Bhan reasoned.
Around 45km from the heart of the capital, Hirankudana named after deer that have long vanished, though nilgais still exist in abundance is home to 5,000 people.
Lined with yellow mustard fields, Hirankudana bears no resemblance to the chic villages frequented by the capitals glitterati.
The decision to hold weddings only during daylight was taken two days ago. No baraat (wedding procession) will be allowed to come into the village at night.
The panchayat is hoping that other villages in the neighbourhood will soon follow its lead. You cant dance unless you drink, Moolchand, another elder, said. Once you drink, you forget everything.
Moolchands friend Shastri has his own reason for supporting the panchayat. If my daughter-in-law starts dancing with my son in front of me, it is embarrassing.
The panchayat has been toying with the idea of advocating restraint but a tragedy seems to have forced its hand.
Three young boys from the village recently died in a road accident while returning home from a wedding. I have been begging the village to stop this late-night revelry, said Phulo, the mother of the boys who died.
It is better to keep your sons unmarried than have them go for weddings that stretch into the morning, she said, her eyes fixed to the ground as they welled up.
Women usually dont accompany the baraat. They sit at home, patiently waiting for the men to come back.
Dressed in a blue sari, Kavita, with bright red sindoor streaking her forehead, is happy that her husband will be back early from weddings.
However, she does not support the ban on DJs and dancing. What is the point of having a wedding if you dont have music and dance, she said, her eyes shining. How is it a celebration then?
If more young people add their voice to Kavitas, Hirankudanas elders who are at ease with cellphones and some with zippy cars may soon have to call another panchayat.