BHERI ZONE – Hampered by decades-long traditions and poverty, a growing number of Nepali Muslim girls are being deprived from higher education due to a widespread belief that educated woman might cost her family a higher dowry to get married.
“Dowry tradition is growing out of control in the Muslim community,” Asagar Ali Darji, the former chairman of the Puraina village development committee, told ekantipur.com on Monday, March 10.
“Very few people from the community allow daughters to pursue further studies due to this practice,” Darji, who did not allow his granddaughter to complete her education, added.
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In the southwestern Banke district in Nepal, many Muslim girls are banned from joining universities as their parents believe that “educated girls need more dowries to get married”.
After accomplishing the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exams, Munni Darji, a Muslim student, lost her dream of pursuing a career in nursery.
Although she was the second girl to pass SLC exams in the Muslim majority district, Darji’s family refused to let her join the college.
“I know that Munni wants to study nursing but I could not educate her as I also have to educate other kids in the family,” her grandfather, Darji, who encourages villagers to educate their daughters said.
“Most children in our community quit studies from school itself. We are fortunate to have passed the SLC exam,” the grandfather added.
According to Shar`iah, dowry is an obligation upon the groom that he has to pay to the woman, and this dowry is a full right of the woman which totally belongs to her and not to anybody else.
In the south Asian societies, however, the family of the bride pays the dowry.
As a result of high dowries tradition, several young girls were obliged to discontinue education because the parents have the responsibility of getting them married off.
Several parents were also forced to take loans from banks to pay dowry to the groom.
According to the CIA World Fact Book, Muslims constitute 4.2 percent of Nepal’s 28-million population.
Nepal was the world's only Hindu state till 2006 when the parliament amended the constitution and declared it a secular state.
Most of Nepal's Muslims live in the southern plains on the borders with India.
Residents of impoverished southern belt say they have long been excluded from Kathmandu's corridors of power and want increased representation in the government and army.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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