Wednesday, 10 April 2013
(53): Kayan daki and marital stability in Hausaland (II)
Almost every parent, community leaders, and those who are mindful of their society, are aware of social issues like this. We know them; we talk about them, but hardly our knowledge of such issues goes beyond gossip. The problem is turning the society up-side-down, the pressure has grown so much, it is alleged that in some areas in Hausaland, people borrow kayan daki for a small period, after the ceremony is over, and the guests have returned to their destinations, everything would be returned to the real owner. This problem cannot be attributed to a single individual, nor is it possible to make swift generalisation on how we reached such sorry state. But we can suggest some of the reasons.
The first reason I will argue is abandoning the true teachings of religion. In Islam the key criteria for the selection of spouse have been made very clear. From the side of the man, the key requirements which the potential bride and her family should look for are true commitment to religion and the soundness of character, as reported from Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and failure to do so will result in calamities befalling the society. He equally suggested that a woman can be married because of her beauty, family background, wealth, and commitment to the religion (which includes soundness of character, and clear sense of responsibility), and the latter is recommended by the Prophet over all other qualities. But our society chose to depart. Both parties pay attention to the wealth rather than the soundness of character, and we end up decorating the house with kayan daki, while the character of the spouses is in need of moral decoration.
This leads to the second potential reason, excessive materialism. It is natural and common for people to aim at living a decent life free from the hassles of modern society. We shouldn’t deny people to aspire for the best. However when the search for decent life over steps the limit of decency, then that becomes a problem. It is a pity that an able bodied man, bestowed with numerous abilities would have to build his life entirely on the favours of in-.laws. Should Malam Saadu Zungur, the revolutionary Hausa poet, teacher and radical politician witness this, perhaps he has to rewrite the classic ‘Bahaushe mai ban Haushi’, a poem that recently became viral in social networking sites due to the lesson it contains.
Thirdly, one of the great mistakes being made, is leaving the institution of marriage to be managed either by ‘illiterates’, or allowing the intending spouses to drive themselves alone, when in reality they need guidance from more matured and enlightened members of the community. The learned ones including the imam, only joins when the flight is ready for take-off. From ‘Na gani ina so’ (proposal), down to the wedding, the process is managed by those whose interest is to impress the society, rather than the stability of the marriage itself.
Elite miscalculation can be described as the fourth reason that could potentially explain the mishap the marriage institution is facing. In the past few decades, some of our elites, of course some of them with good intention, tried to support the spouses of their daughters by helping them get good jobs, providing financial assistance, some even employing them in their personal businesses. However some do it without restrain.
They want their daughter(s) to enjoy the same comfort made available by her parents. Kayan daki assumed disproportionate dimension, such that the girls are almost traded to the husband. People began to misuse this gesture on the pretext that ‘mata sun yi yawa’, therefore the father has to take this extra step if somebody is to live with his daughter and genuinely look after her. The young spouses are not allowed to grow together, to understand the struggle of life and find ways to solve it; to realize that marriage is a partnership where each of the two parties has to make sacrifice for the other.
That marriage is a lifetime opportunity to grow, love, respect and live within the confines of the resources available to the parties. In fact the mere fact that you agree to get married, it means you are qualified to shoulder the responsibility of looking after a human being, in this case, the woman who is ready to sacrifice living with her parents, relatives and well-wishers, to come and live with you ‘for life’, yet the modern husband, wants to transfer her upkeep to her parents; more surprisingly the parents are willing partners in this game.
The fifth reason is political corruption. Politics in our country has become a business. The penniless chap, roaming on the street could become tomorrow’s millionaire because he is either a politician or the house boy of a political office holder. The girls are watching, neither are their parents ready to be uninterested observers.
To be continued…