Symbolic Inequalities in Marriage Ceremonies among the Muslims of Kashmir: Situating Social Class

Marriage is a universal social institution and is embedded in our social fabric in such a way that we don’t have a second thought about not marrying, especially among the social actors of a religious family. Researchers, here in the field of marriage only focused on the rituals, caste, race, and practices of marriage; however, the class dimension of marriage is absent, especially among the Muslims which is very apparent in Kashmir (a Muslim-dominated society). The present study aimed to unmask the domination and make public the hidden inequalities of celebrating marriages, which contradict the grand narrative of the Muslim Marriage. Employing an in-depth interview on sixteen participants of whom nine participants were from lower-middle-class and seven were from upper-class families of urban Srinagar (Kashmir), based on the purposive sampling procedure. The data of the study revealed that in the celebration of marriage from age at marriage, dresses, crockery, and utensils to feast, inequalities are very apparent. Social class plays its role in deciding whom to marry and whom not. Marriage among the Muslims of Kashmir is claimed to be done according to Islamic guidelines and traditions, however, results revealed that the marriage of the Muslims in Kashmir varies according to their social class background. Every social class has its way of celebrating its family member’s marriage from age at marriage, the status of the family, hiring a matchmaker, and a place of celebration to feast.