Religion: Moneyless Marriage

Whether Hindu, Moslem or follower of virtually any other religion, India's father of the bride teeters close to bankruptcy. A moneylender's dream, he is forced by custom to fork over a huge dowry for his daughter, start paying off every member of the bridegroom's family with lavish presents of cash and sweetmeats as soon as the engagement is announced. The ideal wedding must be a stunningly beautiful rite that lasts for days, with thousands of gaily colored electric-light bulbs adorning the house, an ornate marquee and a team of cooks to gorge scores of guests. For generations the ancient custom has...

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