Moyna Khatun, 24, a resident of Murshidabad’s Suti and an arts graduate from D.N. College in Kalyani University, has set an example in the minority-dominated area when she demanded 60 books as “mohor” (dowry that a groom needs to pay) to tie the nuptial knot on Monday.
Although Moyna entered into an arranged marriage with Mizanur Rahman, 24, a geography graduate from Bhagalpur University in Bihar, family members of the bride said she had made it clear to her parents that she would demand books instead of traditional mohor when the two families discussed the duo’s marriage in January.
“She had no interest in traditional mohor, which can go up to Rs 50,000 these days. Initially shocked and awed by her parents’ request, Mizanur’s family happily accepted the demand,” said a family member of Moyna.
The groom’s family not only accepted the demand of Moyna, but decided to give some more books in addition to her demand.
On Monday afternoon, Kidderpore village, the native place of Moyna, witnessed a rare sight as the marriage party was carrying cartons full of books, which would not be less than 80, a resident said. The cartons contained Quran in Bengali, besides works by Rabindranath Tagore, Nazrul Islam and Bibhutibhushan Bandhopadhyay.
A member of the groom’s family said they would also be giving the bride an undisclosed amount of cash for personal expenses as they were “overjoyed” at her “unusual” request for books. Pictures of the unusual dowry have earned applause in the social media.
Senior district officials said the unusual dowry had drawn attention as literacy rate among the minority girls in the remote corners of the district still remained a problem.
“The government is trying hard to bring all girls to schools so that literacy rate increases among them. The stress is particularly on girls from minority communities living in remote areas. Moyna has set a great example. The government believes if a girl is imparted education, it will transmit to next generations. Girls like Moyna can be used as a poster girl for this purpose,” said a senior official. Politicians have also praised the initiative taken by Moyna.
“It’s girls like Moyna who make us as well as their families proud,” said Samserganj MLA Amirul Haque, when contacted by this newspaper.
Attendees already had a glimpse of the unusual mohor as it was kept in the centre of a room. “I have always been a bookworm since my childhood,” Moyna had told this reporter late on Sunday.
The daughter of a farmer, Moyna had the opportunity to go to college despite being of modest means and says she was struck by the idea when she read news of a similar bridal request in Kerala a few years ago. “I knew then that this is how I would get married,” she added.
Mizanur is also a man of letters and sources say he freelances for a number of Bengali periodicals in the area while helping his father’s ration business.