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Du Badu – Making Alliances Happen on Earth

A Du Badu matrimonial session in progress in Hyderabad. The initiative has so far helped 3,000 families.
A Du Badu matrimonial session in progress in Hyderabad. The initiative has so far helped 3,000 families.

How a landmark matrimonial initiative, Du-Badu, is helping thousands of families find the right matrimonial alliance for their sons and daughters face-to-face

By Syed Qamar Hasan

Special to Caravan

HYDERABAD, April 12 — They say marriages are made in heaven. The saying is repeated and heard over and over again at weddings and family gathering and also at worst of times when matches made in heaven are about to hit the rock.

While Cupid has a bigger role in tying nuptial knots between many young people these days, matchmaking agencies have cropped up like wild grass elbowing out the traditional Mushata (persons who act as intermediaries between families of girls and boys of marriageable age) have made many a happy homes.

In Hyderabad, the seat of fabled Nizams of the Deccan and now to become the shared capital of two squabbling Telugu states, Telangana and Seemandhra, an innovative idea to bring about the elders of girls and boys of marriageable age face-to-face to find the right partner has become very popular attracting hundreds and hundreds of parents to make the best of the opportunity.

Dubbed “Du Badu” (face-to-face) is the brainchild of Zahid Ali Khan, Editor of one of India’s largest selling Urdu newspapers, Siasat. Started in 2008, Du Badu has helped more than 3,000 young people enter the sacred bond.

Held once in every two months, this unique rendezvous for parents with children of marriage age is turning out to be very popular, as participants find it more open, transparent and easy to discuss issues like mehr (alimony) and jahez (dowry) than in going through matrimonial agencies and middlemen.

The day long program starts around 11AM, under a huge Shamiana (tent) when parents start arriving prepared to be at the venue till the closing time near sunset. About 50 to 60 volunteers, supported by a few Siasat staff are on the job scanning data from over dozen or so computers of prospective brides and bridegrooms, provided by their parents to Du badu.

Zahid Ali Khan, who made his political debut in 2009, throwing down the gauntlet to the invincible Asaduddin Owaisi, President of MIM, for the Hyderabad parliamentary constituency on the Telugu Desam Party’s ticket.

Trounced by a margin of about over a lakh votes, Khan continued to play active role in local politics till wisdom dawned on him to realize that politics was not his cup of tea. He left politics and recently also quit as a politburo member of the TDP, in protest against the party entering into an electoral alliance with the BJP in the ongoing 2014 General Elections.

Speaking to Caravan, Khan said that he found social and public work more interesting and gratifying than politics. Apolitical approach to the poor, needy, deprived, dispossessed and suffering people is a better channel to work, said the Siasat editor.

His paper carries over 1000 matrimonial advertisements in its Sunday issue. Yet not only parents but independent youngsters find the “Du Badu” an ideal platform of finding suitable partners. The program is now conducted regularly in several adjoining districts and towns of the state as well.

At the recent “Du Badu” program, two young people with special needs were successfully joined in matrimonial alliance. This was the first time when an on-the-spot match was fixed, said one of the Siasat staff involved in the initiative.

Siasat Editor Zahed Ali Khan addressing families gathered for a 'Du Badu' session in Hyderabad.
Siasat Editor Zahed Ali Khan addressing families gathered for a ‘Du Badu’ session in Hyderabad.

Other notable social work undertaken by Siasat is arranging last rites for unclaimed bodies. Muslim burials in Hyderabad over the years have become a costly affair. Many bodies remain unclaimed in city morgues, as poor relatives of the deceased are hesitant to claim fearing the heavy cost involved in burials.

Khan says a minimum of 10 to 12 bodies are undertaken by his office for proper interring during a week. Several other educational and vocational programs are held on a regular basis to help young men and women improve their professional excellence and prospects in the job market.

Besides, Khan has also been busy with the efforts to protect and retrieve lost literary and cultural heritage of Hyderabad. His team of researchers is busy digging into archives and material provided by old Hyderabadi families of the past literary and cultural glory of the 400 years Asif Jahi dynasty.

Several tomes rich in history have been published in recent times by Siasat shining the light on the splendor of an era that is fast dying and is yet cherished for its syncretic “Ganga-Jamni” tehzeeb and culture.

Syed Qamar Hasan is a senior Indian journalist and former Abu Dhabi bureau chief of Khaleej Times

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