Taplejung, January 28:
Following Maoist threats to punish anyone found conducting lavish marriages, parents have started conducting marriages without spending much. The days of keeping a close eye on their daughters to prevent them from eloping are over, too.
Not only do they invite a few relatives during marriages, they give permission to their daughters to â€˜elopeâ€™ with their sweethearts. The act of eloping with sweetheart was considered an immoral act. Not any more. Says a woman, who just got married to a security man, â€œWith my parentsâ€™ consent, I eloped with him.â€ â€œFearing a Maoist backlash, I asked my daughter to elope with the man of her choice, when the marriage proposal came,â€ said a local on condition of anonymity. The Maoists have also banned the bridesâ€™ parents from conducting Gau Dan (the practice of giving away a cow to the bridegrooms) and giving away dowries. Local elders complain that marriages are incomplete without Gau Dan and dowries.