Shotgun Weddings: Indian-style The Editors

In 19th and early 20th century America, the term “shotgun wedding” connoted a man being forced at gun point (usually by a shotgun) to marry a young woman. What typically occasioned the marriage was that the man got the girl pregnant and had no intention of marrying her, and consequently her father or other family members stepped in to persuade him at gunpoint. At least that happened in the days when it was socially unacceptable for women to bear children out of wedlock.

So, with this bit of Americana by way of introduction, we present here an Indian version of it.* Because Indian society, especially rural society, is still for the most part deeply conservative, young men and women have far fewer opportunities to intermingle and for the unmarried girl to become pregnant. That means other incentives to bear the risk of coercing a groom into marriage come to the forefront.

In this case, the perverse incentive appears to be economic. The groom, who is an engineer, appears to have a good job, or he at least has good job prospects. That, apparently, is enough to risk the forcible assault and kidnapping of a groom.

Nonetheless, at the young man’s expense, there are some moments of levity. As per the story,

A video circulated on social media shows the engineer being manhandled and forced to dress for the wedding as he pleads for freedom.

“We are only performing your wedding, not hanging you,” one man is heard to shout as Kumar begs to be released.

Another video shows Kumar sitting beside his bride crying while a woman, apparently an in-law, tries to console him.

We have not yet seen the videos, but on reading the above statements we couldn’t help but smile. And also,

Lalan Mohan Prasad, a local officer, told AFP police had contacted Kumar and offered their help but he had not formally complained.

Ah yes! The bureaucratic love of procedure sealed this man’s fate. No rescue for him! (And there must have been a few smiles going around the police station, too.)

For the newlyweds, we hope everything works out for the best.

*The woman in the picture has no association with the events described here.

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