Kashmir Nikah: A Matchless Match

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With technology taking over almost every sphere of our lives, finding a perfect match is now just a click away in Kashmir. Saima Bhat reports the success of Kashmir’s first online matrimonial site and the brain behind it

Kashmir-Nikah-dot-com

With over 300 registered authentic profiles, www.kashmirnikah.com is the first online matrimonial website catering to Kashmiris living in and outside the valley. Started in 2014, Kashmir Nikah, a brain child of Abdul Rauf, an engineer by profession, is the simple way of finding a match.

The idea of sharing the ‘burden’ of going through a long and lethargic process of match finding, which mostly takes more than a year in Kashmir, was conceived by Rouf in 2011, when he was pursuing his bachelors from NIT Srinagar. “Actually one of my friends was planning to get married but seeing the pace of finding his match and then going through commonly used parade system was painful.”

Finally Rouf shared the idea with his friends and the website was developed by a group of eight friends, from different educational backgrounds, for the people of their age group.

The team includes Dr Malik Tariq (AP at SKIMS), Dr Muhammed Banday (US settled NRK), Dr Saba Bhat, Junaid Shah (IT professional), Basharat Aiyaz (Businessman), Owais Reshi (researcher at KAUST-KSA) and Mehmooda. But now when the website is functional, well trained staff takes care of operational aspect of the website and provide customer care services.

Before the website was designed, this team did survey work among the Kashmiri youth of marriageable age and some parents, to know the desired concerns. “Like we asked them what would be their concerns about finding a match through matrimony website. Authenticity of profiles and privacy issues were their main concerns,” says Rouf.

And accordingly genuine concerns were taken into consideration and website was designed in a way where privacy of profiles was maintained and control was given to these profile holders like, which information-full name, photographs, contact, or other details, they want to share and at what time of the process.

Rouf says all registered profiles in their website are authentic as their staff go for rigorous validation.  “We ask for their identity proofs, original photographs besides telephonic verification of registered users on their contact numbers. So all of our profiles are authentic and none among them have registered for fun, which happens on other matrimonial sites.”

On KashmirNikah website profiles are made by the parties themselves or by their siblings or parents so they write about their priorities which otherwise are not possible in traditional matchmaking system. But the management strongly recommends involvement of parents in the process of finding a suitable match.

While sharing some of the details of profiles in understanding their work better Rouf says, “Like we have a profile in which groom-to-be has written has written he wants a partner who should be good with spoken English. And besides maintaining proper hijaab, she should be sporty. It was not possible in traditional system to ask for these things.”

While sharing details of another profile Rouf says that bride-to-be was a divorcee with a kid and in her profile she has made it clear that her partner should first accept her child. “There are many such cases in our society where children from first marriage were not accepted, so I suppose if things get clear at an initial stage then problems don’t arise in future.”

Having no third person in between, the misunderstanding or distortion of facts about the bride and groom is minimized, says Rouf. He claims this website is boon for NRKs, providing them a perfect platform to find a match within the Kashmiri community despite not living in Kashmir.

Marriage in general and match-making in particular has become very complex in Kashmiri society, says Saba, another member of the website. “It has also become time consuming and costly affair, leading to unhealthy trend of late marriages in Kashmir. You can see many cases where it took years to find a suitable match by traditional process of match making. So we didn’t want people should go for late marriages because they couldn’t find a suitable match on time.”

Traditionally, it is middle-man who suggests suitable matches but for this generation, as per the survey, involvement of Manzimyor, a stranger, is not convenient enough. Moreover, one gets few options to choose from and in that process, would-be-brides and grooms have to compromise as per the wishes of these middle men or parents.

Rouf and Saba shares that they were able to contribute in the process in a positive way as some people got married with the help of their website. But they are not able to share the exact number of such marriages that took place because of their website. “We don’t interfere at any level unless unavoidable. We just provide a platform for the interested parties to contact each other. That’s our job. We don’t ask anything beyond that. However some people informed us on their own that they got benefitted.”

The team is happy that they were able to reach out to their ‘target audience’. But now the team is working to include other people, other than technology friendly, in their grip.

Rouf says, in the month of Ramadhan 2014, they provided a platform for some orphans, where they were given a chance to register for free and many people came and got benefitted.

The team says their mission is to make marriage ‘easy’. “We just want to provide a convenient alternative to those who want it.”

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