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Forced Marriages

The Mirpuri community has been slow to tackle the issue of forced marriages that are normally steered under the guise of arranged marriages. Although there has been a lot of media attention on the issue, contrary to popular perceptions the practise is actually on the decline in the UK especially amongst a younger generation of Hilltonians who feel more at home within the value system of the UK than the one inherited from their parents. This does not in any way detract from the fact that forced marriages are a problem and a throwback from the days when marriages were arranged on the basis of wider tribal considerations within close family networks; social realities that are in complete variance with the priorities of living and working within the modern setting of liberal democratic societies that safeguard individual liberties. The socioeconomic characteristics of the UK differ enormously with the agrarian setting our grandparents once inhabited. The associated values however lingered in the cultural baggage our parents exported to the Isles of Britain as economic migrants, living in closed quarters in an industrial setting. They were keen to reproduce much of the familial in an alien social environment especially when they began to put down roots in the UK and the mutations of that embryonic phenomenon that still resonates with us today has been emerging generations of youngsters who do not share their parents’ outlook on life especially when choosing marriage-partners. This is absolutely understandable and natural given that their hopes, likes and aspirations have been influenced by ‘values’ that give primacy to individual human liberties over and above priorities mediated through a collective-consciousness that has tribal underpinnings. Unfortunately it is women again who bear the brunt in this maladjusted transition of their ethnic forebears from the agrarian values of rural Pakistan to the post-industrial norms of the UK where structural gender-imbalances no longer cohere in a patriarchal model. Rizwan Zaman tackles the issues full on. We have also included articles and papers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds to give a greater perspective to the issues discussed.

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Forced Marriages

By Rizwan Zaman

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