Reviews

Based on a fieldwork implemented in the 2000s, this monograph is devoted to the history, peculiarities and survival of the tradition of the qalin / kalym (dowry) payment among Uzbeks. The qalin is a nuptial tradition widely spread among Central Asian Muslims. The author examines the following aspects: the notion of the qalin and its history; the ceremonies associated with it; the reasons of its survivability, despite the struggles for its cancellation, and the social causes of this permanence; the difference between qalin and mahr. If before the Soviet period the tradition of the payment the qalin was of great significance, it was carried out differently from place to place. From this typological viewpoint a similar picture can be observed nowadays, even in big cities. Disputes on its noxiousness and abolition also continue in parallel. The author provides lots of illustration of adjustment of the custom to varied economic and social realities. He shows in particular how the less well-off part of the population continues to find alternative ways. For example, instead of the qalin payment the groom works off the stipulated sum for his bride’s father. The two families can also agree to give each other their daughters as brides. Sometimes, the bride’s party assumes all the expenses of the wedding. Sometimes also, only a part of the qalin is paid before the wedding ceremony.

Aftandil S. Erkinov, Biruni Institute of Oriental Studies, Tashkent
CER: II-6.4.G-546