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The Inscrutable Mystery of Why the Qalin Has Survived

The Example of Uzbekistan

Ziyodakhon Rasulova

Keywords: compensation; custom; divorce; marriage; qalin; tradition; Uzbekistan

With a focus on the Republic of Uzbekistan, this article aims to explain the enduring survival of the custom known as qalin (bride price, bride money), in spite of efforts to eliminate it in the past, and seeks to reveal the incomprehensible - even somewhat enigmatic - reasons for its present existence. Because this practice was burdensome for poor people, some attempts were made to abolish or replace it, for example, by having the bridegroom work instead of paying the qalin, by interchanging girls between two families or by having the bride's kinsmen cover the costs of the wedding. One custom even involved paying a qalin by instalments. As the article demonstrates, despite criticisms and its negative aspects, the qalin still has a place in the lives of Uzbeks.

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