In an astonishing news reported from Bihar, grooms are reportedly being sold in market for potential brides in “groom market”, under a tradition which is around 700 years old. The “Groom Market” is locally known as “Saurath Sabha”, and is organized in Bihar’s Madhubani district. The “groom for sale” news was brought forth recently by Al Jazeera.

According to reports the “Saurath Sabha” is organized every year, and is held for 9 days straight under the Pipal trees of the district. The market sees potential grooms from the Maithil Brahmin community across district gather. These grooms are judged as potential partners by families of potential brides. Such is the fervour of the “groom market” that it sees thousands of grooms swarm and put themselves forward for their potential in-laws. These grooms are usually dressed in traditional attire or crisp shirts and jeans.

As it is the case with any market, the grooms are “bought” by the brides. The price of the grooms is based on their qualifications, the family’s standings, and other factors. Interestingly enough, Al Jazeera reports that the girls usually don’t have a say in the process of the “sale”, and it’s the brother or father of these girls who make the final call.

The Facts of the Matter

Imagine hundreds of men, dressed in suits, Indian ethnic wears, all sitting and standing in queue being put on sale. While it may sound something to be of a different time and age, it’s a tradition that occurs in the age of internet and technology.

The entire ordeal is called the “Saurath Sabha” tradition which has lasted for the last 700 years, where potential grooms are “sold” to prospective brides, based on their qualifications and socio-economic background.

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Girls Generally Don’t have a Say

The “groom market” is held every year in Madhubani, Bihar. In the almost 700-year-old tradition, potential husbands get on public display, waiting to be “sold” to the father and brother of the brides. The girls, according to an Al Jazeera report, do not generally have a lot of say in their fate and their future.

The practice of putting grooms on “sale” was recently described in an Al Jazeera report. The tradition, which has been filtered through the century, involves families of the prospective brides visiting the “groom market” without really expressing that they are in the “market”.

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How the “Groom Market Works?

The families of prospective brides stand and observe men sitting and standing in queues, and once they like someone, they put a gamcha (red cloth), over the selected man. This finally expresses their intent of having the girl in their family be married off to the groom they have chosen. Al Jazeera quoted a local claiming that the practice is much akin to “first come-first serve” basis.

Engineers, Doctors Most Sought After

According to the Al Jazeera report, the grooms come with price tag in dowry. The person who has the most prestigious and coveted profession, or someone who comes with an impressive background, demands the highest in dowry. It may not come as a huge surprise to many that doctors, government employees, and engineers are the most sought-after grooms.

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Where Does “Saurath Sabha” Come From?

According to a Times Now report, the ”Saurath Sabha” came into being when Raja Hari Singh of Karnat dynasty, facilitated marriages of grooms and brides from different “gotras”. While the intent of the practice was to keep weddings dowry-free, the menace of dowry has been such that it has bled its way to the practice.


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