A bride looked visibly miserable after she was given just a few days notice that she was to marry an impoverished history teacher.
The match between bride Marjona Hudoidodova and Saidsho Asrorov, was arranged by Tajikistani’s all-powerful dictator Emomali Rahmon.
But while the groom appears thrilled with the match , 22-year-old Marjona did not smile at all during the ceremony. Arranged marriages are common in Muslim Tajikistan, although it is rare for the president to order them.
A “matchmaking committee”, run by a local apparatchik in charge of ideology, was formed to find Saidsho a bride. President Rahmon stepped in after the teacher read a sycophantic poem at a gathering attended by the Tajik strongman who has ruled the ex-Soviet republic for a quarter of a century.
In the poem that won him a bride, Saidsho praised the president for his role in “supporting education and the upbringing of the young generation” in Tajikistan. Saidsho told Radio Free Europe: “The president asked me about my life and family.
He asked if I was married. I answered ‘no.’ “Then he instructed the district leadership to decide on my marriage.” Anxious to appease the 64-year-old leader, Marjona was nominated as Saidsho’s bride after the committee spoke to her parents.
Ten days later, the couple were married. During the ceremony Marjona avoided eye-contact with her new husband. “The matchmakers communicated with my parents,” she said.
“My parents agreed to allow me to marry the man on the condition that I am allowed to continue to work. “I want to continue working as a nurse in a hospital. My groom agreed that I would continue working,” she added.