There is a saying that a perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other, goes a saying. And for that to happen, many depend on matchmakers.
Matchmaking practice has changed over the years. Nowadays, boys just don't go for a girl's hair, posture or skin colour. Rather, the search for the girl's intellect and creativity is more important than household chores.
The same goes for girls who search for a caring guy who does not interfere in their freedom. Now they don’t bother about conventional socio-economic point of view. But if you want the right match, a common platform is much needed. ‘BCCB Matrimonial: Heavenly Match’ has created such a platform for the citizens of Bangladesh.
Facebook interface of the group
Something big popped into mind
BCCB matrimonial is a Facebook group where any Bangladeshi citizen can look for their life partner. It is a free matrimonial site for prospective Bangladeshi bride and groom, anywhere in the world. Presently, the group just crossed 100K members.
The private initiative is launched by the same couple who started another big journey named BCCB (Bangladeshi Canadian-Canadian Bangladeshi). When they started, it was a business idea.
Shaima Hasan and Rimon Mahmud, both working professionals, now live in Canada. While the idea was long harboured in their mind, the couple decided to make it free for all because of their keenness to help people. Thus, they launched the Facebook group in May 2017.
Sabrina Mahmud, the elder sister of Rimon Mahmud, and a single mother was the inspiration of this project. She is a divorcee and has spent 20 years of her life alone. The sadness of a brother unable to find a match for his sister ultimately pushed him and Shaima to make it open and free for all. From then on, their journey began.
Rimon thought the wedding market has been exploited due to lack of involvement of people that matters.
“Marriage is too important an affair to be left to someone who has no idea of it and so there is the need to take hold of it.”
Rimon continued to share the experience he gained while trying for his sister’s marriage. Money spoke; the amount of money being charged varied depending on the citizenship of the boy. An immigrant will command more premium than a local.
While charging money is completely legitimate, Rimon and Shaima just did not want to follow the route taken by all. They made marriage free. Even if you give money, as he said, there is no assurance that the biodata one receives is genuine or fake. After all, one can very easily turn down an interest without even meeting.
Sometimes a biodata is shown to more than 10 to 15 people and all pays money. Even after knowing all this, not many come forward to talk about their own marriage. People keep quiet thinking what others will say. And that is what ‘BCCB Matrimonial: Heavenly Match’ is trying to break.
“At BCCB Matrimonial, we are trying to break this social myth, a taboo. Contrary to popular belief that BCCB Matrimonial is aiming for people to get married, we are actually not pursuing marriage directly. Our expressed goal is to create and provide people a platform of choice that is amazing and comfortable without involvement of any middle-man. In that sense, everyone is a matchmaker,” explained Rimon.
Founder Mr. Rimon in Facebook live in the group
Initially they started the matrimonial group for Canadian Bangladeshis only. The result was not up to the expected level back then. The BCCB team was gaining experience. They waited for four to five months. Then they decided to make it a global forum for all Bangladeshis, no matter where they live.
Between the time we spoke with the couple and now, BCCB Matrimony opened the following ‘BCCB Matrimonial: Love and Hope Again’ for divorced and widowed, ‘BCCB Matrimonial: For Hindu Fraternity’ for Hindu community, ‘BCCB Matrimonial: North America’ for people residing in North America, ‘BCCB Matrimonial: UK and Europe’ for people living in Europe, ‘BCCB Matrimonial: 40+’ for those over 40s. While the main forum remains for all, the specific groups serve a specific niche.
The idea of arranging marriage through social media or an online platform is not very common in our society. Someone can just upload a bio-data in the group to find the person s/he wants. But, that person will share personal information only when the platform can make sure of his/her comfort and nobody comes to judge. That’s how the group continues to provide a welcoming environment where people feel comfortable.
It is not just about the bride or groom themselves. Nowadays, a mother can post on behalf of her daughter, sister for her brother. Even a daughter had posted for her mother who is divorced. Any awkward comment can make people feel embarrassed when a serious matter such as marriage is being dealt with. There comes the need for a strong forum management team.
One of the member posting to express gratitude to the group after successfully finding a match
To maintain a healthy and positive environment, admins and moderators have to become, what Rimon says jokingly, cruel of some sort. Removing a comment or a member for unethical behaviour may seem to be cruel to the person doing it, but is a necessity for making the forum kinder for its members.
The forum aspires to be a place that is judgment-free. Any post, which is in line with forum rules and law, will be allowed. For example, if a much older guy wants to marry a relatively young girl, the BCCB team doesn’t let anyone judge him. They allow it if it is legal. Their expectation is to have an open platform for people of all classes and aspects of life. People should be respected as long as their vision is harmless and meaningful.
An exceptional team
Every team member of BCCB is professional. They are doctors, engineers, scientists, bankers, even a working surgeon. None of them relies on any income from this noble service as they work voluntarily. The team comprises more than 25 members from more than a dozen countries including UK, Australia, USA, KSA, France, Germany, UAE, Canada, Bangladesh, and others.
They are working for 24 hours following the sun as the diverse location helps in serving. Believers of diversity, BCCB team represents almost everyone regardless of geographical barrier, race, creed, belief, or religion.
Being asked about challenges, Rimon Mahmud said smiling, “Some people find it hard to believe that we are doing this for free. They would ask us how much we charge. It is natural I believe. Our society is tuned to think like that.”
“We are trying to change this thought through efforts, sweats, tears and what not. Sometimes, even the BCCB matrimonial team makes mistakes. And if that happens, an apology post is there to patch things up,” continues Rimon.
The admins deal with personal attacks gracefully and artistically. Their polite tone and down to earth behaviour make the group members pleasant enough to share their thoughts.
“People say Rimon has become a matchmaker,” laughs Rimon, “he is the new ‘Pakhi Bhai.’ I don’t care about such things. We are doing it as a sadaqajariya (charity). If that makes me Pakhi Bhai, that is what I am. And I do think Pakhi Bhai did a great job and I respect him.”
On being asked about the benefit, Rimon explained, “It so happened that after uploading one’s bio-data, 300 to 400 people contacted us. We handle all these together as a team.”
“Not me, nor my team have any personal tangible benefit from this, but we have mental satisfaction. Karma comes back. You do good, good will come back.”
The journey of life continues
One of numerous couples who tied the knot from the group
As of now, the highest number of people a post reached is 66,000 in less than three days. However, the average post reach is over 35,000, Rimon guesses. He mentioned a moment that made the journey worthwhile. A mother sent a message stating how peacefully she would die embracing the fate of stage 4 cancer. On April 19th, a message came that read, “Baba (dear), I can now die in peace because of you all. My only daughter got married thanks to your forum.”
On the other hand, on the day BCCB Matrimonial crossed 100K members, a miracle happened as believed by Rimon. They received another message that read, “Hello! I’d like to thank you and BCCB from the bottom of my heart. You are the only reason after Allah for which I got married.”
The message continues, “My husband isn’t exactly from this group but we were to be divorced and were poisoned with misunderstandings for each other. His family informed me that he’s getting married soon and then lied to him about me getting married too. We were not in touch but I cried everyday and my family decided that I should move on too. My mother made a marriage related post for me which caught his attention and he called me, cleared all the misunderstandings and we got back together again. A big big thanks to you and a lot of prayers.”
Today, BCCB Matrimonial has created a space for all to mingle and find their match for free. While lots of challenges remain, such as society’s view on marriage, taboos, BCCB is breaking the barrier one step at a time.
Today, for a platform such as this, and its ever watchful management team, a female, insecure about her weight can choose to pose here freely without having to go to a traditional matchmaking site. A platform where she can tell details and need not to bother about her physique.
If you are married, you can join to help others find a match, if you are not, do it for yourself. As Rimon said, “We might know a mother, a brother, a sister, a father, an aunt or a friend looking for a match. Hence, BCCB matrimonial is for all.”
You can follow this link to the Facebook group- https://www.facebook.com/groups/BCCBMatrimonialHeavenlyMatch
Farzana Tasnim is a lecturer at Khulna University.