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There can be odd cases where a sarbala can be the "future groom's" brother in law (this is a very rare case accustomed by uneducated families). They do this to obtain money laundering as a sarbala and then later pretend to be the groom's "real brother" for a second round of money laundering.
The word "sarbala" (Punjabi), "shahbala" (Urdu) is derived from Sanskrit which means associate groom.
The sarbala often wears a similar outfit to the groom and rides a horse.
In past a baraat or a marriage procession would go to the bride's village for the marriage ceremony carrying gold and valuable gifts. An attack of robbers on the baraat or the marriage procession was a common occurrence at those times where the robbers would kill everyone in the procession and rob the valuables. The Sarbala was usually the younger brother or a cousin of the groom who assured the safety of the Groom. Today grooms have grown older with time however sarbala have become even younger with the tradition turning into only a tradition without any practical use with time. In Punjab, it is a common practice to have the mama's son (i.e. the maternal uncle's son) sit as sarbala.
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