Mass weddings for fatherless brides | Daily News


Mass weddings for fatherless brides

In Indian culture, a bride’s father is expected to pay for his daughter’s wedding. If he is no longer alive then the responsibility falls on the brothers.

But some orphaned women or those without siblings have no one to fund their weddings. That can mean they remain unmarried as they cannot afford to tie the knot.

To change the fate of such women, a diamond trader, Mahesh Savani, has decided to pay for mass weddings as he believes giving away brides is a ‘blessing from God’.

So far, Mahesh has married off 3,172 brides and in his latest mass wedding service, he funded 261 ceremonies.

Performing the Kanyadaan – a Hindu ritual where the bride’s father presents his daughter to the groom, entrusting him with her future wellbeing, Mahesh has enjoyed giving away hundreds of fatherless women.

But the hopeful brides don’t have to be Hindu themselves as Mahesh blesses anyone with the Kanyadaan regardless of their religious background.

In the latest ceremony, six of the couples were Muslim while three of them were Christian. Of the 261 brides, 118 had no brothers or sisters and 54 were orphans.

Mahesh did get some help though, as Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani and several Indian Administrative Service and police officers helped to organise the event and regulate it.

Not only were the benefactors awarded a wedding, Mahesh and the organisers also gifted them household items to start their new lives and insurance worth 200,000 rupees (£2,300) each.

In the past, Mahesh has given gifts worth 500,000 rupees (£5,600).

The whole idea of performing a mass wedding service came to him in 2008 when a distant relative of Mahesh died which meant Mahesh had to take care of the daughter left behind.

After he helped her out, he felt it was a social responsibility to help other women in the same situation.

It’s not known how much Mahesh spends on these services but he sees no signs of stopping any time soon. In the pictures of the big day, women dressed in a plethora of colours can be seen smiling, adorning traditional Indian dresses as well as white wedding gowns.

They are also given the chance to perform rituals close to their culture.


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