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Mass wedding ceremony paid for by Indian businessman helps 251 couples get married

  • 26 December 2017
  • Author: QT01
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Mass wedding ceremony paid for by Indian businessman helps 251 couples get married
DPA
New Delhi

An Indian real estate tycoon funded a mass wedding ceremony that allowed 251 women from poor backgrounds to get married in the western state of Gujarat on Christmas Eve.

Businessman Mahesh Savani hosted the wedding in Surat city for Hindu couples as well as those belonging to the Muslim and Christian minorities.

Savani has been funding and organizing marriages of girls who have lost their fathers and were unable to pay for the cost of a wedding.

Since 2012, Savani has helped 969 girls get married at such mass weddings, he said on phone from Surat.

"I have two sons but no daughter, though I always wanted one," Savani said. "These girls are like my daughters, I am a like a foster father to them, it gives me a lot of joy to see them happy."

"There is nothing more pious than the Kanyadaan (the Hindu ritual of giving away one's daughter in marriage). This year, one of my businessmen friends, Batukbhai Movaliya also helped with funding of the marriage."

Besides paying for the ceremonies, Savani also pays for gifts such as gold and silver ornaments and household items like electronic items and furniture for each bride, totaling up to 400,000 rupees ($6,250), his aide Ravi Vanja said.

He also pays for expenses after the wedding, including maternity costs and schooling for children.

Mass marriages are common in India as a way of reducing costs for poorer couples. Such weddings are usually organized by community groups, philanthropists or local leaders.
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