NRI: Couple to organise mass marriages in home town

       A big, fat harmony wedding in Gujarat
       29 Feb 2008, 0240 hrs IST , Vijaysinh Parmar , TNN
BAVLA (AHMEDABAD DISTRICT): Now here is a Hotelier from Maryland in USA, who is not planning to throw a lavish party to mark his 50th marriage anniversary on March 3.

      Instead, the NRI couple, Narendra and Nirmala Patel, who own a motel there, will be visiting their native town of Bavla to celebrate their marriage anniversary in a special way.

      The couple is going to splurge money on a ‘samuh lagan’ (mass marriage) on March 3 and residents are preparing for it as if there’s no tomorrow. The function will also be a toast to harmony — couples, irrespective of caste, community or religion, will be tying the knot on the occasion.

      “In the US, anniversaries are celebrated by throwing parties. We thought, instead of wasting money that way, why not put it to good use by helping those in our homeland? The idea was welcomed by our family members,” says a beaming 68-year-old Patel.

      The couple wants to perform ‘kanyadaan’ for at least 50 brides to mark their own golden jubilee.

      They are thrilled that the number of couples has crossed 50, and includes eight Muslims.

      Prosperous communities do organize mass marriages, but only for their own community members. The Patels are going a step further by including all castes, communities and religions, he says.

     “Thakors, Rajputs, Kolis, Patels, Dalits and Muslims are all welcome to participate in the joyous occasion. We have even taken care to ensure that the customs of each community are respected. For instance, for a Muslim bride and groom, we have arranged for a Maulvi to perform the nikkah,” says Patel.

All the expenses of the mass function will be borne by the Patel family. “Some of the couples are so poor that they will have to go to money lenders to foot the bill for their marriages and this will lead them into the debt spiral,” adds the motel owner.

His family members living in the US will be in Bavla to participate in the celebrations. And, it seems that Patel has another reason to smile.

Residents of Bavla have assured him that they will keep up the good work, and continue to organize similar mass marriages in the coming years.

NRI: Couple to organise mass marriages in home town in gujarat

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