Aathva Phera Swachhta Ka: Meet the couple that took the cleanliness vow on their wedding | environment | Hindustan Times
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Aathva Phera Swachhta Ka: Meet the couple that took the cleanliness vow on their wedding

Ravi Ranjan and Gudiya Kumari from Bihar took eight pheras instead of the usual seven on their wedding. In the last phera, they pledged to spread awareness about Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

environment Updated: Aug 10, 2017 13:16 IST
Prerna Gauba
Ravi Ranjan and Gudiya Kumari at their wedding in Purnia.
Ravi Ranjan and Gudiya Kumari at their wedding in Purnia.

In a Hindu wedding, the seven circumambulations or saath pheras are the most important rituals. These are the vows that you solemnize with your partner. But if you get one extra vow, what would that be? This Delhi-based couple chose Swachh Bharat or clean India as the eighth vow.

On July 3rd, Ravi Ranjan and Gudiya Kumari took eight pheras around the pious fire in Purina district, Bihar. “I’m inspired by Modi Ji. I want to contribute in making India a clean country ,” says the 29-year-old sales manager at Clarks Inn Hotel, Delhi.

A life changing incident in Delhi inspired Ravi to work towards making his country clean. “I was looking for a washroom in Connaught Place, Delhi. When I couldn’t find one, I went to a corner wall which has been turned into a toilet by passers-by to release myself. As soon as I sat in my car, a lady came to me and said – If educated men like you will do this, how will we ever change this practise? I knew I was wrong and took a pledge to change whatever I can,” says Ranjan. This reminds us of an upcoming movie, Toilet, Ek Prem Katha where Bhumi Pednekar plays a woman who leaves her husband on the first day of their marriage after she gets to know that the house doesn’t have a toilet. Her husband (Akshay Kumar) then pledges to build a toilet for his wife. The movie that is releasing on 11th August has already struck a chord with people in remote villages.

People in remote Indian villages can relate to the theme of Toilet, Ek Prem Katha

However, adding his own tweak to the wedding ritual was not easy for Ravi. “My parents were not fine and didn’t accept the idea at first. I had to sit down with them to explain. Indian rituals sometimes need to change for the good and this was my way of doing this,” says Ranjan who went for a white wedding invite – not considered auspicious in Hindu religion – just to promote harmony and cleanliness. The card also had a logo of Swachh Bharat with the slogan, Ek kadam Swachhta Ki Aur and Sauchaliya Bin Dulhan Ka Shingar Adhoora Hai. His wife, Gudiya, a 26-year-old engineer, who works in Gurugram, was also surprised with the idea at first. But she has now joined Ravi in promoting the cause.

Ravi went for a white wedding card with a Swachh Bharat logo.

“Wedding are one of those occasions where you have relatives and guests coming from far off places. We had about 900 guests. I am sure that when they went back home, they would have talked about it. It will stay in their minds forever. I am glad we were able to successfully spread the message of clean India,” says a proud Ravi. On the same day, the couple also had the elders in the family plant mango trees. “Trees are the most invaluable gifts one can ever get. Planting trees is our way of giving it back to Mother Earth,” says Ravi.