A TOTAL of 151 couples tied the knot in a free mass marriage ceremony organised by District Administration and social service organisations under Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojna at Quila Maidan on Sunday.
There were five Muslim couples also. MLA Usha Thakur told Hindustan Times that the objections taken on the name of ‘Malmas’ that is considered bad for any good work were baseless. Thakur said that Makar Sankranti was the best-suited occasion and these are all superstitious talks from people who do not want the society to progress.
The ceremony was held in traditional manner with Maulvi conducting Nikah for Muslims and pandits chanting mantra for the bride and groom. The government provided the couples with household goods worth Rs 8,000. These included almirah, bed, utensils, television and oven. Government officials and religious workers from Shri Gutkeshwar Dham managed the whole proceedings and controlled the crowd that thronged the venue of marriages.
The pandal where marriage ceremony was taking place was closed for all the relatives and only parents of bride and groom were allowed to enter. When asked about the constant nagging between the guards and relatives for entering the wedding site, ADM Rameshwar Gupta said that restricting the crowd was necessary to carry out the customs peacefully.
A Muslim couple Shamim and Sohrab, both of whom reside at Khajrana area in the city said that their parents were more than happy to get them married properly. Sohrab said that both the families are poor and live below poverty line.
Jaikumar Chauhan, father of physically challenged girl Reena said that the marriage was fixed by his family and the groom Subhash’s family but they conducted the ceremony here as both the families cannot afford to invite their relatives the way government did. Subhash is also physically challenged.
District Collector Vivek Aggarwal conducted Ganesh Puja on the stage simultaneously with the marriage ceremony. There were food stalls put up by different traders at Quila Maidan and relatives of bride and groom were seen busy making merry while the ceremony went on inside a closed pandal.
Some of the relatives had arranged for some private bandwallahs and the children danced to the music outside as the sound of holy verses echoed inside the pandal. Some of them however made constant efforts to enter the tent and witness the proceedings.
The cooks appointed for preparing food were busy since morning to prepare food for thousands of people who attended the function. The administration has invited only 20 relatives of each couple but as the system goes the crowd was much more than expected.
While many coupled tied the knot with their parents thanking the administration some of the applications were rejected as the bride or groom were find minors and hence not eligible for marriage.