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This wedlock may turn Copenhagen green with envy

lucknow Updated: Dec 11, 2009 13:49 IST
Pankaj Jaiswal

Here is a rural wedding that can be of immense academic interest at Copenhagen's Climate Change summit. A boy, 24 and a girl, 20, getting into the wedlock on Saturday (December 12) have carbon emission on their mind more than the honeymoon. Thhey are planning a green wedding. The two are just matriculates from village schools.

Cotton clothes coloured in turmeric would dress the two up for the occasion instead of any wedding fineries. The girl's family would give a Tusli (Holy Basil) sapling to the boy's family as a dowry.

The groom's procession would go to bride's house in bullock carts and horse carriages and not fossil fuel-driven cars or jeeps. The groom and relatives would plant saplings for four trees-two trees respectively to neutralise all the carbon that the man and the woman would generate in their lifetime.

Sangam Singh of Mataun village in Banda district of Uttar Pradesh weds Mandvi Singh of Pachpehra village of Mahoba district. The two villages are 5 km apart. The beginning of this green marriage would take place at girl's house 240-kilometer southwest of Lucknow.

"The day I learn that my wife has conceived, the two of us would plant saplings for two more trees to neutralise carbon that the kid would generate," said Sangam Singh, the groom.

Coming from affluent farmers' families, both the bride and the groom cannot be called well-educated but have started showing high environmental consciousness, said their Wedding Planner, Pushpendra Kumar Singh, 55, who actually is a Bundelkhand drought activist.

"A tea spoon of ghee when put in fire releases 40 kg of oxygen. So spoonfuls of ghee would be dropped in every fire at the wedding," said Pushpendra.

The entire ceremony would be conducted by a set of eleven Brahmins (Hindu priests) led by Ashok Awasthi, a priest. They would initiate the ceremony by first organising a worship to 'a tree-a cow-an ox-a wooden plough-water'. "All this is traditional Hindu and Bundelkhandi rituals that are actually have ancient environmental wisdom into it," said Awasthi who actually is the Principal of Vamdev Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya, Banda.

All guests would participate in the ceremony to plant the saplings for four trees. By holding 'rice grains-turmeric-cotton thread-water-kusha(a grass)', they all would pledge to bring in lifestyle changes in sync with the Mother Nature.

There will be no fireworks in the wedding. Conch shells and drumbeats would make auspicious and ceremonial sounds respectively. "We all know that blowing of conch sound purifies atmosphere," said the bride Mandavi.

The wedding crown for the groom would be of palm leaves and the feast would be served in leaf plates and cups.

The couple says that they know about global warming and climate change and even rural India contributes a lot to pollution through their fertilizers, fuels and changing lifestyle.

Yes, there were initial hiccups-the boy was concerned that such a ceremony would not befit the status of the clan. "But good 'environmental' sense prevailed. We want our wedding and rest of the lifestyle an inspiration for other villagers to follow."

A dhobi woman would give natural 'sindoor' to the bride that married Hindu women put in the parting of their hair.