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Parikalpana helps 211 widows, divorcees remarry

ON THE face of it, the setting was typical of a mass marriage venue - the hustle and bustle of relatives, large number of guests and rows of hawan kunds surrounded by decked up and shy brides and expectant bridegrooms at the marriage site.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2006 17:36 IST

ON THE face of it, the setting was typical of a mass marriage venue - the hustle and bustle of relatives, large number of guests and rows of hawan kunds surrounded by decked up and shy brides and expectant bridegrooms at the marriage site.

Majority of women who exchanged vows around the holy fire to tie the nuptials were doing it for the second time in their life.

In some cases, however, circumstances led to separation from partners leaving the women to fight it out alone. In what turned out to be probably the biggest widow mass marriage ceremony in country, 211 couples (two of them Muslim) from across the State got married on the pious day of Basant Panchami at the Railway Sports Ground here on Friday.

The event was made possible by tireless efforts of over six months by the volunteers of social organisation, Parikalpana.

Breaking through all kinds of social and mental barriers, Parikalpana volunteers led by Ramcharan Chouksey and Dr Jaiprakash Paliwal managed to convince the families, several times children, of widows, divorcees and forsaken women for remarriage.

They also managed to find suitable grooms, most of them widowers or divorcees themselves, but some bachelors as well.
On Friday, 65-year-old Nanhelal married 50-year-old Guddibai and 61-year-old Goverdhanlal married 55-year-old Kausa Bai to take another shot at life.

On other hand, 30-year-old Hukum Singh took a bold step by marrying his widowed elder sister-in-law Chanda. With ages ranging from 25 to 65, the stories were more or less the same. The marriage ceremony was conducted in a ritualistic manner in consultation with respective religious leaders.

“We tried to take care of the sentiments, constitutional laws and religious diktats. We think we have been quite successful,’’ organising committee president Dr Jai Prakash Paliwal said while talking to Hindustan Times.

Religious leaders including Swami Navinanand and Swami Sushilanand, Shahar Qazi Abdul Latif and Fr Anil Martin attended the function. The Shahar Qazi himself got two Muslim couples married in a separate Nikaah ceremony.

Also present on the occasion were Union Minister Suresh Pachauri, Mayor Sunil Sood, Finance Minister Raghavji and Culture Minister Laxmikant Sharma.

Although the organisation had planned on 51 marriages initially, it had to finally conduct 211 marriages in two phases - 160 couples being married in morning and the remaining 51 couples in afternoon. The couples, mostly from poor families, were given sponsored gifts before being given a traditional bidaai.

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 17:36 IST