Mass wedding ceremony: An economical mode of marriage

KARACHI: The joyful feelings on faces of eighty newly wedded couples were worth watching who were about to enter into a new phase of life during a mass wedding ceremony held last week in the city.

A collective wedding or mass wedding referred to a marriage ceremony in which several couples are married at the same time in one venue. It is one of the preferred modes of marriage for economic and social reasons to make the costs of venue, decorations, and celebrations affordable for the low-income families.

In Pakistan, the financial support for such noble cause is often provided either by different charity organizations or individuals to bind the deserving couples into families.

It is not easy to afford the expenses of marriage even for the well-off families in terms of dowry, bedroom accessories, foods and rituals. Therefore, for some parents, it is only a dream to be realized.

However, last Sunday, Pakistan Hindu Council, has made the dream of hundreds of parents possible when it organized an elegant function of mass wedding ceremony for eighty Hindu couples to tie their nuptial knots.

The ambiance wore a festive look while joy was written large on the faces of the decked-up brides and the well-dressed grooms escorted by equally excited parents, relatives and friends.

In order to make the occasion memorable for the guests and new couples, the venue was extensively decorated. It was almost full to its capacity with many invited guests who were ensuring their presence to see the real spirit of the rituals which could otherwise be watched only in movies.

The large number of community members who were reaching the site from cities and towns other than Karachi, turned the event more exceptional with the presence of a sizable number of guests representing Muslim and Christian communities.

Talking to reporter, Ahmed Ali, the next door neighbor of the groom, Preetam, a resident of Ranchore Line said, “We are here to extend our good wishes to the newly wedded couples.”

Member of the National Assembly, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, the man behind the initiative, said, primarily the idea was to facilitate those couples who were unable to arrange the ceremony due to resource constraints as it involved extensive rituals.

He said, “The most righteous act was to help the couples who could not afford the charges of wedding ceremonies to tie their knot.” Like any other religion, marriage was an important component of dharam (religious duty) and also an essential pillar of the Hindu family system.

According to the MNA, a clear message was also communicated to the international community that Hindus in Pakistan had equal religious, social and political rights.

Referring to active participation of the members from other religious communities in the ceremony, he said, this makes manifestation of the fact that a vast majority of Pakistanis believe in the principles of tolerance, diversity and interfaith harmony.

The President of Pakistan Hindu Council, Gopal Kamuani said that the organization was actively engaged to uplift the Sindh-based Hindu community. He said that over the years, mass wedding has assumed tremendous importance as community requirement.

The President said, “It was largely the parents of the would-be couples who approached us themselves for the arrangement.” He said that having National Identity Cards were prerequisite for everyone to avoid under-age marriages.

Likewise, their applications were thoroughly scrutinized while ensuring age of the new couples as well status so that only deserve were served, he added.

Eighty separate sets of dowry each comprised of crockery, electronic items, bedroom accessories, jewellery, cash and other items for daily use, were also put on display.

Member of Provincial Assembly of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Mangla Sharma appreciated that the support would definitely help the couples to start their married life with essential support.

Community members on the occasion also acknowledged the assistance extended by different organizations and individuals for the much cherished cause.

Parshotam Ramani who was actively involved in organizing the day-long ceremony, felicitated the young couples for starting a new phase of their life. He said that twenty other couples from remote parts of the province would also be provided with similar assistance in next few days. Out of the 80 newly married couples, 14 were from Karachi while the remaining were from other different districts of the province, he added.