Seeking to promote new bonds through group marriages

April 4th, 2008 - 8:15 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) In a bid to promote more inter-caste, inter-religion weddings and widow remarriages, a voluntary organisation here is conducting group marriages Sunday where 19 couples are set to tie the knot. Mohini Giri, vice-chairperson of the Guild of Services, the NGO conducting the event, said that the initiative was started way back in 1971 with the aim of encouraging widow remarriages.

“After the 1971 Indo-Pak war, there were 20,000 young widows left to fend for themselves. That made me want to do something for them…After all, a widow has every right to have her physical and emotional needs satisfied,” Giri told IANS.

“Ever since then, I have been organising this group marriage. Over a period of time, we started promoting more inter-religious marriages and those in which the parents can’t afford a lavish wedding for their children. This is also an attempt to eliminate the practice of dowry,” she added.

Of the 19 couples, three are Muslim and the others belong to various castes of the Hindu community. Most of the couples are from Delhi and its neighbouring areas.

“This time we don’t have any Sikh and Christian couples. We have also organised group marriages in Kashmir and Mathura. In Chandigarh, we got 100 Sikh couples married in 1986,” Giri said.

The group wedding is conducted twice a year, once in November and once in April.

“Generally we organise the marriages on April 14, but this time since the delegates who have come for the Indo-Africa summit to Delhi wanted to attend these weddings, we will organise these on April 6. All marriages are, of course, registered,” she said.

Giri said that in the 27 years since the idea was implemented, she has realised that widow remarriages in which children are involved generally don’t work out.

“Since we started in 1971, 1,800-2,000 widow remarriages, in which both the partners have children from previous marriages, have failed. And this has happened, in some cases, after 20 years of their marriage!” she said.

“This trend, of course, cannot be generalised. Exceptions are always there,” Giri stressed.

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