251 couples – including five Muslim couples, a Christian couple and two women who are HIV positive – have tied the knot in a mass wedding ceremony in India hosted by Indian diamond trader Mahesh Savani.
Weddings are very expensive, and in India the bride’s family is traditionally expected to pay the groom a large dowry of cash and gifts. If a bride’s father has died or is extremely poor, her chances of getting married are very slim.
Savani has been funding and organising mass wedding celebrations for fatherless women in Surat, Gujarat, every year since 2012, having initially started his charitable campaign following the death of one of his employees who died just days before his daughter’s wedding. He has arranged and funded the weddings of more than 2,000 couples.
“I have taken the responsibility as their father,” he told the Indian Express. “This time real estate developer Sanjay Movaliya is also helping us.”