A diamond tycoon from India has made it his annual tradition to arrange mass weddings for women who don’t have parents and are unable to finance the nuptials themselves.
In the past eight years, businessman Mahesh Savani of PP Savani Group has paid for the weddings of more than 3,000 couples.
This year, 261 brides, including six Muslim and three Christian couples, tied the knot with their grooms in a ceremony administered by Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, according to DNA India. Among the brides, 118 had no brothers or sisters and 54 were orphans.
Standing in for the brides’ fathers, Mahesh was joined by several Indian Administrative Service and Indian police officers in performing the Hindu wedding ritual of Kanyadaan.
Kanyadaan involves the practice of giving away one’s daughter in marriage.
All the newlyweds this year received useful gifts such as household items to start their new lives. Each couple was also provided insurance worth 200,000 rupees ($2,850).
In earlier interviews, Mahesh explained that he feels that it was his “social responsibility” to help women who can’t afford their own weddings.
In India, it is usually the father’s responsibility to pay for their daughter’s wedding. This means that if a bride’s father has died or is extremely poor, she has little to no chance of getting married in a ceremony.
Indian weddings are also traditionally expensive, with the bride’s family expected to pay the groom a large dowry of cash and gifts.
According to Mahesh, he started his generous tradition in 2008 when he took over the responsibility of organizing the wedding of the daughter of a distant relative who passed away. So far, he has
helped fund the weddings of 3,172 couples.