A wealthy Indian man recently hosted, and paid for, the wedding of 236 fatherless brides. Mahesh Savani, a diamond tycoon, even gave the newlyweds gifts worth thousands of dollars each.
In India, it is traditionally the bride’s father who pays for his daughter’s wedding, this means a potential bride whose father has died, or living in poverty, she may not have the chance to ever get married. Many poor young Indian women are also deprived of the valued tradition of kanyadaan, wherein a father gives away one’s daughter in marriage.
The generous multi-millionaire decided to do something for the women by paying for a mass wedding held in Gujarat yesterday, with he himself performing kanyadaan for all of the brides, Daily Mail reported.
For wedding gifts, each bride received gold and home furniture worth 500,000 rupees ($7,350) from the generous sponsor.
According to Savani, giving away brides during the ceremony was a form of blessing from God. The number of brides reached a total of 238 as two of his sons also got married at the ceremony.
He also said that the recent ceremony was not the first time he performed the gesture.
“With Sunday’s mass wedding, I have become a proud father to have performed the kanyadaan of over 700 girls,” he was quoted as saying.
In an aerial video footage, covered by a local TV station, the huge wedding was shown with the hundreds of brides wearing their colorful gowns and ornaments.
An incident in 2008 inspired Savani to take on the role of the bride’s “father” after one of his employees, who has a daughter about to get married, died just days before the wedding.