Dec 25, 2017

Diamond tycoon becomes father to hundreds of fatherless brides (Pics)

More than 250 couples in India tied the knot on Sunday as part of a mass wedding hosted by an Indian diamond trader.

The mass wedding in Surat featured 251 young couples, including five Muslim couples, a Christian couple and two women who are HIV positive.

The celebration was hosted by Indian diamond trader Mahesh Savani in the western state of Gujarat.

Savani, who believes that giving away brides is a blessing from God, has been funding and organising mass weddings for fatherless women in Surat every year since 2012.

He performs the Hindu wedding ritual of 'Kanyadaan' - the practice of giving away one's daughter in marriage.

Hundreds of brides in colourful ethnic attire and ornate jewellery performed their wedding rituals in front of thousands of guests in the city of Surat, a hub for the diamond polishing industry.

In previous years, Savani has given gifts of gold and household items, including sofas and beds, worth 500,000 rupees ($7,400) to each of the brides to help them start married life.

It is believed that this year's women will receive similar gifts.

Savani said he feels a 'social responsibility' to help the woman who can't afford their own weddings.

'I have taken the responsibility as their father,' he told the Indian Express. 'This time real estate developer Sanjay Movaliya is also helping us.'

Weddings in India are expensive affairs with the bride's family traditionally expected to pay the groom a large dowry of cash and gifts.

Fathers in India traditionally pay for their daughters' weddings, which can mean that if a bride's father has died or is extremely poor, her chances of getting married are next to nil.

Hundreds of people, mostly family members and neighbors of the couple, are hosted at lavish meals over a number of days adding to the costs.

Savani said he began his charitable campaign in 2008 when one of his own employees died just days before his daughter's wedding.

It is not known how much the giant ceremony cost.

(Pics & story :