Asia Pacific

Muslim couple to partake in mass wedding in Delhi temple

Bhawna and her younger brother, Vikas, could not hide their excitement on the eve of their weddings on Friday, March 13, 2015.

"It will be a new beginning for me," said Bhawna, 21.

She and her brother are among 50 poor couples, one of them Muslim, who will get married as part of a mass wedding ceremony organised by an NGO at Chhatarpur Mandir in south Delhi, India.

Kalavati, the widow mother of Bhawna, 21, and Vikas, 20, is also eagerly awaiting the big day.

"I cannot bear the expense of my daughter and son's wedding. So the mass marriage is a big relief for me," the obviously relieved mother said.

The event which is being organised by Ladali Foundation Group, will have a special arrangement for Haider, 20, and his bride Bilkesh, 18, to solemnise a Muslim wedding.

Bilkesh, who lives in Okhla, will tie the knot with Haider, who is a tempo driver, in the presence of the bride's nine siblings.

Bilkesh's mother, Aasha Begam, said: "I have 10 kids and three of my daughters' marriages were arranged by my neighbours. As my husband is a labourer, a mass marriage is the most suitable option for Bilkesh."

Renu, a 22-year-old graduate who hails from Badarpur, will tie the knot with Monu, 25.

The eldest among five siblings claimed she found her perfect match on her own.

"My father is a vegetable seller and he cannot afford the cost of my marriage," said Renu.

Ladali Foundation group president Devendra Gupta said: "Our aim is to arrange weddings of girls from poor families."

Recalling the difficulties he faced while organising his two sisters' marriage, Gupta said: "The government has launched a 'beti bachao and beti padhao' scheme but there is no government policy for girls' marriages"

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