In October, a Surat businessman gave cars as gifts to 1,200 of his employees. Now another businessman from the city has done something equally eye-catching and heartwarming.
On Nov 30, the chairman of PP Savani Group Mahesh Savani sponsored the wedding of 111 girls who had lost their fathers. The marriage venue in Surat was at his company premises and over 55,000 people attended the wedding. Mr Savani also arranged for gifts worth Rs4.5 lakhs - including gold and silver sets, furniture and other household items - to be given to each girl for their post-marriage life.
Of the brides, 106 are Hindus, two Jains and three Muslims. Nearly 300 members of the PP Savani family and 800 workers toiled over three months for the event. They arranged for nearly 1,800kg of rice, 1,400kg of pulses, 1,500kg of barfi (sweet made from cashew), 700kg of ice cream and 2,000kg of puri for the wedding celebrations.
Mr Savani aims to pay for the wedding of at least 1,001 girls who do not have fathers. After conducting the wedding of these 111 girls, he has in total paid for the marriage of 251 girls.
"Material gifts are not important, but I have given my name to them and will fulfil all my responsibilities as a father of the bride for the rest of my life," he told AFP before the ceremony.
The businessman, who deals in real estate and diamonds, says he began funding weddings several years ago, after an employee died 12 days before he was due to marry off his two daughters. "I do not ask for any donations for the mass marriage. This is my endeavour, as there is nothing more pious than giving away a daughter in marriage," he was quoted as saying in The Times of India.
One of the brides told the paper: "He is like a father not only to me but my brothers and sisters as well. I thank God for sending a person like him into my life."
The next mass wedding will be held on Dec 6 next year.
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