Hindu couples mass wed in Pakistan

The couples performed the seven rounds around the fire while rituals unique to each family were held inside their individual mandaps.

Islamabad: 60 Hindu couples from poor
families tied the knot at a mass wedding organised by an NGO
in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi.

The couples sat in colourfully designed mandaps at
the YMCA Lawn during the event organised yesterday by the
Pakistan Hindu Council, which bore all expenses and provided
the dowry for the brides.

Each couple was allowed to bring 20 guests and the
bride was given jewellery, a bed set, quilts and blankets, a
television, an iron, clothes and utensils, Pakistan Hindu
Council president Ramesh Kumar Vankhwani said.

Some of the couples hailed from Karachi while others
were from different parts of Sindh province, including
Mirpurkhas, Tando Allah Yar, Thatta, Hyderabad, Jacobabad,
Jamshoro and Ghotki.

The pandit gave instructions over the microphone and
all couples followed in synchronicity.

The couples performed the seven rounds around the
fire while rituals unique to each family were held inside
their individual mandaps.

The Hindus from the Rathore community made the groom
carry a dagger while taking the rounds.

Members of the community said this was a legacy of
their kings and helped to ward off evil.

Dheeraj Kumar, the brother of a groom, said his
brother was engaged for a year but the family did not have the
money to arrange a wedding.

Groom Vijay and his bride Komal were very happy at
the wedding.

"It`s a different experience," Vijay said.
Haresh and Dema found out about the wedding two days
ago and had little time to prepare.

"I only bought my clothes a night before the wedding
and had to get them stitched too," Dema said.

The couple said they would go to their village to
perform other rituals with the rest of their families.
Haresh`s sister-in-law said the family was planning to
spend Rs 80,000 on the wedding but managed to save nearly Rs
50,000.

Though arrangements were made for 4,000 guests, many
more attended the event.

An elderly woman named Mamta could not hide her
excitement.

"It may essentially be a cheap way to wed for the poor
but it is also good that it brings together so many people of
different sects together," she said.

PTI

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