SRINAGAR: In the first ever mass marriage in Kashmir, as many as 105 couples tied the knot in a simple function in Amar Singh Club here. The couples belonged to various parts of north Kashmir, including Srinagar.
Mass Marriage: Kashmir witnessed the first ever mass marriage event in which 105 couples tied the knots in an event organised by charity Jaffria Council Jammu and Kashmir. KL Image: Mehraj Bhat
“It is being done by the Jaffri Council of Jammu and Kashmir and this is the first such mass marriage,” Ghulam Rasool Chakan, the general secretary of the party said. “This, however, is the biggest such exercise understaffed by the Council.”
Chakan said it was for the first time in 2015 when the Council undertook marrying 38 couples from deserving categories of the society. “In 2016, we helped 70 couples marry in a joint function and in 2017, the number rose to 75,” he said. “So far, the 2018 function is the biggest such exercise.”
Grooms In Attendance: The grooms at the July 15, 2018 mass marriage event in Srinagar’s Amar Singh Club: KL Image: Mehraj Bhat
“In this mass marriage, we have couples from Uri, Sumbal, Pattan, Beerwa, Budgam, Khan Sahab, Baramulla and even from Srinagar,” Chakan said. He said Haji Manhas is presiding over the Council.
The Council has its office in Khomanie Chowk in Bemina. “Couples come and register with us and for a proof we seek their details and verify to check if they deserve the help,” Chakan said. “We visit their homes and recheck the details they submit.”
Sharing the good news: One of the brides at the July 15, 2018 mass marriage event talked to her friend on phone before she walked her home with her groom. KL Image: Mehraj Bhat
Chakan said they have a number of donors who do not wish to be identified and they function this annual exercise. “We give some items to the marking couples after the ceremony is over,” Chakan said. “This year, we are giving as many as 41 items to these new families as the basic support from the Council which the donors are funding.”
Offering details of the Council activities, the Council president Haji Musadiq Hussain told Kashmir Life that after taking over the group, they had a modest start. “Though it existed earlier, the real work started after the September 2014 devastating floods when we launched modest relief operations in Sonawari belt,” Haji said. “Gradually we got help from people and we felt encouraged take up the mass marriages.” The group has taken roots from Bhatindi in Jammu and is a registered NGO that operates in Kashmir as well.
“We have a selfless team of 125 people including religious scholars, youth and clerics who are working round the clock for the noble cause,” Haji said. “We want to tell the people that Muslims are supposed to make marriages simple and less expensive.” Most of the marriages that were solemnized on Sunday did not cost the council beyond Rs 50,000 each.
A Frame To Remember: Grooms sit with the Jaffria Council members for a group photograph after the mass wedding event on July 15, 2018 was over in Srinagar. KL Image: Mehraj Bhat
Council, Haji said, has plans to go for these marriages at district levels so that the section of the people that can not afford the fat weddings will avail it.
In Sunday’s mass marriages, there were 38 couples from Budgam, 34 from Bandipore, two each from Srinagar and Ganderbal and 29 from Baramulla district. “We covered 11 assembly constituencies,” Haji emphasized.
As the word about the mass marriage spread, there were hundreds of people who came to be part of the major event. Media, donors and the families of the 105 families along with the organisers converted the Amar Singh Club into a major activity space on Sunday.