[Ajinkya and Snehal, both computer engineers, during the marriage ceremony on January 24, 2017. (Photo arranged by Ajinkya Bhuse)]
Malegaon: Started as a noble cause and an appreciable initiative to bring smile on the faces of poor and marginalized, mass marriages and wedding ceremonies, though a norm across the globe, are mostly organized nowadays as an event to garner political mileage and publicity.
Worst, at some of such events, couples are subjected to humiliation and even made to realise their status, and also the favour the organisers “extend” to them.
Malegaon had the one organized on Tuesday January 24, but it was of a totally different kind to what we read about in newspapers occasionally.
It was the 4th ‘Mass Wedding Ceremony” organised by Dada Bhuse, Minister of State for Cooperation in Maharashtra Government. But, what was special about this year’s event was along with the 94 couples belonging to different faiths, religions and castes, Ajinkya Bhuse, Dada Bhuse’s elder son, also decided to tie the nuptial knot in the mass marriage function organized by his father.
“It was easy for Ajinkya to convince his father, a minister and three-time MLA from Malegaon, to throw a lavish wedding ceremony for him. But, he chose otherwise and decided to get married in the mass wedding ceremony along with other couples”, a close aide of Ajinkya Bhuse, said.
For Ajinkya himself the event became a moment of lifetime.
“Marriage is a memorable event in everyone’s life. But, what I went through after I tied the knot in the mass marriage along with so many couples cannot be described in words. It was memorable, class and unforgettable moment of my life – beyond my imagination and expectation”, he said while talking to ummid.com.
The same feelings were shared by Snehal Ajinkya Bhuse – daughter of Pravin Aher, a businessman based in Nashik. Ajinkya and Snehal both are computer engineers.
“It was a dream fairytale marriage to say the least”, Snehal said.
The Malegaon Eid Gah ground, where the ceremony was held, was given a glittering bridal look two days in advance. On the wedding day, Tuesday January 24, 2017, the Baarat started from Shivaji Putla. The Mosum Bridge and adjoining roads were full of exuberant locals. Some of them had even come from outside. Cheering and celebrating, they were all dancing on the tunes of DJ music and popular Bollywood numbers.
“Along with DJ music and popular Bollywood songs, we had also arranged music to suit people from all faith, caste and religion including duff played during Muslim marriages”, Ajinkya said. “Special care was taken to hire orchestra and professionals for this purpose.”
According to a rough estimate, more than 70,000 people enjoyed the “marriage dinner” along with 94 couples – one of them Ajinkya Bhuse and his wife Snehal, and their relatives and friends.
In reply to a question, Ajinkya said the family wanted to set an example, a social example, while deciding to arrange his marriage in the mass wedding ceremony.
“It was all about bringing smile on the faces of poor. Mass marriage ceremonies are not new. We also organized it three times in the past. But, we felt it will be very special for the marrying couples if my wife and I also join with them – on the same ground, in the same pandal and in front of the same gathering – a gathering reminiscent of India’s cultural diversity and communal harmony”, he said.
So, did Ajinkya’s message reach the masses?
Certainly yes if the way people are talking about the marriage ceremony a week after it was held is any indicator. And there are people in the city who want to emulate it for their kin.
“Marriages are becoming expensive day by day – something very difficult for those who can’t afford. Forced by tradition, some take loan or sell properties for marriages of their sons and daughters. Ajinkyas have set a very good example and provided a unique yet practical solution for this”, Asma Jabeen, a teacher, said.
"I would love to repeat it for my son", she added.