Mahesh Savani Short Biography
Mahesh Savani told The Times of India: ‘When we started this activity, we wanted to help Surti girls who have lost their father. Each year, the number kept going up and for the past two years, it has been economically feasible for us to do it alone.’
Mahesh Savani Charity for Marriages
Hundreds of fatherless brides have tied the knot in a mass ceremony in India.
The event runs from December 21-22 and has seen 271 brides married off in Surat, a large city beside the Tapi River in the west Indian state of Gujarat.
Among the girls chosen for the ceremony, five are Muslims and one is from Nepal. Two girls are from the state of Uttar Pradesh, five from Maharashtra and one each from Jharkhand and Odisha, according to local media.
The event which is held some 270 km from Ahmedabad has run for eight years in a row and is funded by diamond tycoon Mahesh Savani, who believes that giving away brides is a blessing from God, has been funding and organising mass weddings for fatherless women in Surat every year since 2010.
The event in 2012 saw just 23 girls getting married and has steadily increased since then.
Weddings in India are expensive affairs with the bride’s family traditionally expected to pay the groom a large dowry of cash and gifts.
Fathers in India also traditionally pay for their daughters’ weddings, which can mean that if a bride’s father has died or is extremely poor, her chances of getting married are almost non-existent.
Mahesh has said previously that he feels a ‘social responsibility’ to help the woman who can’t afford their own weddings. He said he began his campaign in 2008 after a distant relative died, which left him responsible for organising his daughter’s weddings.
So far, Mahesh has helped fund the weddings of 3,172 brides.