UNITED KINGDOM, December 24, 2017 (Daily Mail): More than 250 couples in India tied the knot on Sunday as part of a mass wedding hosted by an Indian diamond trader. The mass wedding in Surat featured 251 young couples, including five Muslim couples, a Christian couple and two women who are HIV positive. The celebration was hosted by Indian diamond trader Mahesh Savani in the western state of Gujarat. 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 2012. He performs the Hindu wedding ritual of Kanyadaan – the practice of giving away one’s daughter in marriage.
In previous years, Savani has given gifts of gold and household items, including sofas and beds, worth 500,000 rupees ($7,400) to each of the brides to help them start married life. Savani said he feels a social responsibility to help the woman who can’t afford their own weddings. 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 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 next to nil.