First 'cash-less' mass marriage to be held in Gujarat

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on January 13, 2018 Published on February 17, 2017


All expenses including 'dakshina' to be made through digital or cheque modes

Imagining a pundit (priest) sitting in the 'marriage pandal' with a swipe machine and visitors offering cheques for the 'kanya daan' is no longer an unrealistic situation to think of. On Sunday, February 19, 2017 similar scenes will be created when nine couples will tie the knots of marriage at a mass wedding in Bayad town in North Gujarat, but sans cash.

The wedding, as claimed by the convener of the mass wedding for Vankar Samaj - widely known as weavers community, will have no cash transactions for activities relating to the marriage including kanyaa daan (voluntary offerings to the bride).

"This is an effort to become transparent from the financial point of view and more equitable from the social point of view. Be it rich or poor, anyone who is participating in this mass wedding will not showcase their cash-power. The community believes that the cash transactions are the cause of corruption and this is a first step and a humble beginning to get rid of it," said Hasmukh Saxena, convener of the Shri Veermaya Vankar Samaj Sudharak Samiti - the organiser of the mass marriage.

The community, which is concentrated mainly in the 47 nearby villages of Bayad taluka, collectively decided to experiment with cashless marriage and set an example for their next generations. "Leaders of our community floated the idea. After initial hesitations, all of us reciprocated to it positively," said Saxena.

All the financial transactions relating to the mass marriage including purchase of gifts, payments for shamiana, caterers and even dakshina to the pundit is to be made either through digital modes, RTGS or through cheques. "We have taken services of only those, who have their bank accounts," added Saxena.

Interestingly, the participants of the mass marriage have a variety of family background such as police sub inspector, teacher, farmer and peasants with monthly family income ranging between Rs 5000 to Rs 50,000. The mass marriage, second for the community in last two years, is seen as tool to bridge the divide between rich and poor.

Notably, a Private Member's Bill is likely to be placed in the Lok Sabha seeking to put a cap on the marriage spends. Saxena believes their initiative of doing it cash-less is a step in that direction, thereby making every money to be accounted for.

However, the cashless marriage isn't the first such experiment in Gujarat, earlier in December 2016 during the "NoteBandi" under demonetisation, a Surat-based family conducted a cashless marriage of the couple, where guests were asked to offer their gifts through cheques, debit and credit cards in stead of using cash.

"This is the first such mass marriage in the country where a community has joined the cashless drive. What makes our effort successful is the fact that we received donation of as small an amount of Rs 22 through a cheque," said Saxena.

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Published on February 17, 2017
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