The Gujarati Seva Samaj, Mumbai, spearheaded by Vile Parle resident and social activist Bimal Bhuta, has launched a unique initiative to help young couples who are not able to get married due to Covid-induced financial constraints. Members of the Gujarati Seva Samaj told Free Press Journal that they were moved by the plight of such couples, and help them get married absolutely free of cost.
The samaj not only provides the brides and the grooms the venue for the wedding, but also pays for their jewellery, gifts, and hosts a banquet, complete with food for the guests. “We have managed to help six couples get married in the past one month and more such weddings and other initiatives are in the pipeline,” Bhuta, who is the secretary of BJP Mumbai, said.
Bhuta, an entrepreneur dealing in food products, credits the Gujarati Seva Samaj-Mumbai’s core team of Nilesh Galia, Rupa Mehta, Tushar Katrecha, Dhaval Chheeda, Nimisha Trivedi and Hirav Patel for coming together to help people across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region.
“We would read about weddings getting cancelled due to financial constraints brought on by the pandemic. In some cases, the only earning member of the family died, and the tragedy left the son or the daughter about to get married in a lurch,” Bhuta said.
The community members diligently check the background of the applicants to ensure that genuine cases are benefitted from the scheme. “We are helping those who are financially-hit by Covid-19 or have lost senior or earning members in their family,” Bhuta said.
He mentioned that during the pre-pandemic days, mass weddings were arranged in various parts of the city, and that the samaj was following the same concept, but with lesser people, keeping in mind the pandemic protocols. “We circulate our message on social media, WhatsApp etc, and people approach us for help. On an average, we conduct three weddings in a day and we allot time slots to wedding parties to ensure not more than 50 people are present inside the hall and distancing rules are followed,” he said.
He maintained that the bride and groom don’t have to spend a penny as he and other members of the Gujarati Seva Samaj fully sponsor the event. “Everything is sponsored by us and we are helped in this cause by other samaj members, making it a community initiative,” he said. “The couples we are helping are based in Mumbai, its suburbs and the Metropolitan region. Before bringing them on board, we interview the bride and the groom, check their bank records and scrutinise their background thoroughly,” said Bhuta.
He said that he or the other members have never approached anyone for publicity. “People come to know about our work through social media. There is an urge to help fellow human beings,” he said.
Bhuta has studied in Australia and spent three years in Canada. During the pandemic, he and his friends helped out frontline workers by providing them with masks, sanitisers and oximeters. “I have spent a lot of time abroad, and with time I discovered that I want to come back to my nation and give it back to the society,” he said.
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