CHENNAI: Shree Geeta Bhavan Trust, in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Differently-Abled Federation Charitable Trust (TNDFC), has announced that it will organise mass marriages for the disabled for the seventh consecutive year, in December. The counselling for the marriages will begin in September. “We are looking to get at least 60-70 couples married this year,”said Ashok Kumar Goel, managing trustee of Shree Geeta Bhavan Trust, at a press conference recently.
According to members of the trust, the mass wedding programme will take place in three phases. The first stage, Swayamvaram, will be held in 10 locations in the State: Thiruvarur, Perambalaur, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Madurai, Trivellore, Kanyakumari, Erode, Coimbatore and Chennai.
The shortlisted pairs will then be asked to appear before a counselling panel which comprises doctors, psychiatrists, lawyers, clinical technologists and counsellors. “The counselling panel ensures that only those fit for marriage will get to the next stage. For instance, those who have previously been married must produce the divorce or the death certificate of their former partners to go ahead,” said Ashok Kumar. The final stage will be the wedding, where each couple can invite four guests.
“We give each couple a gold mangalyam, a silver metti, clothing, ornaments and a makeup kit. Basic household necessities like groceries for two months, travel bags, bed spreads etc are also taken care of. The entire cost for the marriage along with these supplies will be borne by the Geeta Bhavan Trust,” he said. Breakfast, lunch and snacks will also be provided, he added.
P Simmachandran, president TNDFC, said people from all walks of life, irrespective of caste, creed, religion or economic background could participate in the mass wedding. Besides this, once the couple got married, the trust would also extend financial aid for their children's education and medical treatment. According to members of the trust, 286 marriages had been conducted in the past. “Last year we did not put off the weddings despite the floods.” About 22 couples came here on December 2 and we got them married,” said Ashok Kumar.
(The applications for the mass wedding are available at www.tndfctrust.com)