A modern-day swayamvar for the disabled

Published: 19th September 2016 03:21 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2016 12:38 PM   |  A+A-


CHENNAI: A normal life, a soul-mate and a happy marriage — these are things that most of us wish for. But for persons with disabilities, it seems almost impossible. Faced with challenges in all walks of life, ‘should physical disability deprive them of a happy married life?’ Shree Geeta Bhavan Trust and Tamil Nadu Differently Abled Federation Charitable Trust (TNDFcT) have the answer. And no…they don’t just preach but practice their beliefs.

This year, they are back with the seventh edition of ‘Swayamvaram’ for the differently-abled and economically weaker section. City Express chats with the organisers to get a glimpse of this year’s swayamvaram.

Mariammal found her soulmate Velmurugan during the 2015 edition of the Swayamvaram, and shares that her wedding was the most memorable event. “I can never forget my wedding. My husband and I went to the hall two seconds before the muhurtham time,” she giggles, “But this is the best we could ask for. I found my life partner and I don’t think even our parents would have done so much for our wedding,” she said.

Ashok Kumar Goel, managing trustee, Shree Geeta Bhavan, shares that the trust wanted to propagate the message that people who are physically challenged shouldn’t feel left out. “We wanted to tell them that people cared about their lives and future. This was the main reason behind the swayamvaras,” he said.

moderna.jpgThere are plans to include nine districts in Tamil Nadu including Thiruvallur, Perambalur, Villupuram and Erode and over 30 couples will be selected in the coming days for the wedding, which is to be held in the second week of December 2016. Working in co-ordination with TNDFcT, this year the celebrations are going to be grand, said Simma Chandran, president TNDFcT .

Having the credit of initiating marriages for the physically challenged in TN, he added, “The reason for such successful editions is the systematic procedure in of shortlisting couples. We don’t get them married for the sake of it. We are very particular about the health condition, age and also the interests of the couples,” he shared. Over 300 couples have been married so far.

To be a part of the Swayamvaram, the physically challenged persons should buy an application and register their names. “They can be divorcees, widows, unmarried or widowers. But, they must produce all documents indicating their social status, employment, medical certificates and details of their life history,” he explained.

The details will then be verified by a panel of police, lawyers, doctors, psychiatrists, gynaecologists and social activists.

Free accommodation, food and travel expenses will be covered for the selected couples. “Every year, the participation from Chennai has been poorcompared to other districts. This year, we hope things  will change,” added Chandran. The marriage will be conducted according to Hindu traditions and the trust at the time of the marriage will give away articles such as silver toe ring, mangalsutra, utensils, clothes and groceries for one month.

For details, call 2835 1513


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