A couple from Amravati who recently tied the knot, decided to forgo all elaborate wedding rituals, lunches and dinners. They had a registered marriage in the presence of just a few guests. They donated the money they had saved to 10 farmer families who had lost their sole earning member as a result of farmer suicide. Abhay Deware, IRS officer, and Preeti Kumbhare, Assistant Manager with IDBI Bank, Mumbai Branch, decided to donate Rs 20,000 to each of these ten families.
The wedding was attended by farm activist Chandrakant Wankhede, who addressed the guests on the issue of farmer suicides. Various posters and banners regarding the issue were displayed at the venue. Additionally, the couple provided books on competitive examinations worth Rs 52,000 to five libraries in Amravati, including their native village Umbarda Bazaar in Karanja Lad.
Abhay’s meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee had a great influence on him. The President had advised Abhay to become an agent of socio-economic change. Preeti also believes that social change can be brought about by leading through example. It’s this bent of mind that led both to opt for a low-profile wedding.
On researching, Abhay realised that over Rs 1 lakh crore is spent only on marriages in India every year. Abhay told The Times Of India, “It’s a staggering amount in a poor country like ours where even the budget is around Rs 16 lakh crore. The study further mentions that despite a huge disparity in the standard of living, people spend anywhere from Rs 3 lakh to Rs 5 crore on a wedding.”
Abhay added that the same survey also pointed out that marriages were one of the reasons due to which many families borrowed money, due to the huge expenditure involved. Due to social pressures, those from the lower strata of society are forced to sell their property, take loans and spend life earnings on weddings.
Earlier this year, Think Change India published a story on another couple who donated money to farmer families instead of having a large, expensive wedding.