"The differently-abled individuals want to be treated equally"
In an attempt to help underprivileged individuals, Narayan Seva Sansthan (NSS) organised the 36th mass wedding ceremony in Udaipur, India.
21 differently-abled couples tied the knot in September 2021 whilst endorsing the social campaign ‘Say No To Dowry’.
Simultaneously, the couples maintained social distancing rules during the mass wedding in order to promote the rules surrounding Covid-19.
Narayan Seva Sansthan is a non-profit charitable organisation.
It is known for providing philanthropic services in the field of treatment and rehabilitation of polio-affected people.
There are 26.8 million people with disabilities in India according to the 2011 census of India.
Even more alarming is that women with disabilities in India are more likely to be marginalised in comparison to their male counterparts.
In general, people who do have a disability in India are blocked from accessing healthcare, education and basic necessities.
Women can also suffer torment and abuse whilst being shunned from public places and shelters.
This is where the NSS comes in. Its charitable services have helped over 424,850 individuals with free corrective surgeries as well as free education to tribal children.
Their efforts explain the 19-year-old tradition of mass wedding ceremonies which are dedicated towards the underprivileged.
Their solidarity with the ‘Say No To Dowry‘ campaign also emphasised the dangerous nature of dowry giving.
Heavily focused on money, the dowry tradition has led to countless deaths within India which have seen a meteoric rise in the move for its abolishment.
Moreover, the differently-abled couples got married whilst adhering to social distancing rules and wearing masks.
The message was clear – stay safe, stay protected and follow the rules in order to speed up the road to normality.
The individuals urged the public to get vaccinated in order to help society and help curve the cases within India.
In addition, the couples were greeted with beautiful wedding gifts provided by family members and donors.
This emphasises the incredible work that the NSS is doing for these communities and the locals of Udaipur.
For example, Divyang Roshan Lal, a 26-year-old resident of Udaipur is preparing for the REET exam in Rajasthan. His free operation and skill training classes are provided by the NSS.
32-year-old Kamala Kumari tied the knot with Divyang’s at the mass wedding and he revealed:
“Some lessons we learn from life are when you need very few steps forward to support and we think these few have made a huge difference to the lives of people like us.
“Narayan Seva Sansthan has been a pillar as it came forward and gave us the direction of life, due to which we are now moving towards a new life.
“I am sure I will be able to be a good teacher too someday in this life.”
Speaking of the importance of the NSS, the president Prashant Agarwal expressed:
“Over the years we have been conducting free corrective surgeries, distribution of ration kits, measurements and operating limbs for the differently-abled.
“Conducting skill development classes and mass marriage ceremonies as well as talent development activities to empower the differently-abled.”
The inspiring work of the NSS means more people feel comfortable in seeking help.
In some cases, India can be a hostile environment for the underprivileged but the NSS provides a safe haven.
Manoj Kumar, a resident of Surat, Gujarat, is working in Tata Motors. He has also been operated on in NSS for a leg operation and expresses:
“I am extremely happy to see how I found Sant Kumari to be the best partner in my life through the Sansthan.”
Manoj’s wife, 24-year-old Divyang Sant Kumari, adds to this and reports:
“The differently-abled individuals want to be treated equally and justly in the society.”
After marriage, Divyang wants to start her own stitching company with the skills she has as a seamstress. Not only will this allow her to support her husband but also aid with the finances through their marriage.
As a result of negative cultural attitudes towards disability, people with disabilities are often socially isolated in India.
India’s elite, middle class generally support the disability rights movement in western countries.
It highlights how the NSS has provided a platform for the disabled communities where they can start living a normal life.
With access to proper support, education and guidance, these couples can now start planning a limitless future.
However, the mass wedding also highlights the dangers of Covid-19 and why it is paramount for people to stay safe. Especially in a high populated country like India.
The mass wedding produced an obscene amount of jubilation and positivity around the area. Something that the couples and NSS hope will influence other communities into helping one another.