Pradeep Pattanayak

You must have heard of several marriages, unique in themselves. To make this once-in-a-life time affair both memorable and exceptional, couples never hesitate to go an extra mile. 

Some choose exotic locations as their wedding venue and others make it a lavish affair, pushing the boat out while some love making sure each of their guests is treated with a sapling. There are those who also arrange blood donation camps on their wedding days while some others distribute food among poor. However, a marriage solemnized recently in Berhampur town of Odisha’s Ganjam district perhaps tops them all. 

Bijay Kumar, a resident of Berhampur and Shruti Saxena, who is a native of Lucknow, walked down the aisle, taking oath on the copy of ‘Constitution’. 

The marriage palace of Bijay's wedding with Shruti was as luxuriously decorated like any other venue with mouth-watering preparations up in place. But what the guests found missing was the marriage mandap and neither was there any priest. There were no ritualistic Vedic hymns ringing in the place, but only a rationalist to make the pledge. Consequently, traditions like 'Saat-Phere' seven rounds of holy fire and offering of ‘mangal sutra’ to bride were too missing. 

Instead, the groom only tied a garland around the neck of the bride and the duo simply took their marriage vows on the Constitution. Thereafter, the newly-weds organized a blood donation camp where they donated blood. At the same time, they pledged that they would donate their body parts so that they could live in someone’s body even after their deaths. 

When asked what prompted them to observe their wedding ceremony this way, the couple answered that they wanted to send out a message to the society. This extra-ordinary marriage where things like horoscope matching, caste, dowry etc. were not given any room has been the talk of the town. 

“I met Bijay in Chennai in 2015. We work together. Our common friends brought us together. Our marriage is a different one. We took oath, and then donated blood. I think we have fulfilled our duties towards the society. I hope it will be an example for others. I feel happy,” observed Shruti. 

An elated Arabinda Bihari Saxena, Shruti’s father said, “My daughter’s marriage was solemnized in a simple manner. We feel happy when our children live in happiness." 

Prof Dhaneswar Sahu, a local resident was all praise for the marriage. “A shameful organization like caste system should not be shunned from the society. Besides this, humanitarian values should prevail among all of us. And this marriage teaches goes a long way in teaching us such morals,” Sahu said. 

D Mohan Rao, Bijay’s father, who is a member of Humanist Rationalist Organisation, said, “We want such marriages more often without caste, dowry, and other traditional rituals. This will help dissipate the social evils.”  

The guests invited to the wedding ceremony enjoyed the delicacies, showered best wishes on the couple and left the venue with memories that would remain etched in their mind for lifelong