With regular news of farmer suicides in the drought hit Latur area of Maharashtra, state water minister Babanrao Lonikar may have come up with a plan. He organised a mass marriage of 551 couples in Jalna district’s Partur village and opined that such marriages might stop farmers’ suicides. While apparently a laughable concept, the idea does have a grain of reality attached to it. Dowry is still a dominant problem is rural India and poor farmers often have to take huge debts in order to get their daughters married. The debt coupled with drought breaks their financial back forcing them to commit suicide.
Mass marriages are organised publicly without any dowries hence farmers do not have to spend as much while getting their daughters married. Minister Lonikar said, “We will provide them household belongings too. On behalf of the government, we have also planned to issue them sanction letter to construct a toilet block,” added minister. I have already arranged over 400 marriages. But not a single marriage has been broken or run into turmoil.”