Even as Hardik Patel attempts to build political partnership with Patidar communities across India, Patels in Surat in Gujarat are building matrimonial alliances with Kurmis – their brethren in other states – to help Patel men find brides which are difficult to find within the community plagued by a skewed sex ratio.
Forty-two girls from mostly poor Kurmi families from Odisha took part in the first-ever match-making ceremony held in Surat on Friday. Girls were in great demand as 5,000 Patel men had queued up in the hope of finally finding a bride, mostly belonging to families of Oriya workers working in textile units here.
On Saturday, all 42 girls had found suitors giving a flying start to the ‘Beti Roti’ tradition propagated by Gujarati Patidars with Kurmis in other states.
Weddings will be solemnized at a mass marriage ceremony on October 16 at the sprawling Samast Patidar Samaj Bhavan.
Parents of girls will be spared all expenses and a lavish wedding feast will be sponsored by moneyed Patels who will also gift Rs 2 lakh worth household articles to each newly-wed couple.
“Patel boys remain unmarried as brides are not available. They (Oriyas) give their beti (daughter) to us and save their `roti’ as they will be spared taking back-breaking loans for dowry,” said leading diamond-merchant Mathur Savani, president of Samasta Patidar Samaj (SPS) that hosted the match-making.
“I feel I am lucky that I found a life partner before it is too late,” said Haresh Sojitra, 28, a diamond businessman who found a match. Both are college drop-outs.
Gujarat has child sex ratio of 886 girls per 1,000 boys – sixth worst in India.
The Patel community is most affected with 700-800 girls per 1,000 boys forcing them to buy brides from tribal regions in Gujarat, Maharashtra and even Karnataka from agents. Complaints of brides running away with the money and jewellery are common-place in north Gujarat and Saurashtra.
(Originally published in Times Of India)