In a country like India, where a big fat wedding is not just a celebration of two families getting together but also a status symbol, this Delhi based couple broke all boundaries of compulsion of having a lavish wedding by initiating #sevaseshadi.
Last year, Sagar Vishnoi, a political consultant and his wife Richi Sood, a fashion entrepreneur, got married in a small convention hall, where the guests were 150 underprivileged children, and the gift was a small contribution to raise rupees 1.5 lakh to help 14 girl students.
“I never believed in spending money on a party to please the society and relatives. It’s always better to use that money for your higher education or to help someone who needs that money,” said Sagar Vishnoi while talking to The Logical Indian.
Helping those who do not have privileged lives
Sagar feels blessed because of the privileged background he comes from, and he believes that it is his responsibility to do something for the society. “I proposed this idea to Richi of celebrating our day with these children, and she agreed. We both decided that instead of celebrating our wedding with great pomp and show, we will do it in a simple manner with only a few people who matter the most to us,” added Sagar. Even though their parents were not very thrilled with their decision, they eventually agreed and supported the humble act.
The couple approached an NGO called Bucket List, that works for children’s mental and holistic wellbeing. “When we told the NGO that we want to invite these children to our wedding and a throw party for them, they were delighted and instantly agreed to collaborate,” recalled Sagar. “We wanted to give them an experience of a wedding ceremony which they otherwise would probably never have witnessed,” he added.
Even after the wedding, the couple still helps the NGO by conducting monthly workshops and through various contributions.
Wedding planner and caterers were friends and family
“It will be a wedding reception where kids and people from old age homes from a few organizations will be our guests. We will serve them food/langar and have fun activities with them like face painting, mehndi, dance, singing, and other games. So, I wish to invite you (my Facebook family) to come and serve these kids and have fun with them”, read Sagar wedding invitation on Facebook.
Sagar also invited his friends to volunteer with decoration and for serving food. “It was overwhelming to see my old friends from distant places who came for the wedding. Many of them reached a day before the wedding that too in Delhi’s winter morning,” said Sagar. Many people voluntarily came forward and organized games and had fun with the kids.
Raised rupees 1.5 lakh for 14 students
Along with Langer and the couple also decided to raise funds for 14 girl students from different NGOs. They decided to help his friend Anurag Kundu, a Right to Education activist who is currently working with Delhi government in Education task force. “Anurag said that we would need approximately 1.5 lakh rupees to fund the education of 14 girls”, said Sagar.
The couple then requested their ‘Facebook family’ not to bring gifts for them instead contribute an equivalent amount of money for these children.
“we managed to raise 52,000 rupees through fundraising site and with the help of Delhi’s education minister. The rest of the money was arranged by the kind contributed of Satya Dev, founder of Career Launcher, a coaching centre in Delhi”, Sagar proudly informed.
No food was wasted after the celebration. The couple gave the remaining food to Feeding India, an NGO that collects leftover food from the wedding and distributes it among the poor. “There was enough food left after langar to feed 40-50 people,” said Sagar.
Like Father like Son
Currently, Sagar helps his father, Hari Vishnoi who runs an NGO, Shiksha Sutra, to help raise funds for 20 children. Shiksha Sutra invests around a lakh every year to provide books to 70 children and school fee and uniform for 30 students. His father has also initiated Club 60 with 17 retired friends of his community to contribute and empower his small society.
Sagar through his father has continued good work for the society by helping underprivileged children.
The Logical Indian Take
India is known for its rich culture and of course, for its big fat Indian wedding. Wedding in India has become a business. Gone are those days when wedding used to be a family function organized to bless newlywed. According to The Hindu’s Business Line report, wedding in India is a 100,000-crore industry with a growth of 20 per cent per year. The report also says that an average Indian spends an estimated one-fifth of his entire life’s earning on weddings.
Where people are busy in pleasing the society by throwing a gigantic party, this couple decided to have a marriage instead of a wedding. The Logical Indian applauds Sagar Vishnoi and Richi Sood’s outlook towards society and their effort to empower these children.