February 18th, 2016
Image Source: hindustantimes
“Love seeks one thing only: the good of the one loved. It leaves all the other secondary effects to take care of themselves. Love, therefore, is its own reward.” ― Thomas Merton
However, when one has been married for nearly 81 years and chosen to be awarded as the longest living couple in any country, it proves to be the icing on the cake. This is the laurel that Jeram Ravji and Ganga Ravji have won for themselves, inadvertently, from Family First New Zealand, a Christian lobby group. Just two months prior to celebrating their 81st wedding anniversary, the couple, who would never have looked for any outside felicitation, has been declared as the longest living couple in Auckland, New Zealand.
On May 4th and June 6th, 2016, Jeram and Ganga will turn 100 respectively. They were betrothed when they were six years old. However, they started living together as man and wife only after they got married at the age of 19. While in India, they made their own contribution to the freedom struggle of the country. While Jeram spent 10 months in prison for joining Gandhi’s Satyagraha, Ganga braved frequent physical abuse by police whenever she refused to disclose her husband’s location during the British rule.
It was in 1928 that Jeram shifted base to New Zealand, spending a few years in India in-between. It was then that he got wedded to Ganga and again moved to New Zealand with his wife and family in 1953. At first, they settled in Wanganui, where they were respected as fruit and vegetable retailers, relocating to Auckland in 1980.
At present, their family in Auckland consists of six children, 15 grandchildren, and 25 great-grandchildren. “The last family photo was 10 years ago at their 90th birthday celebrations,” Family First New Zealand Director Bob McCoskrie said. As a part of the award, they will have another picture clicked with all the family members present. “Although we can only go on the nominations made, we are pretty sure that the Ravjis are New Zealand’s longest-married couple”.
It is to be noted that before them, the couple with longest lasting marriage in New Zealand was a Christchurch couple who were believed to celebrate their 79th wedding anniversary before the husband passed away in 2013. The present record is held by a couple in California who had celebrated 82 years of wedlock. It was in the USA that the concept began and the Ravjis might just be on their way to break this record, too!
“These awards are an opportunity to promote marriage and honour married couples. We want to celebrate with couples who are setting the example for younger married couples just starting out,” says Mr. McCoskrie.
But of course, any such long term loving association comes with a lot of hard work, adjustment, and sacrifice. “The advice we would give to our children if they had difficulties with their marriage would be you have to work hard, you have to have tolerance — that’s the most important part, tolerance,” according to Ganga.
Although they participated in the Indian freedom struggle against the British, the couple is looking forward to receiving a letter from the Queen when they turn 100 this year.
The Logical Indian community heartily congratulates the couple for 81 years of love and togetherness, felicitation by Family First, the upcoming family photograph, and the letter expected from the Queen, and wish them all the best so that they may soon break the current record and make a new one by being the oldest living couple till date next year!