May 19, 2024
  1919   

Breaking Stereotypes and Building Families: Transforming Shattered Dreams to Sweet Realities

Marriage is an institution that is ubiquitously recognized as the legal communion of a man and woman. Different cultures and traditions persist, yet the roots remain shared. Most people dream of living a happy married life with their better halves, and the parents too wish the same for their children.

But sometimes, life has different plans, circumstances dictate unforeseen paths and challenges, and what one felt like a dream to be fulfilled can morph into an insurmountable challenge.

Physical disability, premature widowhood or divorce, poverty, skin diseases, victims of acid attack or girls forced into prostitution or forcefully raped bear the brunt of society's harsh judgments. A significant portion of our society does not accept or welcome such women in the social mainstream, deeming them as inauspicious or lacking in dignity. This societal rejection compounds their already profound pain, exacerbating their suffering and robbing them of joy.

Men, who suffer from widowhood, undergo divorce, or are physically challenged, also go through similar distressing experiences and challenges.

The fact however remains, that women bear the heavier burden under such circumstances, facing hardships and sometimes even struggling to make their both ends meet.

A Deeper Look into the Ground Realities

As per the 1991 census, the total number of widows in India was a staggering 33 million, which was 8% of all females, while only 2.4% of the men were widowed.

In many Indian households, often male partner is the sole bread winner, leaving the wife and children entirely dependent upon him. So premature death of the male proves devastating for the family, with young wife left to fend for herself and the children. Notably, there’s a significant percentage of widowed women under the age of 30.

Similarly, divorce rates have drastically increased over the last couple of decades, resulting in a significant number of single divorced males and females.

While remarriage of a male is largely accepted in our society, the same is not true for women remarriages. Social stigmas, enforced cultural limitations and custom codes prevent a number of young widowed and divorced women from remarrying, despite having their whole life ahead of them.

Other Discrimination Factors

As per the 2011 census, the Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in India (OCCPD) estimates around 2.01% of the female population in India has disabilities. The females of this group either don’t get married and live with their own families or get married to the partner who also suffers from physical challenges.

Other painful category is that of women who have endured gang rapes or were forced into prostitution. Despite being rehabilitated, such women are largely rejected by the society, are looked down upon and are rarely given a chance to get married and settle into family life.

Hope, Healing and Happy Beginnings – From Misery to Joys

To break the stigmas, stereotypes, and cages of limiting customs, Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan of Dera Sacha Sauda commenced pioneer initiatives with the motive of giving new beginnings to such women and men.

More than a decade back, Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan called upon the young, educated men to come forward to marry the women who were liberated from prostitution, treated, and rehabilitated. Despite initial scepticism from the media, the response was overwhelming, with more than 1500 compassionate and forward-thinking men volunteering to participate in this groundbreaking endeavor. These men were aptly named 'Devout Warriors' by Saint Dr. MSG, symbolizing their commitment to righteousness and social justice.

In a symbolic gesture of empowerment and reverence, Saint Dr. MSG bestowed upon the women to be married the title of 'Shubhdevi' (Goddess of good fortune).

On 25th January 2010, History was made when Saint Dr. MSG solemnized 7 such marriages of ‘ShubhDevis’ with ‘Devout Warriors’, in the presence of millions of volunteers from across the world, at Dera Sacha Sauda. Guru ji married those women as his own daughters, duly fulfilling the duties of a father.

What truly set these marriages apart was the extraordinary act of compassion and humanity displayed by the Devout Warriors. Not only did the devout warriors marry the Shubhdevis, but also adopted their children as their own, establishing a benchmark in the history of humanity.

And then began a caravan of such noble social reformation initiatives spearheaded by Saint Dr. MSG, creating a great social paradigm shift, uplifting the lives of those who had never imagined a ray of light or happiness to enter their dark lives.

Below table presents the number of marriages against each unique initiative

Initiative Name

Marriages

Initiative Description

Shubhdevi

 21

Marriages of ‘Devout Warriors’ with women liberated from prostitution, christened as ‘Shubhdevis’

Anticipated Life

 65

Marriages of ‘Devout Warriors’ with young widows of marriageable age.
The devout warriors also adopted the children of such women from previous marriages.

The New Morn

 30

Marriages of ‘Devout Warriors’ with divorced women.

Sorrow Free Journey

 1

Marriages of ‘Devout Warriors’ with women suffering from vitiligo.

New Light of Hope

 2

Widow marriage by her in-laws, treating and marrying her like their own daughter.

Devotee’s Mettle

 1

Marriages of ‘Devout Warriors’ with physically challenged women.

Beyond Imagination

 1

Marriages of ‘Devout Warriors’ with young women who were victims of rape, with mutual consent from both.

Marriage of Devout warrior with underprivileged destitute girls

 51

Marriages of ‘Devout Warriors’ with young destitute and underprivileged women.

Marriage of Devout warrior with normal girl.

 8

Marriages of ‘Devout Warriors’ with normal girls.

The Braveheart Devout Warrior

 9

Marriages of educated young women, christened as ‘Braveheart Devout Warriors’, with men with physical disabilities, with mutual consent. These women pledge to respect and take care of the husband, supporting him throughout life.

The Warrior- Epitome of Devotion

 1

Marriage of young, educated women with widowers of marriageable age, with mutual consent

Crown of the Lineage

 38

Promoting matrilineal inheritance, the groom (with one or male siblings) moves to bride’s place after marriage. The initiative is specially for parents of single girl child.

Till date 228 such marriages have been solemnized, with 180 men who pledged as Devout Warriors, and 48 girls pledged as ‘Braveheart Devout Warriors’, inspired by Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan.

Crown of the Lineage: An extraordinary initiative by Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan that transformed many ordinary lives is one of its kind. The parents of single girl child often found themselves worrying about their future and loneliness that they would have to endure after their daughter’s marriage.

Who would continue the family lineage? Who would take care of them in their twilight years?

Their innumerable concerns were answered by the ‘Crown of the Lineage’ or ‘Kul Ka Crown’ initiative, which promotes matrilineal inheritance. The groom relocates to the bride’s home after marriage, takes care of her parents like his own, and their offspring inherits the matrilineal surname. The groom, in such cases, hails from a family with one or more male siblings, ensuring comprehensive care of his family as well.

Tribal Marriages: Amongst the tribal folks living 50 kms from Udaipur in Kotra, the custom of marriage was distorted; they used to have children first, and get married later on. With the extreme efforts to civilize fellow citizens, the righteous marriage customs were taught, and the tribal folks were elucidated upon the institution of marriage, loyalty in relationships and a harmonious family life.

Since more than a decade now, every year, hundreds of tribal families arrive at Dera Sacha Sauda, and their marriages are solemnized in the gracious presence of Guruji, Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan. The custom is also known as the ‘Brahma Vivah’, as has been mentioned in pious Vedas and followed since ancient times. The volunteers also provide them with all the basic necessities to start their new lives. Till date hundreds of such marriages have been solemnized.

Stepping towards a compassionate future

A bad phase of life, negative experiences, past circumstances, or physical disabilities should not become bottlenecks or restricting factors in living a fulfilled life, nor should empowerment be restricted to any single gender.

By transforming the mindsets of common masses, enabling them to be compassionate, kind and loving, Saint Dr. Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan pioneered transformational and innovative approaches to convert misery into joy, sorrows into ecstasy and limitations into boundless opportunities for growth and fulfilment.

Every individual possesses the inherent right to live joyfully, but it is only through the wisdom of Saints, and the valiant action of the brave men and women, that society truly realizes what it takes to give, share and experience the joys of being human.

Through these wonderful initiatives, not only did Saint Dr. MSG give a new lease of life to many men and women, but also disseminated hope, courage and optimism to those who witnessed these marvellous undertakings.

This is just a stepping stone, a glimpse into what the future may bring.

Together, lets imbue the virtues of kindness and humanity, be the pillars of support for those in need, attain our full potential while enabling others too, and collectively move towards a future free from discrimination, and full of compassion and possibilities.