The stage was all set. The curtain has been drawn, revealing Saifai, a tiny village in Uttar Pradesh which has magnetized attention from all over India in a historic wedding extravaganza between RJD supremo Lalu Yadav’s daughter Raj Lakshmi and Samajwadi Party chief patriarch’s grand-nephew Tej Pratap Singh who are going to tie knot on 26th February in what has been popularly termed as the big fat Indian wedding.
Once rivals, the two most powerful political parties emerging from the two most socially and economically downtrodden states, UP and Bihar were seen gallantly canvassing their camaraderie as Lalu Yadav said, “Mulayam Singh Ji didn’t ask for even one paisa from us. When hearts meet, money has no place.”
The predecessor wedding ceremony called as ‘Tilak’ showcased exorbitant investment as the entire village which is a native place of SP leadership was transformed into a colossal marriage hall immersed in over the top celebration mood. The kick start to the marriage feast was highly flamboyant as the preparations were beyond one’s wildest dreams and have inevitably imprinted a question mark from the concerned sections of the society.
Larger than life arrangements have been unleashed for the residence of guests guided by a stark class distinction with 500 “super quality” Swiss cottages inside a stadium for the bride’s relatives and senior RJD leaders and 250 “ordinary” cottages for 1500 people on a college ground where regular classes have been suspended, proudly hanging lanterns (RJD symbol) giving a political touch to it.
The state with highest population as much as Brazil has continued its crowd legacy by inviting 1.25 lakh guests in which no stone is left unturned to make it a star studded event calling Bollywood biggies like Amitabh Bachchan and Salman Khan, renowned industrialist Anil Ambani, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Mulayam’s former confidant Amar singh and many more such big names with one of the major faces of SP, Azam Khan missing the ceremony.The biggest arrival however, was of PM Narendra Modi to attend the Tilak ceremony beyond their arch rivalry, showing bonhomie over the stage. Groom Tej Pratap defending PM’s invitation said, “We are honoured to have the PM as our guest but we oppose his ideology.” One can sense a camouflaged motive in this candid show of love as BJP needs support votes in the budget session to pass many conflicting ordinances.
The soul of a marriage ceremony, the food fiesta has been a mouth-watering-tongue-licking arrangement with 100 unfathomable varieties of delicious food prepared by chefs from Agra, Ferozabad, Etawah and some expert chefs from 5 star hotels of Delhi and Mumbai for VIP dishes. The unwanted extravagant ceremony is being supervised by 3000 police personnel summoned from 30 districts including 12 IPS officers, 16 ASPs, 32 Cos , 250 SIs and 1500 constables as if a 26th January parade is being organized!
Combating the Swine Flu threat, arrangements at the Saifai community centre have also been made with super ambulances, life saving equipment and cardiologists from a private hospital in Kanpur are also in place. When asked about this extravaganza, the groom said, “Too much money has not been spent. Those days are gone when people could go around the constituency on a bicycle” commenting about contradiction of their socialist ideology.
It seems there is some illogical perception of administration in UP’s leadership where the notion of ‘welfare’ is wrongly perceived be it Mayawati who blows her own trumpet by commissioning the building of her statue or Samajwadi Party which spends crores on entertainment events like Saifai Mahotsav and of course royal weddings because all they do is work for their own welfare rather than of the society whose one-third of the population lives precariously below poverty line suffering from one of the highest maternal mortality rate in India and children dying of severe malnourishment according to a UNICEF report. RJD is also following its newly made relatives’ steps by ignoring the farmer suicides and overpopulated poor population. Lalu Yadav too is fearlessly carrying his SWAG without giving a damn about his Fodder Scam conviction.
Marriage is a pious union of two souls which doesn’t require the testimony of fleet of horses or so called Swiss cottages. Celebration is not questioned rather the extent of celebration especially if you hold the key to change people’s way of living and bring the concept of development alive. Interestingly, not much outrage can be encountered from the media, partly because political parties are sharing stage in a rare instance of sheer delight which also is a good democratic spirit. The pre wedding bash was reminiscent of monarchical Mughal marriages; let’s see how the celebration unwraps on the wedding day.
Written By- Zainab Rashid