The bride-to-be’s father had the funds to pay for the wedding, but something made him decide to spend the money elsewhere. And while what he did with his cash may well have surprised some, it actually changed the lives of many.
Ajay Munot is a wealthy businessman from India – but he’s probably now better known for a step that he took outside of his working life. Specifically, he hit headlines at the end of 2016 because of something that he did at the time of his daughter’s wedding. And no one saw it coming.
In India, it’s not uncommon to see vast amounts of money spent on weddings. Any given ceremony can often last for days on end, and the guest lists are sometimes huge. This is a country where marriages really are massive occasions.
With hordes of family and friends typically invited to these weddings, then, it’s not unusual for the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars to be spent on key elements like the venue, food and entertainment.
In fact, it was only recently that a rich Indian mining baron spent five billion rupees on marrying off his daughter. That figure equates to a mind-boggling $75 million. And while the ceremony that he bankrolled was not quite in this bracket, Munot, a wholesale trader, was nevertheless in a financial position to splash a considerable amount on his own daughter Shreya’s nuptials.
Munot had actually allocated the equivalent of around $125,000 to Shreya’s wedding, but there’s a twist to this tale. The affluent father wasn’t intending to spend all of those rupees on his daughter. Instead, he had a different plan for the cash.
What happened? Well, Munot took it upon himself to spread his wealth among the community, and he did so in the most amazing way. He decided to do something that would change the lives of many families.
Instead of splashing all of the cash on the wedding, the father of the bride chose to have homes built for people who are less fortunate than him and his family. But the scale of his generosity is what blew people away.
Yes, the wealthy businessman didn’t donate money to build just a couple of houses; he gave enough money to construct a whopping 90 homes. In doing so, moreover, he changed the lives of many folk who don’t have his own advantages.
As for the dwellings themselves, they were all built on two acres of land. Each house is big enough for both a bedroom and a living area, and they came complete with some essential amenities, too.
Each home measures 12 by 20 feet and has access to clean drinking water and electricity. Not only that, but they sport two windows apiece and had even been painted for the new residents.
According to RT, Munot had a say in who is allowed to live in the homes that he had built. “The people selected to live in the houses had to be poor, living in a slum and have no addictions,” the TV network reported.
So what did his daughter Shreya think when she heard the news, having expected all of the money to be spent on her wedding? Well, her reaction to her father’s actions was only positive.
“I am very happy with the decision and will consider it as my marriage gift,” Shreya told RT. She had a part in the project, too: after the wedding, the bride and her new husband were the ones to give the keys to the new residents.
The original idea was actually to construct 108 homes, but by the time the wedding came around only 90 had been built. That said, even though the target hadn’t been reached, people were still amazed by Munot’s generosity.
What’s more, some tweets directed the businessman’s way were, unsurprisingly, full of praise. “Thank you Mr. Ajay Munot for distributing houses to poor people by cutting lavish wedding expenditure of his daughter. God bless you,” read one.
Yet Munot believes that his actions should be emulated by those who can afford it. “This is the new chapter in history,” he told RT. “I hope that the same concept will be followed by the other rich communities.”
“We have some responsibilities towards our society, and we tried to comply with it,” he continued. And the folk he helped through his donation certainly seem to be delighted with their new dwellings.
One of the new residents, Shab Ali Shaikh, told how she was overjoyed to have access to clean water. Her family no longer have issues with their electricity supply, either, and it’s all thanks to Munot’s kindness.
And whether or not Munot’s actions spark a chain reaction among other rich men, it’s truly heartwarming to see how one person’s generosity had the power to improve the lives of a whole community.