On November 9, 2016, Prime Minister Modi created history by banning Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denominations with the objective to crackdown on rampant corruption and counterfeit currency, and also bring in billions of dollars worth of black market money into the mainstream economy.
The majority of Indians, the common man, have borne the brunt of it, standing in long queues in front of banks and ATMs, to withdraw measly amounts of cash for daily expenses. While the common man withstood adversity in support of Modi’s revolutionary action, there were also people like Janardhan Reddy, a BJP minister — for starters, he has spent jail term after being accused of two counts of illegal mining in 2011 — who hosted the wedding of his daughter at an ostentatious amount of 500 crore. The outraged Indians are demanding to know that how a representative of the people of India can flaunt his wealth while the common man struggles for the daily expenditure.
Janardhan Reddy’s Daughter’s Wedding
Cost: ₹500 crore
Janardhan Reddy, the mining baron and ex-state minister has spent 500 crore, in a vulgar display of wealth, in the wedding of his daughter, Brahmani. The inappropriate parade of wealth included:
- Gold plated invitation cards fitted with LED screens
- Saree of the bride at a cost of 17 crore
- The entire Bangalore Palace grounds booked as the venue for the wedding and decorated to replicate the Vijayanagara Kingdom
- 15 helipads booked to fly in guests
- 3000 bouncers and over 300 police personnel.
The members of the Bharatiya Janata Party stayed away from the wedding as per the suggestion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It was indeed a heartless move to host such a lavish wedding in the wake of demonetisation, and the nation’s poorest worried about having enough to eat due to the Government’s decision to withdraw 85 per cent of hard currency.
Thankfully, the Income Tax Department has its radar on Reddy and probing his source of funds for the wedding.
The ultra lavish wedding of Janardhan Reddy’s daughter brings to mind a few other big fat weddings of the children of the rich.
‘The Sahara Wedding’ — Chief Subrata Roy’s Sons’ Double Wedding
Cost: ₹552 crore
Subrata Roy’s Sons, Sushanto’s and Seemanto’s wedding to Richa and Chandni respectively, took place in 2004 in Lucknow. The highlights of this lavish wedding are as follows:
- The entire venue was dazzling and illuminated with torch-lights, lamps, marshals and prism glasses
- Celebrities such as Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Anil Ambani, and Mulayam Singh Yadav acted as hosts and welcomed other wedding guests
- The sangeet function took place at the Hotel Clarks in Awadh
- Pre-wedding functions were celebrated at the grand residence of the Sahara’s
- The wedding cuisine included about a 101 different cuisines from all over the world
- Other attractions were the dance performances by Shiamak Davar group and performances by a British Symphony Orchestra that played popular Indian tunes
- The seven vows of Indian marriages were inscribed on the pillars of the gateway
- The wedding, attended by over 11,000 guests from the world over, was held at the Sahara Auditorium.
Subrata Roy on this occasion got 101 under privileged girls married. Food was served to about 150,000 beggars.
Lakshmi Mittal’s Niece Shrishti Mittal’s Wedding
Shrishti Mittal weds Gulraj Behl
Cost: ₹500 crore
A recession in the global steel industry did not dampen the ostentatious Barcelona wedding celebrations of the niece of Lakshmi Mittal, chairman and CEO of the world’s largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal.
- The wedding took place in Barcelona at the National Museum of Catalan Art atop a hill
- Over 200 chefs, butlers and assistants were flown in from India and Thailand
- The culinary indulgences were laid out against the backdrop of a recreated seabed by Michelin-starred chef Sergi Arola
- The wedding cake weighed 60 kg and had six tiers
- Helicopters hovered over the December wedding venue as videographers captured the ceremonies from every angle.
No, do not look further. There are no redeeming features to this wedding.
Lakshmi Mittal’s Daughter Vanisha Mittal’s Wedding
Vanisha Mittal weds Amit Bhatia
Cost: ₹350 crore
Speak about a bold statement of wealth, power and extravagance in the most stunning of locales, and you have Lakshmi Mittal’s daughter Vanisha’s wedding in 2004 at Versailles.
- The wedding was held at the Palace of Versailles
- Shah Rukh Khan, Kylie Minogue, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Juhi Chawla, Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukherjee performed at the wedding
- Dance sequences were choreographed by Farah Khan
- The wedding outfits were designed by Tarun Tahiliani, Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla and Suneet Verma
- 35 craftsmen were flown in from Mumbai to construct the mandap on a pond in the venue.
The marriage unfortunately ended in a divorce.
Congress Minister Kanwar Singh Tanwar’s Son’s Wedding
Lalit Tanwar weds Yogita Jaunapuria
Venue: New Delhi
Cost : ₹250 crores
A Big Fat Indian Wedding is how this wedding which took place in 2011 can be described. Forget about luxury cars, the minister’s son received a Bell 429 helicopter as a wedding gift from his in-laws.
- The wedding was attended by 15000 guests
- The lagan ceremony was attended by 2000 guests and all of them were gifted 30gm silver biscuits and 2100/- in cash
- The groom’s tika was done with 2.5 crore while the families’ tika with 1 crore
The wedding, which was conducted in Haryana’s Jaunpur village was attended by all the villagers, who were reportedly given a shagun of Rs. 11,000 each.
Wake Up Call for the Rich
About 22% of the Indian population live Below Poverty Line (BPL). While those in rural areas make do with Rs 27 a day for livelihood, those in the urban regions have to survive on Rs 33 a day. To add to it, while the common man is facing adversity after demonetisation, and doing it with spirit to show their support to the Modi Government, lavish weddings, on the other hand, where crores of monies are spent indeed straddles the line between bad taste and unnecessary expenditure.
It is time for the rich to realise that they have to give back to the society that has made them affluent. Instead of spending on artistes to perform at weddings, and heavy gold jewellery which will never see the light of day, why not spend the money towards uplifting the lives of the less fortunate. The blessings earned in return will certainly go a long way.