Kandhi :It was an unusual venue in the remote Kandhi area of Punjab for a power-packed wedding reception.
Strongly identifying with promotion of rearing and protection of cows, former BJP MP and now party’s national vice-president Avinash Rai Khanna organised a wedding reception on February 11 for his newly-wed son Piyush and daughter-in-law at the Gobind Gaudham Gaushala run by Swami Krishna Nand.
The reception, attended by several high-profile guests from Punjab and neighboring states, was held in an open ground alongside the sheds that house some 2,200 cows in the shelter, The Times of India reported.
The guests had to walk through the main entrance of the gaushala and pass next to cow sheds to reach the venue of congregation. However, the spruced up shelter that had got a new coat of paint for an event just two months ago did not even have any strong foul smell.
The remote Kandhi area, where the cow shelter is located, is known more for backwardness and hardships of daily life – with a rocky soil and acute scarcity of water.
In place of the usual high-decibel music, ubiquitous in Punjabi celebrations, Khanna had organised a socio-religious discourse and sankeertan (recital of hymns).
Punjab governor V P Singh Badnore, Punjab DGP Suresh Arora, former Puducherry Lt Governor Iqbal Singh, Union ministers Vijay Sampla and Jitendra Singh, SAD secretary-general and Rajya Sabha member Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa along with scores of senior BJP, SAD, RSS leaders and bureaucrats from Punjab, Delhi and neighboring states attended the reception.
Important guests, including the Punjab governor and DGP, were welcomed with cow worship and a vermillion tilak was applied to all of them after the puja.
“I chose this venue as it would not only help create awareness about cow rearing and protection, but also help in re-establishing our ‘organic relationship’ with the cows and nature. If people start organising their functions in gaushalas, it would help improve the lot of the gaushalas,” Khanna said when questioned why he had chosen this unusual venue for his son’s wedding reception.
The wedding of Khanna’s son was solemnised on February 5 in Hoshiarpur and had Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje Scindia along with her cabinet colleagues, J&K deputy CM Nirmal Singh, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and several other political bigwigs as guests.
The gaushala founder, Swami Krishna Nand, who was happy that the powerpacked reception was being held at his cow shelter, said, “This would help to return to our old culture in which marriage functions were simple, much less expensive but filled with a lot of joy. This will also help the urbanites to connect to the countryside and cow-rearing and protection.”
“Holding simple marriage functions at simple venues in place of very expensive venues would save people from a lot of economic burden,” the cow shelter founder said, but was reticent on issue of donations made by wedding guests.
“Everybody was surprised when Khanna came up with this idea and once he explained his reasons behind it everybody was happy,” said former BJP chief parliamentary secretary and Khanna’s brother-inlaw K D Bhandari.
Khanna had also invited special children from different schools for the reception. In a bid to give the event a rural touch, he had set up a special stall of kadhi and makki ki roti from his native village Jejjon, where kadhi is served at every social and religious function and is quite popular.