Meet Indian expat businessman on a ‘marriage mission’ from the UAE

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Kabeer (third from left) and family at the wedding ceremony of his second son Shebin in Kerala. The Indian businessman pledged to support 10 marriages on the occasion, with the first being held at the same venue.
Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: An Indian businessman in the UAE has earned much praise from his community for sponsoring weddings of poor and orphaned women back home over the past 15 years.

Kabeer, chairman of Dubai-based Telcon International Group, has facilitated the marriages of more than 60 young women from the south Indian state of Kerala. Of these, 10 were held at the same venue as his eldest son’s marriage in 2018. When his second son got married last month, he pledged to hold 10 more weddings, with the first being held out of the same venue.

Wishing to be known as Kabeer Telcon, the 55-year-old believes a company is truly successful only when it gives back to the society and economy of a country. Similarly, he a successful businessman becomes worthy of his success when he gives back to his community. It is that thought that prompted him to sponsor mass marriages apart from doing other charitable works, he said in an interview to Gulf News.

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The ceremony of the latest wedding sponsored by Kabeer in Kerala.
Image Credit: Supplied

“Marriages are an expensive affair, especially now,” he observed.

“There are many families who struggle to get their daughters married off due to lack of money. So I wanted to give them a helping hand to ensure that the girls have a happy married life,” said Kabeer.

Sponsoring orphans’ weddings

Though he is a native of Thrissur district in the south Indian state of Kerala, Kabeer said he had been sponsoring weddings of girls growing up in Al Ameen Orphanage for Girls in Palakkad district.

“We have been supporting the orphanage since it was established about 15 years ago. Whenever it is time for a girl to be married off, the orphanage informs us,” he said.

Over the years, he said, dozens of young women’s weddings were sponsored in batches.

It was in 2017 that Kabeer decided to hold a mass marriage of girls from low-income families.

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Some of the beneficiaries of a mass wedding performed by Kabeer. The ceremony was held at the same venue as the wedding of his first son in Kerala.
Image Credit: Supplied

“There is no barrier of caste or religion. We accept the request from deserving families from Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities. All the marriages are held according to the religious rituals of the bride and the groom.”

How brides are selected

A committee involving community members and religious scholars is consulted for selecting the deserving families. “Sometimes community leaders also come up with recommendations. I make sure we choose really deserving families,” said Kabeer.

In the first mass wedding, 13 marriages were held at the same venue.

A year later, it was time for Kabeer’s eldest son Sahal to get married. “I arranged 10 weddings along with my son’s wedding, at the same venue. In that also, we had brides and grooms from different religions.”

In July this year, his second son Shebin got married and Kabeer pledged to hold 10 more weddings.

“I couldn’t get more requests at that time. We are looking for deserving people and will hold the mass weddings as soon as possible,” he said.

Gold for the brides too

Kabeer doesn’t stop by handing out the money for the wedding function.

“We take care of the venue and food and gift the wedding outfits for both the bride and the groom. We also give a special gift for the brides – 10 sovereign of gold (80gm). It is gifted as a set of jewellery—two chains, four bangles, earrings and rings,” he said.

Having begun his career in the UAE as a salesman with a beverage multinational 35 years ago, Kabeer said he has had his share of struggles in life. “I launched my company 25 years ago and we are into ship and rig repairs and signage and interior works. I have struggled a lot to become an entrepreneur. I know the hardships that people go through. Hence, I never turn away people who come to me for help.”

Happy with blessings

“I treasure the blessings and prayers from them. It feels really good when those girls, who got married, come to see us with families when we go on vacation. Some of them get us home-cooked snacks. It really feels nice to see them leading happy married lives.”

Kabeer said he and his wife Noorja wish to sponsor 20 weddings when their youngest child and only daughter Hajira gets married in the future.

Before returning to the UAE after his son’s wedding function, Kabeer supported the Al Ameen Orphanage with a computer lab as well. “I hope it will help the girls over there learn new skills for getting some jobs,” he said.

Azeez Manammal, a Dubai-based Keralite expat, said, “Kabeer has been doing all this very quietly. I really think people should know about his work and get inspired to support the needy. They will be showered with prayers and blessings for sure.”