Harvard University sponsors ‘Hindu same-sex mock wedding’ using student funds

Harvard University spent a “generous” sum of student funds and other school money on a fake same-sex Hindu wedding attended by 200 people on Sunday, event organizers told Campus Reform.

A photo from the ceremony.

The purpose of the fake wedding, which received funding from five school-sponsored campus groups, including the Harvard Office of BGLTQ Student Life, was to educate students about same-sex relationships in other cultures, according to Harvard Dharma board member Nishin Nathwani, who helped put the event together.

Officially called “Suhaag: A Hindu Same-Sex Mock Wedding,” the event included dancers, a procession, pretend family members dressed in saris and tunics, and a ceremonial fire, according to The Crimson, which is Harvard’s official student paper.

The “married” women were Sasanka N. Jinadasa ’15, a member of the board of the South Asian Association, and Kirin Gupta ’16, whom the Crimson said identifies herself as “part of the queer community at Harvard.”

“Kirin is bringing her South Asian into her queer,” Jinadasa said. “I’m bringing my South Asian into my queer.”

Nathwani said he thought the event was important for the Harvard community because it was a “way to address same-sex sexuality within a distinctly Indian context, sort of separate from the western gay rights discourse.”

Although Nathwani, who served as a priest at the mock ceremony, declined to say how much the overall budget for the event was, he said it was “sizeable.”

“We got a grant from the new Harvard Office of BGLTQ Student Life, which sort of falls under the Office of Student Life, which is a Harvard administrative office, so they gave us a pretty big grant and were really generous,” he said. “Every student organization contributed financially, so we had a pretty sizeable budget.”

Harvard Dharma, the Harvard South Asian Association, Harvard Queer Students and Allies, Harvard Gay Lesbian or Whatever, and the Office of BGLTQ Student Life all collaborated to fund the Sunday event.

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