Silchar (Assam) : If their respective ages were to be added up, they’ll date back to India’s first war of independence in 1857. So, when 120-year-old Hazi Abdul Noor tied the knot with 60-year-old Samoi Bibi, the 500 guests at the wedding ceremony were bound to be left gaping.
A former contractor, Noor of Assam’s Satghori village Sunday married Bibi, a resident of North Foolbari village in adjoining northern Tripura.
Over 500 guests, including religious heads, gathered at the sleepy Satghori village in Karimganj district, around 400 km from Assam’s main city of Guwahati, to witness the rare marriage ceremony.
“Homemade sweets were passed around when Maulana Khairuzzaman, a senior Madrasa teacher, asked for a ‘Kubool’ (agreeing to marry) and a smiling Noor replied in confirmatory by nodding his head,” said Saiful Ahmed, a local government school teacher who was one of the guests at the ceremony.
“Noor might very well be the oldest person to get married in this part of India as far as my memory goes,” Ahmed said.
Displaying his documents, Noor said: “My age in the electoral list of the election commission is 116 years, but I am 120.”
In fact, this is not his first marriage.
Salima Khatun, Noor’s first wife, died in 2005. “I married Salima when I was 40,” he said.
Today, he heads a family of 122 members, including two sons, three daughters and numerous grandchildren, most of whom are married. Noor’s eldest daughter is 79.
The centenarian used to work as a contractor in southern Assam during the British regime. He met with a deadly accident in his 50s, the pain of which he still carries in his back.
“Soon after my mother’s death, my father asked us to find him another wife who would look after him as he needs full-time support,” said Noor’s eldest son Hazi Azir Uddin, a retired teacher.
“With the help of one Abdul Hamid of Tripura, we found a new mother, though she’s half his age. She was married once. Long back her husband died and she has no children,” the son said.
Hamid, the match-maker and also a relative of Noor, has interesting stories of his own to tell.
“So far, I have arranged 14 such marriages in which the ages of all the 28 brides and bridegrooms were 60 or above. The first such marriage was in 1984 in northern Tripura in which the ages of the brides and bridegrooms were 65 and 90,” he claimed.
“For arranging such marriages, I’ve never sought any money or any favour. This way, I acquire happiness,” said Hamid, who works at a government office in Tripura.