Jeram Ravji and Ganga Ravji, who will turn 100 in May and June respectively, have been married for 81 years; four generations of the family now live in Auckland
India At Large staff
Jeram Ravji and Ganga Ravji, both born in 1916 in India, will turn 100 on May 4 and June 6, respectively. As was the tradition when they were growing up, children were often married at a very young age. In this amazing couple’s case, they were betrothed at six years of age in 1922 – almost 94 years ago.
However, as was also the tradition, they didn’t live together as man and wife until of age and in this case that commenced in April 1935 when they were 19 years old – almost 81 years ago.
The Ravjis have now been awarded the title of New Zealand’s longest-married couple by lobby group Family First. Their prize includes a professional photo with their extended family, which includes six children, 15 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren, all living in Auckland (see below). Four generations of the family now live in Auckland.
At one stage while living in India, Jeram became a part of the freedom fighters’ movement under Mahatma Gandhi against the British rule in the country. He apparently had to serve 10 months in prison for his involvement, and his wife was often beaten by the police attempting to get information out of her as to the location of her husband.
So what keeps the couple going? As per Ganga, the key to a good marriage was to learn to make sacrifices and to take the good with the bad. Speaking to NZ Herald through her daughter Bhanu Daji, Ganga said she put her long-lasting and happy marriage down to not dwelling on bad times and moving forward.
“[The advice] we would give to our children if they had difficulties with their marriage would be you have to work hard, you have to have tolerance – that’s the most important part, tolerance,” she said.
Not given to sentimentality, the Ravjis nevertheless told the NZ Herald they love each other just as much now as they always have. Jeram said he could not immediately list the reasons he loved his wife, but “if we didn’t still love each other we would not still be together”.
Jeram moved to New Zealand in 1928 when he was 11, five years after the pair became betrothed at age 6. They married at 19 and lived as a family in New Zealand from 1953, first in Whanganui before moving to Auckland in 1981.
Pics courtesy: Screenshot, NZ Herald