At the request of the United Nations (UN), the country and the world celebrate the 3rd of January every year as International Girls’ Day. That’s a good thing. For thousands of years, woman has been considered inferior to man in every form of sister, bride, mother. Researchers in history and sociology state that in ancient times the family was dominated by women. Its remnants are still found in some communities in Myanmar and in Nair families in Kerala, but with a few exceptions, the woman has to endure the man and the girl child.
In education, in nutrition, in the promotion of other activities, in the expenditure of the nerves, in the social-status, in the political participation, in every way injustice is shown to women. Of course, there are many exceptions to this rule now. Sons and daughters alike, many families who do not just adopt the formula as a formula implement the formula. Of course, there are still many areas where girls are being treated unfairly.
Today let us examine one of these areas, the field of child marriage. Let’s say the biggest thing first. The total population of the world today is about 3 billion (200 crores). Of this, India’s population of 150 crore is considered to be more than 15% of the total. But about 40% of all child marriages in the world take place in India. Alas, there is a region called Rajasthan where 8 (eighty two) percent of the adult female population got married before the legal age (18 years), it was found out during a survey ten years ago.
According to the survey, the percentage of married women between the ages of 30 and 5 in the state at that time who got married before the age of 18 is as under:
Rajasthan 57.6, Gujarat 35.4, Jammu-Kashmir 24.0, Haryana 28.0, Punjab 15.5, Himachal Pradesh 9.1, Uttar Pradesh 54.9, Uttar Pradesh 55.8, Maharashtra 40.4, Goa 19.1, Karnataka 50.2, Kerala 15.5, Tamil Nadu 45.2, Jharkhand 55.7, West Bengal 54.7, Assam 40.0, Bihar 68.2
Statistics of small states and union territories are not recorded here, but the situation is not very good there. The worst situation is in Bihar (7.5 per cent). But the overall picture that emerges is that with the exception of a progressive state like Kerala and a region like Himachal Pradesh which considers women to be honorable, no state has yet been able to legislate a significant amount on marriage law. Gujarat’s figure of 7.5 per cent is considered very shameful.
There are many reasons for child marriage (and the torture of girls by it). One reason is religion. In a verse in the name of religion, it is said that parents who do not marry their daughter immediately after menstruation fall into hell! In South India, there is also a religious belief that those who witness the marriage of grandparents and grandchildren go straight to heaven. As a result, in many families, when a grandparent falls ill, there is a rush to marry a young girl. In some cases, grandparents recover after marriage due to an illness, live to suffer the agony of old age, but the poor child suffers hell as a result of their longing for heaven.
It is true that one of the reasons for child marriage is poverty. Take Bihar for example. Bihar and Rajasthan have the lowest per capita income in the country, and these two states have the highest percentage of child marriages. Poor parents are eager to ‘save’ their daughters as soon as possible. Poor human beings also live in such a place and in such insecurity that their children are very likely to fall prey to predatory sexual instincts. Thus, the feeling that the daughter will be involved in a legal life before she falls prey to the instincts of a demon, also motivates child marriage. Where there is a high probability of natural disasters or riots, the safety of young daughters is at stake. There is also a tendency to tie a girl to a nail.
In some communities, the practice of child marriage goes back a long way. When we were young, the shepherds of our village used to get married every ten years. In this village with a total population of two and a half thousand, more than one hundred (100) of shepherds got married. Some of the children were so young that the bridegroom’s children fell asleep and their mothers carried them around the fire!
For this and similar reasons, child marriages are rampant in our country. The result is bad. We have seen from childhood many rural child widows who have made the body look like dry wood by giving it hard work, who have to live a life of slavery without pay for their brothers and sisters, or go to Mathura Vrindavan and live on bread of charity.
As a result of child marriage, a girl’s education is hampered. Its self-development stops. It remains ignorant and superstitious. If there is a daughter of a poor family and a bride of a poor family, in addition to doing the housekeeping of the father-in-law and doing housework, she also has to go for labor. He is also a victim of domestic violence.
Child marriage is one of the major reasons for the high maternal and child mortality rate in our country. The body and mind of a girl are not ready for pregnancy and childbirth and when she becomes pregnant the chances of a live fetus are very low. And suppose that the child of a young age incarnates, then he remains weak. The health of a young mother is also likely to deteriorate after a premature delivery.
The girl child becomes a widow, as the country has a high mortality rate of young women, albeit a low mortality rate among adolescents. Even if she remarries, her condition remains poor and in some cases the girl is pushed into prostitution.
Well, laws have been enacted to prevent child marriage, but unless the courageous citizens (especially young women) and sensible parents are willing to stop and the economic situation improves, simply breaking the law will not work.