Ring the Bell against Child Marriage

Which cricketer was involved in spot fixing, which politician said what, which leader is secular and which heroine flirted with which hero? Yes, these are pretty much the important matters that every damn newspaper, magazine and new channel in this country seems to be focusing on these days. But do we really care about these things so much? Do we care which cricketer or industrialist used his money to lay a stupid bet? Do we care about the dog fights between politicians? Do we really care that a certain actor was caught canoodling an actress in some restaurant? I think not! We care more about things that affect us and the society that we live in. There are hundreds and thousands of pertinent issues that score way more than vexing news items that journalists today decide to follow! 

Just take the issues related to women like female feticide, dowry related deaths, domestic violence or child marriage. How often do we find these issues given the spotlight? Yes sometimes they do shift focus to women related issues but that is very short lived. Except as a red ticker in television do these issues find any voice; an outlet even to affect any change? Well, sadly no!

I don’t know if you know that 68.9 percent of the marriages in Bihar involve girls below the age of 18. (Source: UNICEF). Well honestly I didn’t know this. It’s not that I live in oblivion for I know about the way women are looked upon and treated in our country. And as many would like to believe that women are looked upon as goddesses and revered as life givers; statistics and reality show otherwise!  So I did know that child marriage is still practiced but never in my wildest dreams had I thought that the number was so staggeringly high. 

There was a time when girls were married off very early. My grandmother herself was married when she was just a teenager, not even 18. But that was several decades ago but after that things changed considerably. And by the time it was my mother’s turn it wasn’t before she turned 26 that she was married. So I find it very hard to believe that even today girls are married off before they even attain mental and physical maturity. 

But what do I do to stop it? Can I at all do anything about it? It’s sad but I don’t really know what I can do!

Let us ask ourselves a question. Let us ask ourselves as to why are girls married off at such young age by their own parents. They know fully well that their child is not ready for carrying the burden of marriage at that age, don’t they? And yes marriage is undoubtedly a burden at that age when books and toys should be the center of their lives and definitely not in-laws, husbands or children! It is scary to think that at the innocent age of 16 or even less, a girl is forcibly pushed through the gates of a marital home. Poverty, social norms which inevitably transform a girl child to a burden for parents and lack of education are probably the foremost reasons for this plague’s sustenance in our society.

People need to be educated. It is only then that they would see through the vices in this society which to this day persist as norms or traditions. If people are educated and provided avenues to earn, it would help them fight poverty. If that happens they would not push their daughters into the clutches of unwanted child marriage just to wash their hands off their responsibilities. If people are educated they would realize that dowry is not really a tradition but a bane. Perhaps then they would not bow down to these pressures and thereby many young girls would be saved from child marriages. And on top of that education would make them realize that at that young age a girl is neither physically nor mentally prepared to take the gigantic leap.

But all these involve several ifs and buts. Education and avenues to earn cannot be provided just by the common man. It needs government support. But then again that is a door that seldom opens. Nevertheless there are NGOs and community-based organizations which actually work towards accomplishment of these goals. Ofcourse, it is not easy. And it requires funds too. 

While we might be too lazy to venture out and do something apart from arm chair activism (Myself included), there are people actually working hard on the ground for the same. So perhaps if not anything, we can atleast spread the word and contribute whatever we can financially or through blogging action so that these angels continue their good work and actually bring about the much needed change. What do you say?

At the age tender,
Of youth’s splendor,
She’s chained, she’s caged,
Against her will engaged,
To dwell in chores,
And not want more,
To bear a child,
For norms beguiled,
To grow up hasty,
People’s rules nasty,
This sorry plight,
Not fair, not right.
No longer it be the sight,
End it with every might.
Whatever the cost, whatever the pain
Life of a girl not to be in vain!