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Choti si umar….

February 18, 2009

Photo courtesy ICRW(The International Centre for Research On Women)

India is a child marriage hub, says a UNICEF report.

UNICEF released their State of the World’s Children-2009 report that also revealed shocking figures about how India is still living the curse of child marriages, one of the major causes of the high maternal mortality rate.

High rate of child marriages in India is perhaps one of the reasons why women in developing countries like ours are 300 times more likely to die during childbirth than those in the developed world.

Evidence shows that those who become mothers in their teens are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s.

The statistics are alarming:

45% of women married before they turned 18.

78,000 women die during childbirth every year.

One million infants die every year, 40% of them in the first week after birth.

Those who should be stopping these practices and ensuring that the laws are strictly applied are instead busy attending such child marriages.and’blessing’ the ‘couples’ What a joke!!

The National Family Health Survey-3 (NFHS-3) also suggests that more than 50 per cent girls in the state become mothers by the age of 19. Rajasthan tops the list in the country with the average age of a girl at marriage being 16.6 years, closely followed by Bihar (17.2 years) and Madhya Pradesh (17 years).

On Akha Teej every year,parents rush to get their children…yes,you read that right..their children married..

Every year, large-scale child marriages take place on Akshaya Tritiya in the rural areas of the state, especially among the tribals. Districts like Kota, Jhalawar, Barmer, Chittorgarh and Dungarpur are infamous for witnessing child marriages in massive scale. Though the official figures are quite low, according to the NGOs, over 60% of the girls in the state are married off before they turn 18.

What were the thoughts of the father of the nation on this evil?
Gandhiji writes…
Much as I wish that I had not to write this chapter, I know that I shall have to swallow many such bitter draughts in the course of this narrative. And I cannot do otherwise, if I claim to be a worshipper of Truth. It is my painful duty to have to record here my marriage at the age of thirteen. As I see the youngsters of the same age about me who are under my care, and think of my own marriage, I am inclined to pity myself and to congratulate them on having escaped my lot. I can see no moral argument in support of such a preposterously early marriage.

There are some steps that governments are taking in order to prevent such marriages from happening.
Alarmed at the high rate of school dropouts by girls due to child marriages, the Jharkhand government plans to give stipends to schoolchildren only if the parents sign an undertaking that they will not marry their daughters off below 18.

There are quite strict laws in India regarding child Marriage.Child marriages are prohibited in India.
The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929
(19 of 1929)

However,the Government of India has had to explain its stand on the child marriage act before the judiciary at various times.

This practice of child marriage however is not prevalent in just India,it is prevalent in other South Asian countries too.and not just south asian countries but in countries like Ethiopia ,Niger and Uganda.

On Wednesday, 11-year-old Soram Singh peeked shyly from behind her veil a couple of hours after her marriage to Bheeram Singh, 16, a student in the nearby government school. Singh is a common surname in the town, and the two are not related.

“The law to stop child marriage is not powerful enough,” Girija Mewada, a police constable posted at a Hindu temple in Rajgarh, said Wednesday, as she noted down the names of young couples who went to the temple for wedding blessings.

India law prohibits marriage for women younger than 18 and men under age 21, and parents who break the law — nearly all such marriages are arranged by parents — can be jailed for up to three months.
But while the practice is dying out among urban, educated people, child marriages remain common in rural areas. There, it is seen as being beneficial for both families: The bride’s parents don’t have to support her for very long, and the groom’s family gains an unpaid servant, often treated as virtual slave, who usually brings a dowry.
The children remain in their parents’ houses, though, until the girl reaches puberty, after which she is brought to the groom’s home with great ceremony and the marriage is consummated.

There are organisations like ICRW which have been working tirelessly for this cause.

Shobha Gurtu -Choti si umar parnai o babasa
E-Snips (The audio version is available here)

or on YOU Tube (The lyrics are here)

(the pics seem to have no relevance as such to the song…and yet look at the innocence on those young faces and try to picture the turmoil in their hearts if they were ever to be married off…..the kind of lament that leads to this kind of a song…..)

I first found this song on E-snips.
Most of us are familiar with the serial called ‘Balika Vadhu’ which is being aired these days on the COLORS channel.The title song of that serial ,that is, the lyrics and the music have been inspired by this Rajasthani folk song.
Shobha Gurtu
Usually most Bidaai’or wedding songs In India focus on the bride and her role as a daughter.Most songs describe the daughter leaving her parents house and the heartache that results.

However,what makes this song more heartbreaking is the fact that this is a traditional folk song from Rajasthan,a state which has been rather infamous for its tradition of child marriages .The tradition of child marriages in Rajasthan goes way back.As a result such songs have become part of their heritage.
This song describes the heartache and confusion of a little girl who is bewildered and cannot fathom why or how she is being sent somewhere else…when all her life this ..her parents home is the only home she has ever known.

Why am I being sent to someone else’s house at such a tender age O father?
Why have you made me a stranger to my own family at such a small age ?
Did I do something wrong?Was it my fault ?she asks…
You gave me so much love and affection for so many years…why are you now sending me away?

I am the innocent bird perched on the tree in the courtyard,I will fly away if you want me to….
I am the calf tethered in your courtyard…will you break the rope and let me go?Why will you let me go?
If you want to send me…then send me..

if that is your wish then so be it..
…but please call me when saawan arrives……(
saawan-the monsoons/rainy season)

and the little girl,,,the daughter keeps asking the same question again and again in the song…

Why are you sending me away father?Why?Did I do something wrong?Was it my fault?
Why are you making me paraaya at such a small age
?(paraaya-not mine./.someone else’s)

I was born in your home…I played in your home…now you are sending me to some other house?

I take one step ahead,and somehow I can’t…my feet want to turn back of their own accord….my heart is shedding tears..

.my heart is overflowing with emotions..

I turn and look back…what do I say?

what can I say?
My tears say everything….
My heart’s heavy with tears…and churning with emotions

come my friends…lets embrace…
for I dont know if we will ever meet again or not…

my brother. my sister in law …I am leaving all of you…
my eyes are brimming with tears

and in the end the little girl ,the daughter…so very young…tries to console her own heart by saying

these are the ways of the world….what can I do?
I will have to bear them ….I will have to abide by them will I not?

This is not a literal translation of the song.It merely seeks to provide the gist…the meaning that the song is trying to convey.. It is in Rajasthani or maybe dhoondhari language (I think)I was only able to understand parts of it.
What breaks my heart and anyone’s who understands the meaning , is the fact that a little girl …the kind of girls we were ,the kind of girls our daughters are…that kind of a girl …..that innocent little girl who should be in school,playing with toys….that young a girl is singing this song…

I cannot even begin to imagine the ugly tradition called child marriage which gave birth to this song.

The tradition might have existed for a number of reasons…but isnt it time to put an end to it?
What a travesty that it continues still in the India of today…

Folk songs are the true indicators of where a culture has come from and indeed where is it headed….

Folk songs have a whole history inherent in them….they sing of all that we were and all that we are….

What does this heartbreaking song say about Rajasthan?And us?
Edited to add:-Some reports on the status of women in India

1)Women’s status worst in North,Central India

The survey, which took into consideration women-sensitive variables such as sex ratio, literacy rates, child mortality, fertility and work participation, found the Hindi heartland states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana as the most women-unfriendly.

2)Child marriages,illegal persist in India

Concern focused on an arc of populous northern states where child marriages are most deeply rooted: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, with a combined population of 420 million, about 40 percent of all Indians.
According to decades of research, child marriages contribute to virtually every social problem that keeps India behind in women’s rights. The problems include soaring birth rates, grinding poverty and malnutrition, high illiteracy and infant mortality, and low life expectancy, especially among rural women.
In Rajasthan, a survey of more than 5,000 women conducted by the national government in 1993 showed that 56 percent had married before they were 15. Of those, 3 percent married before they were 5 and another 14 percent before they were 10. Barely 18 percent were literate, and only 3 percent used any form of birth control other than sterilization.

3) 40% of the world’s child marriages take place in India

1) Child Marriage in India : Socio-Legal and Human Rights Dimensions/Jaya Sagade

2)Child Marriage In South Asia-Brutal Murder Of Innocence
Author-Shobha Saxena

36 Comments leave one →
  1. hitch writer permalink
    February 18, 2009 10:51 pm

    Strange that even in this age we have bloggers posting on this topic.

    Wish I wouldnt have to read this, at first i thought i should not comment and just pretend I didnt read this. But then we shouldnt be running awy from reality.

    Education must be spread and that wil help in reducing this… But i am sure this rate has come down in the last few decades …

  2. Indian Home Maker permalink
    February 18, 2009 11:28 pm

    Gosh this is heartbreaking! And I have not even heard the song.

    There are villages in Rajasthan where they exchange their daughters and grand daughters – mothers have no say in the matter. And we have politicians who actually fight for such malpractices in the name of tradition. Our villagers lap it all up …

    Feel like going there are talking to them, though they may not listen … there is only one way to control this, law enforcement and economic development!

    Glad you posted this. We should know of all this happening …

  3. Bones permalink
    February 19, 2009 12:00 am

    It is heartbreaking but I’m also cynical – nothing will happen and child marriages will continue…Giving stripends to educate girls is not the answer – the babus will pocket this money and even if they do distribute a part of it, the males of the family will pocket it…I mean, they can register their daughters’ names in a school and take the money…Who is going to see whether the girls are actually going to school or not?

    For things to change, the entire society has to change through education, not just the young girls…

  4. Winnie the poohi permalink
    February 19, 2009 12:02 am

    When I first knew the story is going to be aired.. I thought.. gr8 now they r going to commercialize this too.. and yet.. when I saw the story I realize what pertinent points they r making..

    I am sure more ppl will be influenced by this story..

    And child marriage is heinious! no two ways about it!

  5. Indyeah permalink
    February 19, 2009 12:52 am

    Dhiren:-yes,I also feel pretty weird writing about this…something I have no clue of and something that no one close has experienced and yet just imagining it makes me sick…to push little children…whether girl or boy into such a horrific thing…is beyond my understanding…

    education..yes that is the key to all this…I am not sure about the rate…it seems to have come down but not to the extent that people were hoping..I suppose..

    one can only help in one’s own ways…by spreading education as you said so rightly

  6. Indyeah permalink
    February 19, 2009 12:55 am

    IHM:-yes…it is isnt it?
    and one feels so helpless…there is no reasonoing sometimes with centuries old tradition…and education is the key..

    and politicians…they are pathetic!they encourage such practices…by going and attending and blessing couples..

    ”law enforcement and economic development!”yes..IHMthis is also important alogwith education…so many organisations are working for this cause…One can only hope..

  7. Indyeah permalink
    February 19, 2009 12:57 am


    ” the babus will pocket this money and even if they do distribute a part of it, the males of the family will pocket it…I mean, they can register their daughters’ names in a school and take the money…Who is going to see whether the girls are actually going to school or not?”

    you are right…this is India..this is how things happen here..and to bring about a change in society seems such a daunting prospect and such a long one that it seems almost impossible…we all can do our bit and merely hope…that something changes if only slowly…

  8. Indyeah permalink
    February 19, 2009 1:00 am

    Winnie:-yes,that was my first thought too….and it started off well …now I am not sure where they are going with it…lets see…

    and child marriage ..even the thought is so heart breaking winnie!I mean like you said it is a heinous crime and no two ways about it..and yet it is so hard to make people living with old mindsets understand this…

  9. Balvinder Singh permalink
    February 19, 2009 1:42 am

    Insightful writeup.
    Well done Abhilasha.
    Recently i read a news item that a thirteen year old boy had fathered a child of a fifteen year old girl in some western country. Had some of our convent going boy done it in India it would have amounted to aping the west but it is ok with child marriage because that is our culture. Again the stink of double standards.

  10. Indyeah permalink
    February 19, 2009 3:43 am

    Balvinder Sir:-thank you:)
    that is a very very important or rather insightful point sir…I mean I started pondering over it..I had seen the news tha you speak of..and still I ahd not connected the two in this manner…
    but you are so right!yes,there would be double standards!The same Sanskriti thekedaara who dont give a damn about child marriages which happen everyday will be up in arms if this wre to happen in a city in some posh school!I am still reeling with the implications sir!My god the double standards of our society would be exposed…and why just the so called fundamentalist even the urban society will be filled with disdain as if this has happened for the first time in India…and never before..

    what a scenario!
    thank you Sir..indeed a point to keep in mind…

  11. Indian Home Maker permalink
    February 19, 2009 3:43 am

    IS THIS SIN? or do you think what we see in this post is a bigger sin?

  12. Indyeah permalink
    February 19, 2009 4:03 am

    Saw the post IHM..and Balvinder Sir was just discussing it above..and yes any scenario where the individuals involved do not have a choice ,are not asked as to what is it that they want…moreover a legal bond like marriage which is illegal in our country at this age….this scenario in India sucks more…

    the one on Vimmu’s post is free of the burden of being was free wil…but yes,the parents involved not to mention the kids have gone really wrong somewhere….

    at the same time like i said above put those urban kids in India even in an urban setting and see the farce being played out….where everyone will be going tsk tsk and shame on the families..

    or worse yet…get an abortion done at some sidey clinic illegally even if the girl dies in the process…there are so many facets to this IHM..I am just overwhelmed……

  13. February 19, 2009 5:18 am

    Agree with hitchwriter. There are times when I come across such articles in the newspaper and skip to something else.. Either because I dont want to dwell into it and it just adds up to all the gross things we read in news these days; or just pretend that it doesnt exist.
    Just saw the article Balwinder sir was mentioning about too and am speechless.
    Do you know the so called urban population is also not free from their share. I have heard of people fixing years in advance who their child would be marrying in the future. Ofcourse the children rebel in the urban areas. But its not necessary that all rebels are successful right?

  14. vishesh permalink
    February 19, 2009 5:27 am

    I would again say education is the key…and also putting sense into people…the media doesn’t bother,this ain’t got anything to be with Taliban..this is happening in some other country…in fact the more deeper we look the more grosser this gets…

  15. kanaguonline permalink
    February 19, 2009 5:43 am

    This is truly disgusting.. I am just seeing metros and thought thay things were changed.. but I think it will take millieniums to get changed… 😦
    Rajasthan.. I know.. they will fix the marriage of the child at 3 or 4 itself.. I don’t know what is the urgency seeing them married.. are they want them to suffer as they do ?

  16. Indyeah permalink
    February 19, 2009 5:48 am

    N:-yes,N I do the same…infact I am known for putting my fingers in my ears and refusing to listen to such news and infact going to absurd lengths to avoid such news…

    but it was after listening to the song that I thought of the topic…and its heartbreaking…we are so terrified at the prospect of marriage at this age…even we are not sure of all that it involves ..the responsibilities..and all..and here they dont even know what marriage is….!and they are married off..

    and that case outside..yes speechless is the word…
    and yes..N its so common even in urban areas to fix the marriages beforehand..years before…and one cannot always rebel…

    N dont read such posts and such news right now if you dont want to…right now loads of TLC is in order…:)so just ensure that:)(((hugs))))

  17. Mavin permalink
    February 19, 2009 5:51 am

    It seems more prevalent in a few states only. I am not aware of widespread child marriages in Mah, Karnataka, Kerala, TN, Andhra, WB….

    I also presume it does not exist in say Punjab, HP….do not know about UP and MP though.

    These are age old customs and the winds of change have not been strong to change them.

    Law alone may not help. A social and religious movement sustained for a generation or so can help in changing mind sets.

    I always believe that religion is a powerful force in India and it must be used to facilitate such social changes.

    We will have to make a conscious effort to bring in this change. It will not happen on its own.

  18. Indyeah permalink
    February 19, 2009 6:27 am

    Vishesh:-yes, is the key to everything..yes,the media wants sensationalism of a different kind..the issues in our own backyard are never highlighted…but then again the media shows what the viewers want and the viewers dont seem to be bothered at all..

    yes,one really wishes one could escape looking at this reality..however it gets grosser and grosser as you said…lets keep doing our bit in whatever little way we can.. and hope that slowly but surely a change does come..

  19. Indyeah permalink
    February 19, 2009 6:35 am

    Kanagu:-yes,it is disgusting..but it has become such a part of their culture that they do not apply any common sense to it..rather their common sense tells them to get their children married off as soon as possible…

    as Vishesh says illiteracy is the biggest cause…and the refusal to let go of feudal mindsets…and it is not just in Rajsthan Kanagu…it is prevalent in other states of india too …India accounts for 40% of the world’s child marriages…

    I have made some additions to the post at the end..the statistics say a lot…how will it change?a combination of various factors I suppose…education being the topmost ..

  20. Monika permalink
    February 19, 2009 6:39 am

    my maid was married at 12 and had her first daughter at 13…can u beat that??

    atleast she is now sure that she will not let that happen to her daughters

    i think this is the only thing that will work…educate ladies

  21. Indyeah permalink
    February 19, 2009 7:00 am

    Mavin Sir:-yes, you are right the practice is more prevalent in states like MP,Rajasthan,UP,Bihar.,Jharkhand….but even in other does exist…
    India accounts for 40%of the world’s child marriages…
    (I have added some statistics and links at the end of the post..)and yes I do not think it exists on this scale in Pujba and HP…But there different problems like female infanticide rae prevalent specially in Punjab and Hrayana..

    in the end it is all a vicious circle I suppose…female infanticide …or female foeticide…if the girl is by chance is born…then lack of nutrition does not allow her to develop properly …chances are that she will also be illiterate…then she will be married off as a child…then it will lead to an early pregnancy at the age of 12-15…either the child will die..due to the mother’s ill health or female foeticide or female infanticide will takeplace and the whole circle will start all over again…

    yes,in the southern states I can only think of Kerala that is way ahead than the erst of India….otherwise Andhra and Tamilnadu are in the same boat…

    you are right alone cannot help….a socio-religious mindset a sweeping social change might help I suppose..but the problem is that religion itself is the cause of so many evils not to mention the strife that itseems impossible to achieve…

  22. Indyeah permalink
    February 19, 2009 7:11 am

    ..that is so shocking to hear…living in cities we are so cocooned that the reality just doesnt sink in…its hard to believe..

    I am so happy that she will not let her daughters go through the same..

    yes education indeed seems to be the best and most successful option..Kerala is the best example…

  23. Indyeah permalink
    February 19, 2009 7:26 am

    Monika the comment above is for you..:))

  24. Ajit permalink
    February 19, 2009 9:26 am

    this is a bane to our society…

  25. Solilo permalink
    February 19, 2009 12:50 pm

    Abhi, That was such a well researched piece. That video is sad and those innocent faces :(.
    It is still prevalent in many parts of India is a sad state of affairs.

    While growing up there was a girl in my class and it was 80s not some 14 the century, Radha, she was already married off to some relative of hers but weren’t allowed to meet till they turn 18. She was a Kannadiga.

    In Tamilnadu STILL girls are killed by throwing fresh paddy into newborn’s mouth. Paddy with rice and husk. I had done a research on it couple of years back. In the villages like Usilampatti it still happens. Literacy rate is very low in Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Rajasthan.

    In case of these child marriages, in most cases girl’s family funds boy’s education whereas the girl learns how to make round rotis and sabji. I am sorry Abhi I am feeling choked. These issues really make me mad and when I find myself helpless I feel worse.

  26. Solilo permalink
    February 19, 2009 12:52 pm

    The movie was horrible but this song is a reality for many girls in villages.

    ‘agale janam mohe bitiya na keejo’

  27. Indyeah permalink
    February 20, 2009 12:59 am

    Ajit:-yes,a bane and so much part of our tradition now that people refuse to listen…

    Solilo:-Thanks Solilo..
    yeah the pics break the hearts dont they?I mean…these are children and its so horrifying to imagine that they are being forced to do this in the name of tradition..the girl’s plight is more pathetic…
    and the example you have given?my god it does happen doesnt it?and onyl when it happens to someone we know that it sinks in…

    I felt so horrified and sad after reading about your classmate…

    ”In case of these child marriages, in most cases girl’s family funds boy’s education whereas the girl learns how to make round rotis and sabji.”
    so so true…

    yes… illiteracy is the root cause of all the evils..

    and Solilo…that song is so heart breaking…one really wonders why would these girls want to be born in India again???:((

  28. Usha Pisharody permalink
    February 20, 2009 7:01 am

    The song is so heartbreaking, the facts even more so. Why… oh why is what I keep asking!

    This reaches out to them and to us, meg, to tell us of such horrors, and to tell them that we know, though perhaps we can never fully fathom that terror of not knowing, of not being able to articulate, of never being allowed to express a choice.

    The women in India, at least can never say redemption is near, till these little girls are allowed to learn, play, and grow up just like their brothers do… fearlessly and freely. And that seems an aeon away, today!

  29. Biju Mathews permalink
    February 20, 2009 7:54 am

    Oh my God, this is still happening in India? Why doesn’t the media pick it up and expose the parents. This I’m sure this never happens in Kerala, though I’ve heard of Muslim marriages at the age 17 but this too is slowly ebbing out.

    A well researched post. Kudos!!

    keep Blogging!!

  30. Indyeah permalink
    February 20, 2009 6:09 pm

    Usha:-:(..yes it is so so heartbreaking…that and the one that Solilo had provided even more so…:(

    I knew it still happened but to this extent..?:( and that too in 2008?…the more I searched .the more horrifying it got…

    ”we can never fully fathom that terror of not knowing, of not being able to articulate, of never being allowed to express a choice.”
    yes,that is just what I have been feeling…how?how can we even come close to knowing what they go through?

    ”The women in India, at least can never say redemption is near, till these little girls are allowed to learn, play, and grow up just like their brothers do… fearlessly and freely. And that seems an aeon away, today!”
    yes…so so true…till each woman is on an equal footing we can never be truly free…not in any real sense…..feralessly and freely…those are the keywords…

    I really hope that day comes soon…

  31. Indian Home Maker permalink
    February 20, 2009 6:12 pm

    @Usha, @Indyeah I wish we could do something concrete and reach out to a larger number of people. There is a blog called Chokher Bali, it is in Hindi, and I think Indyeah you could contribute to it!

  32. Indyeah permalink
    February 20, 2009 6:13 pm

    Biju is rather horrifying isnt it?it absolutely unbelievable that this still happens..
    the media is only interested in TRPs and this is not on their minds….at the most a passing mention is made of this ‘evil on akha teehj and forgotten….

    the links on Child marriage are so many ..that its horifying…

    thanks Biju..

  33. Indyeah permalink
    February 20, 2009 6:34 pm

    IHM:_yes I really wish we could…one can start from the women one comes in contact with I suppose…like the maid who comes to work..(as you do so brilliantly IHM!)
    and chokher baali ?yes…have been visiting them and hesitating…:)..will try and move it forward ina concrete way now…that you have encouraged..:)and yes,through hindi I think the audience would be much much larger..
    thanks for that brilliant suggestion IHM!

  34. August 27, 2009 12:44 pm

    Indyeah there was a video here? And a song … or was it on your post on sex selection on NGI blog… ? Let me check there.

  35. devil's advocate permalink
    January 5, 2010 6:41 pm

    Do you mean to say that a 16 year old girl in the city, who attends college in the morning, tution classes through the afternoon, studies late nights to get grades is happier than a girl who is married off at 16?

    A 22 year old woman who goes about giving job interviews so that she can work odd hours to make a few extra thousands every month to support her family, and yes, also has to work through PMS and those 4 tough days, is happier than the 22 year old from a village who is going through the pain of delivering her second child?

    A 30 year old woman who juggles marriage, kids, job, housework, tution-classes, paying bills, cooking, cleaning & commute is happier than a 30 year old in the villages who raises kids and does physical labour?

    A menopausal city woman who faces loneliness and depression better off than a village woman who at least has a social circle of other women & neighbours to talk to?

    Let’s get real guys… education & economic independence has not really altered the state of women anywhere!

    Our great grandmothers were all child brides. Were they any less happier than us? How do we know? Does a marriage after 18 ensure lifelong happiness? Even at 18 does a village girl get ANY right to choose her partner? There is no way to prove this. Suffering is a part of life, urban or rural.

    If there has to be a fight, it has to be against dowry & malpractices such as sati. I feel the fight against child marriages is a wasted one.

    • January 6, 2010 1:18 pm

      welcome here Devil’s advocate…your name itself says a lot but I am afraid that your logic makes absolute NO sense to me.

      Do you mean to say that a 16 year old girl in the city, who attends college in the morning, tution classes through the afternoon, studies late nights to get grades is happier than a girl who is married off at 16?

      yes! a girl who is studying infact who gets the opportunity to study is happier than a girl who is married off at 16!

      do read the article..excerpts from it..

      Young girls who get married will most likely be forced into having sexual intercourse with their, usually much older, husbands. This has severe negative health consequences as the girl is often not psychologically, physically and sexually mature. Child brides are likely to become pregnant at an early age and there is a strong correlation between the age of a mother and maternal mortality and morbidity. Girls aged l0-14 are five times more likely to die in pregnancy or childbirth than women aged 20-24 and girls aged 15-19 are twice as likely to die [4]. The body of a young girl is not yet ready for pregnancy and childbirth, which leads to complications such as obstructed labour and obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula can also be caused by the early sexual relations associated with child marriage, which take place sometimes even before menarche. Good prenatal care reduces the risk of childbirth complications, but in many instances, due to their limited autonomy or freedom of movement, young wives have no access to health services, which aggravates the risks of maternal complications and mortality for pregnant adolescents. Because young girls are not ready for the responsibilities and roles of being a wife, sexual partner and a mother, child marriage has a serious negative impact on their psychological well-being and personal development.

      there are many such articles all based on very real life instances that might make you pause and think..

      Let’s get real guys… education & economic independence has not really altered the state of women anywhere!
      I beg to differ and would like to say that it is THESE VERY things that have changed the status of women everywhere…

      financial independence which in turn comes from education is the key to a woman’s liberation..


      happiness and unhappiness?
      that is a state of mind dear friend..and yes an educated woman might or might not be happy..but what does that have to do with anything for christ sake?

      She definitely is NOT unhappy coz she was educated(duh!)…. she can be unhappy because of x,y,z factors….

      but take it from me…that a girl who is married off at an early age will most DEFINITELY BE UNHAPPY …

      give her a CHOICE and then step back and see what she chooses..
      I am betting you will be surprised…

      Our great grandmothers were all child brides. Were they any less happier than us? How do we know?

      exactly ! we dont know…but our grandmothers didnt have a choice…our daughters DO have a choice..we can and will give it to them..

      Does a marriage after 18 ensure lifelong happiness? Even at 18 does a village girl get ANY right to choose her partner? There is no way to prove this.

      yes the girl still may not get to ‘choose’ her partner but atleast her body is ready for childbirth as opposed to when she was barely in her teens and would have become a mother…

      Suffering is a part of life, urban or rural

      .yes it is(its a philosophical question you have raised btw)…but surely suffering can be lessened if women are educated and financially independent……not being either of the two will increase their suffering instead of lessening it , I can promise you that..

      If there has to be a fight, it has to be against dowry & malpractices such as sati. I feel the fight against child marriages is a wasted one.

      ah! and sati happens because of???
      superstition and illiteracy….

      dowry happens because????
      the woman is NOT financially independent (in most cases) and has been taught to be a dumb,mute doll content with whatever her parents choose for her…]or rather buy for her(isnt the groom brought when one gives dowry?)

      for that is what it is..buying and selling of a commodity..the groom in this case…

      when a woman is not financially independent there is this niggling fear inside her that she is not good enough…. that she deserves nothing better..that she cannot say anything much because after all how will she survive on her own?

      and that is why most girls do not oppose dowry….(social conditioning too is another aspect but thats a topic for another day)

      with education and with financial independence a woman (or anyone for that matter)will think sati is crap! and a load of BS!

      and that dowry is something abhorrent…why should she or her parents ‘pay’ someone to get married?
      she is educated..she is working..she is financially independent..and to hell with any guy or his family who think dowry should be given to marry her!!
      and I want to stand up and applaud such women! 🙂

      please do read this ..since the subject is women…

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