In India, after 70 years of independence, we have many laws to protect from child marriages. The Child Marriage Act 2006 also exists and the government is trying to protect our children. But having experience of being a writer in Rajasthan, we have many cases of child marriage. In the Dudu and Kishangarh blocks, approximately every year, more than 150 child marriage cases can be found.
These cases are more in rural regions. They are found more among the Gujar, Jat, Jangir, Meena, Rager, Khatik, Muslim and OBC communities because of low education and strict social boundaries. The primary reason for these child marriages is cultural rigidness, which is not suitable for the present generation. The government won’t do anything because of pressure, political and administrative. So, this illegal marriage continues without any trouble. But this unlawful marriage becomes a burden on the girl and boy.
Even after marriage, the girl lives with her parental family because Gohna (the ritual to send the girl to her in-law family) was not done. It is done only after the maturity of the girl and boy. During that time if their thought changes, the girl is still socially bound to live with that boy, even though legally she is not.
The social boundary is stronger than the legal because if the girl doesn’t want to live with the boy, she will have to convince her family. No one will accept it because “log kya khenge apne bare me (what will the public say about us)”. In that social pressure, the family forces the girl to live with the boy. Most girls accept it, but some of “rebel” and do not accept the marriage and start a life without their family’s support.
In the case of the boy, he is bound to live with that girl because it happened. But in some cases, both families come at a place and agree to break the marriage, but the girl family’s will take money in the name of girl which is used by family members for their purpose.
If both families do not agree to break the marriage, it’s again trouble for the boy and girl. They will have to go to the court where they will be harassed (the Indian judiciary system). In court, both families fight the case but are not worried about the girl and boy. Does no one want to know what they want? Do they want to be separate or live together? Both families only think about what the public talks about and are worried about their self-respect.
In case the boy doesn’t want to live with the girl, both families would want to continue this relationship. The families force him to bring the girl home. If he doesn’t agree, his in-laws might file a police case. The boys family call a community meeting to settle the matter. The head of the community will first try to force the boy to bring the girl Home. If not, the boy’s family is charged a fine to pay the girl’s family.
Both the boy and girl suffer mentally due to this and face harassment in society. In the present generation, everyone wants a partner according to their preference. Through all this, we can see that child marriage is useless and people need to understand this. The family thinks they are settling the life of their daughter, but in actuality, they are creating a blunder in the life of the girl and boy. It’s time for a generational change to change our culture.