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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Let's give them a chance & say no to "Child Marriages"

“Child Marriage”, to me the phrase itself is ironic. Marriage has always been the morally accepted social institution through which a human male and female could possibly have a sexual relationship. It is called an irony because humans who call themselves morally high and reasonable, who created all these known and unknown religious institutions based on morality, how could such a being be involved in such a heinous act of child marriage. Girl child is the victim of this hideous act, she has been married off at the tender age, when she is supposed to be playing and learning. Women had always been treated as property, like land or gold in all most all the societies all over the world. So to avoid the loss of property one must do what one need to do. Great battles had fought and many treaties had been signed using her as bait.  Yes, gender inequality is the single reason why this all happens. In-fact this inequality is so deep in our society and culture that even women do not understand that they were being used. They were treated more like sidekicks to men, as they were slaves who were born to be like this. Girls were always been seen as a burden to their parents, at least in Indian culture, the proof for it is the system of dowry. Even though Indian govt has passed a law against dowry, it is still being practiced. Indians who always have been proud of their traditions and culture has one more gem to be proud of our tradition. Child marriage is a violation of the right to freedom to choose, education and to live a life to its fullest.

Issues

You will be surprised to know that in Bangalooru(Bangalore), the silicon valley of India, 4 child marriages are being reported every week. And if you think it is in rural Karnataka, no you are totally wrong, its inside the city, its happening right inside the IT hub. This particular news had been reported in TOI (Times of India) which caught my attention, actually, it was a shock and can you believe that, right inside the city? now that’s disturbing. And they say the number is on the rising. At the same time in other rural areas, parents are forced to marry off their girls at tender ages due to poverty. They did it as a last resort to give their child a good life. However, its often end up in child abuse and extortion.

Coutesy: UNFPA.org
Most of the people think that this social evil is related to some religion or other. But in reality, religion has nothing to do with this; it’s basically the regional culture and tradition, which of course will be patriarchal. And the condition of economy in that region or country plays a big role too. Such social evils are less (not completely lacking) compared to other in a healthy economy where everyone is well off (comparatively). A healthy economy (in the sense where money is spread across the society) can provide good education and living conditions to its people. A good education can always get rid of such degrading belief systems. It always makes people think good and healthy. At this age of increasing crimes against women and children, we need to make good education a birth right and must be easily available, for that government has to spend money and time at the same time. In many part of India there still prevail social stigmas where a girl child is born to a family it is considered as a bad omen, since in a patriarchal society boy carries the genetic tree forward and the girl child will be put to death or if she is allowed to live then she is better dead than alive. Such things still happens in rural areas of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar etc. There are places in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka where some communities cast off women at the time of menstruation, from the community till those days are over. All this time no one from the community is allowed to see her or to speak with her.


And its upshots

Child brides are pulled out of school, depriving them of an education and a possible future. They suffer health risks associated with early sexual activity and childbearing, leading to high rates of maternal and child mortality as well as sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Child bearing at the teen age makes them vulnerable to death at the time of delivery. According to United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), 47% girls married under the legal age of 18 yrs in India thus creating a record. Child mothers have a greater possibility of health risk at the time of delivery than adolescent women. Organisations like ICRW are trying to make changes and reform communities about this greater evil, which affect the entire health of a society. According to UNFPA most underage married girls live in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Parents are being educated about the downsides of marriage at very young age. In most of the cases parents are not willingly doing it but as they see no other way out for their girl to have a good future.

Educate, Educate, Educate is the only remedy for this disease. Educate the forthcoming generation, make them revolt against their own obsolete traditions and culture. Make them the carriers of change to the future. Make them realize, of the evils prevailing in this world and be aware of that when they face this world alone. Traditions and culture are not forever, it changes according to time and lifestyles.