Child Marriage On The Rise In India: A Sobering Reality
- June 17, 2023
Can we truly call India a developing nation? Does everyone feel secure and protected under democracy? Maybe not as much as we would like to believe it to be. It is really depressing to still read and hear about children being pawned in the name of family pride and tradition. But most people are ignorant of the real sad state of how many young girls are subjected to such harsh fates when they are barely 11 or 12 years of age.
Come on, they should be worried about going to school on time and doing homework not about family politics and giving birth to a child when she herself is yet to become a woman. And most importantly stop making soap operas where child marriage is celebrated, be it a girl or a boy who is the victim. It’s utter gibberish.
How rampant is child marriage in India?
The most shocking fact is that almost half of the girls in India are getting married before 18 years. There are roughly around 24 million child brides in India. The National Family Health Survey estimates that 40% of the 60 million child marriages worldwide occur in India. This is definitely not a top position that we can aim for. In fact, each and every Indian should be ashamed of letting something happen right in front of our eyes. As this is nothing to be proud of, how do we as a citizen of India stop such malicious practices? Before talking about steps to stop this, we have to understand the reason behind them.
The Root Cause
Well, several factors contribute to this disturbing trend. Poverty remains one of the primary catalysts, as families living in impoverished conditions often view marriage as a way to alleviate economic burdens. Additionally, deep-rooted cultural norms and traditions play a significant role. In some communities, child marriage is considered a social norm, perpetuating a cycle that’s challenging to break. People who belong to such communities are ready to even harm their own children over disrespecting the so-called “Tradition”.
Education also plays a crucial role in combating child marriage. Unfortunately, limited access to quality education, particularly for girls, perpetuates the cycle of poverty and reinforces traditional gender roles. When girls are denied education, they are more likely to be married off at a young age, thereby depriving them of opportunities to pursue their dreams and fulfill their potential. Even now, in metropolitan cities, women still hear people criticizing them saying that “It is because she is educated, she is so arrogant and disrespects our culture and norms”. Come on people, please grow up. It’s time to retrospect.
The Cruel Consequences
The consequences of child marriage are far-reaching and devastating. Young brides often face a myriad of health risks, as their bodies are not yet fully developed for childbirth. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth can result in serious health issues for both the mother and the child.
Picture this: their bodies are still growing and developing, and suddenly they’re thrust into the roles of wives and mothers. The toll on their physical well-being is immense. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth become more likely, putting both the young mother and her baby at risk. These innocent souls are forced to bear the weight of adult responsibilities, paying the price with their health.
Moreover, child brides are more likely to experience domestic violence and suffer from psychological trauma. Their dreams of education, personal growth, and a brighter future are dashed before they even have a chance to bloom. The vibrant spirit of these young souls is crushed under the weight of a tradition that refuses to let them fly. There couldn’t be a much more pathetic situation than this.
Breaking the Chains
Even though people are aware of Child Marriage Prohibition Act, they don’t have any fear. If so, why would there be nearly half the population of girls in India getting married as a child? The law aims to protect children from the physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of early marriage. But obviously, they are not working, more so in the rural areas.
Also, according to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act, any sexual contact with a minor is classified as rape. In this context, the term “minor” refers to someone who is underage. It’s important to note that the concept of “consent” does not apply here because minors are considered too young to provide valid consent.
Moving forward, we all have a role to play in ending child marriage. The battle is far from over. Cultural and social factors continue to pose hurdles in the battle against child marriage. However, it’s a collective effort that will bring about lasting change. So, let’s all take a moment and think deeply if any child deserves such kind of cruelty in life. And let’s stand together, challenge cultural norms, and create a society where every child has the opportunity to grow, learn, and fulfill their dreams. Together, we can break the shackles of child marriage and build a brighter future for our nation.
We can do it India!