Short note on Child Marriage
Short note on Child Marriage
According to UNICEF, child marriage is against human rights and is considered a violation of it.
It is defined as marriages before the age of 18. This has been an issue in India for centuries.
It is deeply rooted in the social activities, traditions, and religious beliefs of Indian society.
It is an impediment to the growth of both boys and girls marrying at an early age – as it denies an individual’s basic rights to education, health, and freedom from violence and sexual exploitation.
In addition to this, the magnitude of early marriage includes higher infant mortality rate, isolation from family and friends, and limited life choices, which come in as a huge cost for the ones getting married.
To eradicate early marriage from within the society, the Government of India enacted The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act in 2006. There has been a decline in early marriages (from 54% in 1992-3 to 43% in 2007-8), but this change has been slow.
According to a report by UNICEF in India, the provinces with the highest proportion of early marriages include Rajasthan, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh,Uttar Pradeshand Karnataka.
Disparities may be seen across rural to urban areas, with more and more girls (under the age of 18) getting married in rural areas than in urban areas.
Furthermore, disparities exist among different groups. Girls and boys, with less education, belonging to different tribes, poorer families, and scheduled castes tend to marry at an early age.
Despite the fact that many people now have a different mind-set and approach towards early marriages, with more women becoming economically independent, the phenomenon still prevails across India. This is particularly because of the fact that:
• Social groups are still shadowed by deep-rooted traditions, which have been followed through a line of generations.
Families believe that girls are a liability to them and they should make sure that the honour of the family is not put on stake by delaying the marriage of the girls.
• This gives the family an excuse to waive off the responsibility of upbringing their girls. On the other hand, the marriage of a boy brings an additional person into the family to assist them at home and in economic activities.
• Religious beliefs and scriptures ‘obligate’ families to perform the marriage of their children as soon as possible.
• Families, with strong caste ties, are bounded by their strict Hindu scriptures and practices.
They cannot freely choose any marital partner for beloved children. So, families make haste in performing child marriage as soon as they find a suitable marital partner for their boy or girl.
In order to eradicate this phenomenon, awareness about the harmful consequences of early marriage should increase. Police task forces should be created to focus on different incidences of early marriages.
NGOs should be given ‘free-hand’ authority to focus and report on different cases of early marriages all across India. And lastly, law must be strengthened by filling in any loopholes in the system.
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