• Sunday, January 16, 2022
India corona update 
Total Fatalities 425,195
Total Cases 31,726,507
Today's Fatalities 422
Today's Cases 30,549
India corona update 
Total Fatalities 425,195
Total Cases 31,726,507
Today's Fatalities 422
Today's Cases 30,549

INDIA

Indian teenage girls rushed into marriage as govt mulls raising age

Representational Image: iStock

By: Shubham Ghosh

WITH authorities in India taking legal initiatives to raise the age of marriage for women in India to 21 years, the country’s society has witnessed a new trend.

Girls in their late teens are being rushed into marriages in humble ceremonies as parents fear that a bill proposing that women can legally marry only at 21 might become a law.

ALSO READ: Odisha child rights body not okay with raising women’s marriage age

According to a report in The Times, UK, the families are apprehensive that a lot can happen in two to three years once the age of marriage is raised – the groom’s mind might change or the girl could fall for somebody else. The groom might also try to renegotiate the dowry amount, a major factor in Indian society, to the higher side as the time of the marriage approaches.

Panel to look into women marriage bill has only one woman member

It is because of these reasons that those who planned marriages later this year are rushing to get priests and bring the dates of marriage earlier so that the law doesn’t hamper their plan. Those families that are yet to find a suitable boy have accelerated their efforts to find one.

Mohammed Saleem, chairman of the Telangana Waqf Board in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, said it usually received 100 to 150 applications a day from the Muslim community seeking marriage certificates. The number has shot up now to more than triple.
“For the past fortnight, we have been getting over 300 applications a day from anxious parents who don’t want to wait that long.

They are scaling everything down and just holding a quick ceremony with a simple meal in their homes,” he was quoted as saying by The Times.

A parliamentary committee in India is considering a bill by the Narendra Modi government which proposes to increase the legal age of marriage of girls from 18 to 21.

In India, the legal age of marriage of boys is 21.

The logic behind raising the women’s age of marriage is to enable them to continue their studies in higher education and delay the problem of teen pregnancy, which gives birth to other social publications.

But even if the current age of marriage for women in India is 18, 23 per cent of them get married before attaining that age, The Times report added.

Other social factors like poverty have also left many disappointed with the proposed bill, particularly in the rural areas. For many poor families, raising the girls’ age of marriage by another three years means they have to support her for that much time.

Kavita Srivastava, a women’s rights activist in Jaipur in the western state of Rajasthan said both Hindu and Muslim marriages were being “fast-forwarded” in Rajasthan.

“There is panic,” she told The Times. “The fear of something going wrong till a girl turns 21 is combined with real economic distress, particularly because of the pandemic. If the sole breadwinner has lost his job, how can he support a daughter for so much longer?”
Syed Altaf Hyder Razvi, a member of the assembly of the southern state of Telangana, is requesting clerics to use their sermons in the mosques to preach calm.

“We don’t want people to rush into things out of panic. We don’t know how long the committee will take to decide or even whether it will become law at all, because there is so much opposition to it,” he said.

The opposition has slammed the government saying when it has failed to implement the women’s current legal age of marriage, what gives the assurance that they can enforce the raised age limit.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, who has backed the move to raise the legal marriage age of women saying it would give them more years to study, reiterated his viewpoint on Wednesday saying that the goal for raising the age of marriage is to empower ‘desh ki beti’ (country’s daughters) so that they can complete their studies and become self-reliant.

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