Child marriage is a widespread issue prevailing in India. Though certain laws and rules were instituted in order to ban child marriage it did not help in protecting girls from this cause. Today, we all feel proud of the country because of the steady improvements in social, economic, and educational efforts. The country is progressing in all aspects at a very fast pace but still why are certain social evils still put the country to shame?
It is believed that the issue of child marriage came into limelight after the Rukhmabai case held in Maharashtra and the Phulmonee case in Bengal. These two cases had shaken the entire Indian society with its damaging and disturbing aftermaths. The Rukhmabai case was held in the year 1884 when the twenty-two years old woman refused to stay in a marriage that was held at the age of 11. She was married to Dadaji Bhikaji, a poor cousin of her step father, at a very young age and when she got matured she was not willing to stay in marriage with him. With this refusal the character of Dadaji was put to stake and so he filed a case against Rukhmabai. According to the law persisting at that time, the female was given two choices, either to unite with her husband or living a life in imprisonment.
Surprisingly, Rukhmabai preferred courting imprisonment. She raised a voice against this violation and made out of court settlement with Dadaji. On the other end, the Phulmonee case was held in the year 1890. She was a sweet little 11 year old girl who was married to a twenty-nine year old man Hari Maiti. She was forcefully raped by her husband and was left succumbed to injuries in the lap of blood. Both these incidents raised a question against the Indian Government stating that who has given the right to impose pain and sufferings on women of the society using the plea of social rituals and religious traditions.
Later on, a survey was held in the year 2005 involving 22,807 Indian women. According to the survey, it was reported that about 22.6% of girls were married before the age of 16; about 44.5 girls were married at the age of 16; and most shocking is the marriage of girls at the age of 13 that accounts for 2.6% cases. Then the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006stronger intention of the state not simply to restrain but prohibit child marriage Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 was introduced with an aim to not only restrain but also prohibit child marriage.
The prevalence of child marriage is the country is a curse to women of the society. Just think a small girl who is still in her teens getting pregnant? Conceiving and having a pregnancy is not that easy. When a girl is in the growing state, her body also develops gradually strengthening her reproductive cycle, immune system, nervous system, and other biological systems. At an age of 13 or 14, a girl does not have a completely developed and functional reproductive system and at such a stage getting pregnant is a worst and disturbing situation. When she herself is a small child she holds the pressure of giving birth to a child. With this the risks of unwanted pregnancies, female sterilization, infant deaths, complications in child birth, and maternal mortality drastically increases. This also increases the cases of HIV and STDs.
Apart from these consequences, a girl also has to go through various health issues if married at a very early age. According to the law and UNICEF the perfect marriageable age for a female is 18 years. Forcefully getting her married and pushing her to follow all the social and religious rituals attributed to a married life is a sickening crime. It leaves a deepening impact on the physical, psychological, and emotional development of the child. Is this a fair game with the tiny girls of our society? Aren’t we snatching their childhood and innocence from them?