One Nathu Ram was to marry Geeta. His sister was to marry Geeta’s maternal uncle on the same day. But Geeta’s father complained to the deputy commissioner of police that his daughter was just 15 years old. He said his wife and her family had conspired to marry her off in order that his brother-in-law gets a bride under the ‘barter system’.
This is no fiction but a real incident that took place in Jandli Kalan village of Haryana’s Fatehabad district and surprisingly this is not unusual. Rural Haryana operates a barter system so that its sons can find brides. But every family does not have a girl of marriageable age to exchange; some marry off minors to keep their end of the bargain.
Barter of Brides is rampant all across the country and the data supports this contention.
Recent data on the Ballabgarh block in Faridabad, Haryana, revealed villages like Malerna and Duleypur where the sex-ratio is as low as 370 and 400 girls per 1,000 boys.
The situation has become worse to an extent that state government has to deploy an officer in each district for protection of child marriage, whose only job is to convince village heads that such barter practices are wrong and must not be encouraged. But the effectiveness of this move is still a big question. There is no noticeable change yet.
Women are treated as commodities. They are bought, sold, killed and even discarded. Female foeticide, honour killings, child marriage and female infanticides are taking place in the name of dogmas. India, the country where feminine energy has been worshipped by sages in the form of Durga, Kali, Saraswati, is now becoming a ground of heinous practices.
Data from the 2001 Census of India reveals that significant number of young women in Haryana survive solely by dint of the courage and stubbornness of their mothers. As per the census, Haryana has only 819 girls for every 1,000 boys in the age bracket of zero to six years.
Unicef’s ‘State of the Worlds Children-2009′ report says that 40% of all child marriages in the world occur in India. The ground reality in India is that many minor girls are being passed off as brides to middle-aged men only because their brothers or uncles need a wife. This is sheer exploitation.
Well, what an ironical situation it is – we need girls, yet we kill them…Now the situation has emerged where little girls are being exchanged as commodities of barter system, and at other places they are shared wives to two or three men of a family. Can you imagine the next calamity that will befall if the trend continues? It won’t take long when there won’t be any girl, woman on the mother earth, because even today majority desire a son and a girl is unwanted.
We have forgotten that it is this feminine energy which makes growth happen for the entire universe. So the end of women is the end of growth, the end of you, the end of me and the end of this world…Are you ready?
One person decided to make a difference. And this is no ordinary person by any stretch of imagination. Her Holiness Anandmurti Gurumaa is a modern day mystic and as an expression of Her compassion, the multidimensional Mission Shakti is working passionately to empower under-privileged girls from all strata of life without any discrimination of caste, religion or colour. The endeavour is to help them find their inner strength so as to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Shakti firmly believes that education and empowerment of the girl child is an effective tool, which can eradicate this growing menace. With the blessings of Anandmurti Gurumaa, Shakti has been instrumental in facilitating education of many under-privileged girls since its inception 10 years ago in 1999. Plans are afoot to expand the horizon of Shakti in order to offer more opportunities to make these girls self-dependent, confident and stronger individuals.
Shakti has been offering scholarships to under-privileged girls, who are daughters of war martyrs, widows and handicapped parents, to complete their education up to 12th standard. Along with this, from time to time, Shakti has been actively involved in spreading awareness about the causes which have lead to a sharp imbalance in sex ratio. Through various mediums like music, drama, dance, Shakti has been raising its voice to reach out to the society, which has a major role to bring about the change.
You can partner with us in various ways to help educate, empower the girls and bring about the change. Explore the ‘Get involved’ section of Shakti and do something for it today!
* source of case study and facts of census is Times of India Aug 2, 2009