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Oblivious of the Path They Are Taking – Child Marriage

As I grew up, I read a lot of fairy tale stories and I don’t think I need to say you about Bollywood. Well, that runs in our bloodstream. I mean we grew up looking at it, and Hollywood, then K-drama and what not in the present time.

All of those projecting us with the stories that were unreal, real, dramatic and so on. But there was this one thing, “Marriage”. Usually, that would signify a good ending, not for all, but in general. If the hero and his lover get married, that would be the happy moment, building that mindset in our mind.

Marriage, according to the Wikipedia would be “the legally or formally recognized union of two people as partners in a personal relationship.” In movies, that’s usually the goal to be achieved by two actors. In my school days, that was the word I used to hear for the future reference, as my friends would be having this fantasy of having their marriage some awesome with lots and lots of intensive plan and ideas.

With them, imagining where their wedding would be, what color the curtains, the decorations were, and so on. Not so far from us, there was someone, very young, unknown with the fact that they will be having a marriage ceremony with someone they haven’t even met. When its time for them to play around and have fun, they are looking after their children and looking a way to make an income for their family.

Photo – MabelvanOranje
@MabelvanOranje

Child Marriage, defined as a formal marriage or informal union before age 18, is a reality for both boys and girls, although girls are the most affected. Child marriage is widespread in our country and can lead to lots of disadvantages and deprivation.

UNICEF data indicated that Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India. 48.5% of girls in Nepal marry before the age of 18 and 11% of boys.

“I had no idea about child marriage then, but now I know it gives a lot of problems: my wife was constantly sick and I had a hard time managing the household. I learned the hard way,” Kamal told us. Today, the young farmer has become a social mobilizer against child marriage, volunteering to spread awareness in his community.

He says: “I didn’t know about the consequences of child marriage. If I had, I wouldn’t have married early. Now I have a chance to warn others against under-age marriage. I hope they will listen.”

Photo – Nepali Times

 

There are few cases of forced child marriage in his village today, but if he fails to convince young couples not to get married he reports the case to the authorities.

Rita didn’t face complications in her second pregnancy, and the couple is now learning to take care of their one-year-old son together.”- Nepali Times (http://nepalitimes.com/article/Nepali-Times-Buzz/child-marriage-in-Nepal,3863)

Many of the marriages that occurred when they were young were arranged and often forced by thr brides’ parents. And, the consequences of those child marriages have turned out deeply harmful. Married children usually drop out of their school to sustain their new family and work out their own married-life issues, and that is merely the beginning of their upcoming troubles. Then follows the never-ending sequnce of household chores, family rituals and a quest for a fulfilling life, which, as it turns out, a far cry for many of them.

Photo – http://www.unfpa.org/news/astrologers-shamans-and-priests-mobilize-against-child-marriage-nepal

Certainly, there are laws against child marriage, but there is also little evidence of the government implementing those laws to prevent and rectify this issue of child marriage. If there is, those efforts are not consistent and hence futile. Programs are often held in the places practicing child marriage to raise awareness, but people are either terribly ignorant or bound by their rigid traditions. That, however, has not deterred some people and agencies to keep working on this social issue.

And, although Nepal has pledged to end child marriage and seems to have taken some steps toward developing a national plan to achieve that goal, it is perhaps time for some real action on our part, too. While policies should be formulated to get rid of such old and rigid social traditions, the matter of executing them, or at least leading the ignorants towards the right way should be our responsibility as educated and aware Nepali citizens.

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