I’m Writing this Article because TODAY was the 24th of APRIL 2012, and as per The HINDU CALENDAR today is known as AKSHAYA TRITIYA …
Akshaya Tritiya, also known as Akha Teej is a Hindu and Jain holy day, that falls on the third Tithi (Lunar day) of Bright Half(Shukla Paksha) of the pan-Indian month of Vaishakha.
This DAY is considered AUSPICIOUS and is the most Famous / Chosen day for PERFORMING Child Marriages…
(Yes .. CHILD MARRIAGES is a common custom in Indian Villages and some cities, Its a custom, a tradition of sorts, and even the cops are Helpless against it)
Here are the words from the Mouth of such a Child Bride…
"I am one of those unfortunate Hindu women whose hard lot is to suffer the unnameable miseries entailed by the custom of early marriage. This wicked practice of child marriage has destroyed the happiness of my life. It comes between me and the things which I prize above all others - study and mental cultivation. Without the least fault of mine, I am doomed to seclusion; every aspiration of mine to rise above my ignorant sisters is looked down upon with suspicion and is interpreted in the most uncharitable manner..." - Extract from a letter written by a woman named Rukhmabai to The Times of India on June 26, 1885, reproduced in Child Marriage in India: Socio-legal and Human Rights Dimensions, by Jaya Sagade (Oxford University Press, 2005).
This is not just the case of one Rukhmabai. There are hundreds of thousands of Rukhmabais who fall victim to early marriage. In fact, UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2012 report says that more than 40 per cent of the world’s child marriages happen in India.
So why is this day SO CHOSEN … Why is it considered for conducting CHILD MARRIAGES ? .. .it’s not that child marriages are not carried out on other DATES … Then why did I choose TODAY ???
"Akha Teej is considered an auspicious day, when one does not have to consult any astrologer. This is the best time for marriages ... Even our epics mention about child marriages. There is no harm in performing it, as the children do not live together and stay together only after attaining adulthood." - Priest in Rajasthan
“In many communities where child marriage is practiced, girls are not valued as much as boys – they are seen as a burden,” Laura Dickinson, communications officer for Girls Not Brides said.
SO THE BIG QUESTION — LEGAL OR ILLEGAL ?
Prohibition of Child Marriage Act
The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (2006) prescribes two years imprisonment or a penalty of Rs100,000 ($1,900), or both, for those guilty of marrying girls younger than 18 years of age.
The law still remains unimplemented in many tribal districts in the country. While mass child marriages – such as those seen in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh – do not happen in all states, many girls end up getting married in their early teens.
Ending child marriage is a challenge; even parents who are aware of its negative impacts find it difficult to resist the heavy weight of tradition. “Moreover, economic and social pressures compel them to get their daughters married off at a tender age,” Dickinson told was reported as having said.
But implementing the law alone will not change this tradition. “There is a need for a change in the psyche of the people, of the community, who constitute some of the most backward and illiterate in the country,”