Marriage is a sacred ritual, bonding two people for life. It requires a certain maturity level to understand each other, get adjusted to the new surroundings and also mental and physical ability to have sex and later produce a child for progeny. It is just not to have pleasure but to carry responsibilities. Do we really think obeying all the above is possible for a child? Then why carry Child Marriage?
Though it is a crime, many children are forced into marriage without having a simple idea of what is going on. Under the 2006 Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, Those convicted of involvement face up to two years in jail and fines of up to 200,000 rupees. However, 2014 figures from UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, show that 47% of girls who were under 18 were married in India. It is a Crime. Kids get married and are susceptible to several problems. There are countable children who oppose and win. Meena (name changed) showed an unusual courage at 16 to oppose her marriage and determined to choose school over marriage.
Pranita Madkaikar, CEO of Tara Mobile Creche (TMC) who runs an NGO care centers for children of construction workers, is an angel for Meena. On 7th of June Meena had messaged the NGO pleading for the help and showed her disapproval for forceful marriage. She showed her interest to study and asked Pranita to take her away with them. Often it happens we are not able to react on tragic situations, but Meena’s courage was commendable.
Meena was told about her marriage just before five days from the fixed date. Kirti Kamble, programme coordinator at TMC, seeked help from NGO’s Childline, Snehalaya and Police. Collectively when they reached Meena’s village around 200 people surrounded the vehicle. Meena was wearing a saree stood in crowd with face stacked with help and faithful teary eyes. She couldn’t control her fear and ran towards the people from NGO.
After heated arguments, discussions and at once Meena even got beaten up by her father, police took her custody. Abusive language, threatens and anger was pouring from all sides but Meena remained stubborn with her decision to go away with TMC. She is being taken care by the TMC officially.
Meena knew child marriage is a crime, she wanted to study and do a job in future. She was aware about the basic rights all because she is educated. She had that daredevil courage that made NGO people brave enough to stand against 200 people, no less than angry mobs. Hats off to the brave girls like Meena. We look forward for such inspirations from across the country to the extent that one day we can together eradicate Child Marriage. Let’s wish more Meena’s.
Meena wants to pursue studies further and would love to be an architect. Have you asked your daughter what she would love to become? If not, ask her today. Encourage her to study and live her dreams because, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela