After 15, marriage is distant dream for girls here

Unwritten practice prevalent among Beda community in H D Kote

If a girl isn’t married by the age of 15, she remains unmarried for the rest of her life. This is the unwritten system prevalent among Beda community in Gandathuru in H D Kote taluk in the district.

This practise followed by the residents here means that girls are married off at the age of 10 or 11. They should be married off withint two years ofattaining puberty.

This has been continuing for the past three generations. If a girl passes the age of 15 years, nobody comes forward to marry her as even grooms to find them unfit.

Taking note of the issue, the District Legal Services Authority, women and child welfare department, education department and social welfare department undertook an awareness drive to educate people against child marriage here on Saturday. The village has 122 victim girls.

With a population of 1,227, there are 662 women and 565 men. For every 100 men, there are 135 women.

Even if the girl is ready to take the plunge after crossing the age for marriage, opposing the elders, the parents stay away from visiting son-in-law’s house.

Illiteracy is considered to be one of the reasons for increasing child marriages in the village. With no bus service and government school, girls of the village are suffering.

District in-charge minister S A Ramdas informed in the year 2011, 23 cases against child marriage have been registered. He said 12 cases in Mysore and six in Nanjangud had been lodged.

Raji makes an impact
Raji just has first standard for her qualification, but her courage to take the cudgel against social malady stands out. She is the crusader against child marriage who dared to inform the world about the strange practice in her village.

Raji, a resident of Gundathuru in H D Kote, is the daughter of Shivalingegowda.  She was 14 years, when her parents asked her to get married. Raji ignored their requests. Like others, Raji had to fend for herself. She worked as a housemaid in Kozhikode in neighbouring Kerala State for a few years. Now, she is a beautician.

When Raji opposed the practise of child marriage, there were very few takers. Now, there are many eager ears. as Raji exhorts parents to send their children to school, instead of marrying them off.

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