Marriages are made in G’burga’s State Home

The State Home for Women in Gulbarga draws a lot of prospective bridegrooms to its premises. The Home shelters unwed mothers, women involved in police cases, rape victims, orphans and abandoned women.

A great social transformation, indeed. For, till not too long ago, these women would not have found any takers, when it came to marriage partners.

Today, a majority of prospective grooms who look for partners at the State Home are from the upper castes. And yes, they are looking for partners from outside their communities as well. From 2003 till date, as many as eight Correctional Institutions Inmate Marriages have taken place at the State Home for Women. Another wedding is slated for November.

“We follow very stringent measures to ascertain the credentials of the groom. Of course, the most important criteria is that the girl should be willing to marry the person who volunteers to make her his life partner,’’ says Deputy Director of Women and Child Development Ratna Kalamdani.

Not idealism only

It is not as if all grooms who come to the State Home are driven by idealism. Often, there are other reasons such as declining female sex ratio, non-availability of brides within the same caste and a quickly-changing social scenario.

Also, while doctors, engineers, lecturers, bank and insurance officers, technocrats, government officers, etc are sought-after, men who are matriculates, non-graduates, and those eking out their livelihoods on petty businesses don’t find many takers. The application of Gururaj Desai, a 38-year-old-bachelor running a book shop, has been pending with the State Home for months. Out of eight marriages, four grooms are from the upper caste and as many are waiting for their turn.

“Men from the upper castes marrying women inmates need not necessarily be out of idealism. But what is noteworthy is their coming forward to marry these women,’’ remarks Ratna Kalamdani. Take Sridhar Joshi from Bijapur who is a traditional Vedic and has married Geetha, an orphan. Factors like disability haven’t come in the way of marriage, either. Prema has married Puttaraju, a visually challenged person from Bidar, who works as a music teacher in a government school at Chikballapur.

Checks in place

After the inmate gives her consent to a particular proposal, the Probation Officer carries out a home enquiry about the groom, his family background, his antecedents, etc. His property, bank balance and employment details are thoroughly verified. If all the details are found to be satisfactory, the proposal is sent to the director of the department.

Only after the director’s approval is the wedding  held. The bride is counselled by professional counsellors. The couple is tested for HIV. Other physical fitness tests are also conducted.

The district surgeon has to issue a certificate for the health of the bride and groom. Officials of the State Home keep track of the newly weds for the first three years of their marriage.

The State government extends a financial assistance of Rs 20,000, out of which Rs 5,000 is earmarked for wedding expenses. An amount of Rs 15,000 is invested in a fixed deposit in the joint account of the couple for two years to help the couple.

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