Each time I hear the weird marriage-story of my grandparents, I experience the equal degree of unwithering fascination. While my grandpa was just 3 and grandma around 4 years old , they tied the knot. When nostalgia hits my grandpa , he shares his mortifying experiences of his wedding. He with a wide smile on his fully wrinkled face confess that he demanded to be breastfed in ‘Jaggya’. That was exactly the time, an uncanny period where people would get married without their knowing. This wonder tale amuses me greatly.
After a certain period of time, teenage marriage came into the practice dismissing the earlier underage marriage at 4 or 5 years . This elongated for quite long. With the emanation of education and awareness , people started to sense the downside of teen marriage and actively criticized it’s exercise . The listless INGOs and NGOs worked with extreme dedication to eliminate early age wedding through widespread awareness campaign. The government of Nepal, too, formulated strict laws to abate this inappropriate practice. Fortunately, growing literacy rate and massive awareness accelerated the positive change in society . People has stopped to risk their health, career and overall development by performing untimely nuptials. The term ‘marriage’ started to become a serious matter to young boys and girls, which they would not imagine to get into unless achieving certain height in career. Getting married at the age of 25- 28 for females and 30-35 has become a usual matter in our society. It is undeniable that this progress is hard earned . It truly took a long time and immense effort to change the rooted attitude of people. This is one of the highly adorable and tremendous changes society has attained so far ( compared to the generation of my grandparents) .
However, child marriage is still widely in practice in the Terai region of Nepal. Nepal has world’s highest rates of child marriage despite being an illicit practice since 1963, UNICEF reports. For the residents of Terai area, child marriage is totally normal. They think there is nothing wrong in early marriage.
Simply saying them that they should not practice child marriage won’t help. Their economic , educational and social status must be considered.
Majority of the dwellers of Terai are economically unsound. Females are considered to be an economic burden and they find all the responsibilities like feeding , clothing and educating girls costly . This motivates them to marry their daughters as earlier as possible.
The people of terai reason seems to undermine the significance of education. They prioritize marriage upon educating themselves. This is actually perpetuating poverty which contributes to speed child marriage. In some cases, both the girls and boys are forced to drop out of school after they get married. Once the couple is married they are expected to prove their fertility. Since they have tiny knowledge on family planning, Teenage pregnancy has invited problems like maternal mortality, infant mortality , birth of malnourished child, illiteracy , etcetera.
Likewise , there is a belief that the more older the daughter is for marriage , the more dowry should be given to her husband’s family. Such mentality and practices are leading to higher rate of child marriage.
Child marriage is human right violation. It prevents young people from gaining educational degrees and choosing the partner of their preference. In countries like korea , Taiwana, decrease in poverty minimized child marriage to a great extent . The government of Nepal should share the financial burden of families by feeding girls in school ,bearing a school fee or providing vocational training which helps them generate income.
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