Among the magnificent deserts of Rajasthan, are the many small villages and towns that have been entrenched in archaic and outdated customs for generations. Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Barmer districts among others, have subscribed to child marriage as a tradition for centuries - even in our current, ever-changing world.
But even in the sustained climate of resistance to change, one small village has come to collectively reject child marriage as a practice. The people of Jaisalsar village, in Sridungargarh administrative block of Bikaner district, resolved they would not marry off any underage girl.
A practice that previously saw girls as young as 6 married off before they even fully comprehended the concept, has now finally been uprooted to give way to a life of education and forward-thinking.
"Those girls who were married at an early age were denied the opportunity to grow. I think child marriage challenges the basic right of child brides to education, health, protection and development. The girls are forced into it a lot more in comparison to their male counterparts and impacts girls with more intensity. The last child marriage took place here in 2014. The results are already visible. Girls’ enrollment in secondary classes and colleges has increased."
- Santosh Kanwar, who is doing her Master’s in Political Science and leading the girls groups, told Village Square
The village administration's unequivocal focus towards improving the quality of women's life in their area is truly commendable and has inspired more support from several others. The ruling has even promoted this campaign to put an end to child marriage in communities all across the desert.
With about 49 other villages in Rajasthan also having rid themselves of the horrid practice so far, this slow revolution is changing lives every single day.
H/t Village Square