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Child Marriages in India

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Child Marriages in India

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  • Feb. 2008
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Child Marriages

Child marriages were very common in ancient India. Although child marriages were

mostly common among the poor in India, some of the rich people also followed this

custom. The child marriage tradition was brought to India in the medieval age by the

Delhi Sultans who were ruling India at the time (Birodkar, n.d). Due to the major

problem of Muslim rebels roaming free in the streets of India, the custom of child

marriage was brought into the system to marry the girls off before they reach their

marriageable age ("A History of Child Marriage in Ancient India," n.d). This also

prevented and protected a girl from losing her virginity before she got married. Girls got

married before they started menses, but they lived with their birth parents for a while

after the marriage ("A History of Child Marriage in Ancient India," n.d). As soon as the

girls started menses, they would be sent over to their husbands' home. It was believed

that a father who allows his unmarried daughter, who has started menses to live in his

home, is responsible for the sin of abortion that takes place in his daughter's body every

month ("A History of Child Marriage in Ancient India," n.d).

The custom of child marriage could be started when the mother is pregnant with a child.

The parents could promise another set of parents that the baby inside the mother will

marry their child. Usually, young girls would get married to older boys or men. For

example, a 7 year old girl could be married to a 17 year old boy.

There were many positive advantages of child marriage. Parents could decide to whom

their children would be marrying. Usually, parents would marry their children to

individuals from the same caste as them (rich marry the rich, poor marry the poor). The parents would also marry their children into their friends' families because they know the

family very well and they also know that their...

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