The Child’s Responsibilities|
Uncovering the Challenges of a Young Bride in India|
Arranged marriages are still traditionally performed in many foreign countries. Most people who do not believe in this tradition find it hard to understand how another person could be the determinate of who they will spend the rest of their life with. Some cultures get along well with marital arrangements but there are still some countries still having problems keeping their tradition going without violating anyone’s human rights. India is a country who still carries the tradition of arranged marriages. While many of the marriages are performed with the bride and groom accepting of their new commitment there are still many cases where arranged marriages are being forced, the type of marriage discussed through the paper. In a society where there is little to no regard to a women’s opinion or voice, arranged marriages in another way the women’s’ freedom is controlled. Arranged marriage is a marital agreement without the mutual consent of both wife and groom. Although uncommon to Americans, this tradition is still being performed in different countries along with some foreign citizens living in the United States. The arranged marriages are primarily performed through the parents of the child or children being married off with exception of the few cases where the arrangement may be performed through a relative or non-relative. The Human Rights Watch offers a very detailed publication revealing many of the perils Afghan women encounter in their culture in a chapter titled “Forced and Child Marriage” written by Rachel Reid. In the chapter Reid identifies different types of marital arrangements and many different reasons why parents choose the option of arranging a marriage for their children. Some of the most common forms of the marriages are:
• marriage for compensation of currency or goods with value
• badal (a marriage exchange which generally involves a brother and sister of one family marrying the sister and brother of another family, which can remove the need for the payment of dowries or “bride prices”)
•baad (marriage as “compensation” for a crime)
•marriage to pay a debt”
These different forms reveal little regard for the child being married off and is a factor uncommonly considered. These marriages have no limits on when families can start planning. In certain societies in India, it is seen as another planning process to consider when having a child. “Toddlers married at Akha Teej (a highly religious day in western India) ceremonies in Rajasthan cannot ‘consent’. Nor is consent given in the cases of young girls from very poor homes in the Indian city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, sold as wives to rich men in the Middle East” (8 Black, Victoria, and Nicolette). Religiously there are no age restrictions to when a child can be married off and many of the marriages are performed while the child is in their teens or younger. Both males and females can be forced into arrange marriages although cases for the forced marriage of young grooms are not as frequent as young brides. In the articles, there are no examples or mentioning of young boys getting married off to older women. The males are normally the ones looking for the brides and families with girls are in search of a groom as soon as the start of their daughter’s menstrual cycle. The group most affected by the marriages are females between the ages of 10-18. Despite being considered women because of the onset on menses girls are married off with the mentality of a child and “the AIHRC(Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission) and UNIFEM(United Nations Development Fund for Women) estimate that 57 percent of girls are married before the legal age of 16”(Reid). The girls have to make a quick transition into adulthood along with being consumed with the responsibilities of being wives without any prior warning or lessons on what to expect. The girls...