In little known Charmeghna village in Nadia’s Hogolberia, bachelors are a worried lot! The reason? Seen as virtual castaways on a piece of land on the banks of Mathabhanga River and outside the fence at the Bangladesh border, the eligible bachelors of Charmeghna are having trouble wooing desirable brides.
Home to about 200 tribal households and an estimated 545 voters, the village has long been tagged a no man’s land.
Living as they do on the wrong side of the India-Bangladesh border, the luckless Charmeghna bachelors are seen as outsiders and not as desirable suitors for brides-to-be in villages nearby. Suffice to say that in a land of eligible bachelors, marriage proposals don’t come in a steady drip and wedding receptions are almost unheard of.
If at all a rare groom finds a bride and a marriage party has to roll into the village, those invited need to carry their voter identity cards or any other identification document and have to go through a phalanx of security personnel on vigil at the border fence. They also have to undergo rounds of checking, frisking and questioning by BSF jawans at the gate before being allowed to pass through. Moreover, they are required to be back in time before the gate shuts.
The gate stays open from 6pm to 9pm, 11am to 1pm and again from 3pm to 5pm. All guests have to leave their identity cards at the gate and sign on a register before being let in.
Fathers on the India side of the border are not willing to consider marriage proposals from Charmeghna once they know that the groom or the bride is from the ill-fated village.
Apart from being home to luckless bachelors, the village lacks basic health care services and not all homes have electricity either. Even potable water is a luxury for Charmeghna settlers.
It is alleged that the BSF men have, on occasions, turned away women who went into labour and had to be rushed to hospital. The Charmeghna residents are condemned to living a life worse than prisoners and with the village home to barely a handful of settlers, crime is rampant. Goons from Bangladesh often raid the village at night and escape with a hefty loot, mostly paddy or livestock.
The village has hardly drawn any high-profile political visits as the settlers have been consigned to their sorry fate.
Bidesh Mondal, who recently completed his MA and his marriage proposals, said: “The only option left for us is to pursue higher studies and get a decent job. Only then can we purchase a piece of land on Indian territory and woo a suitable bride.”
Buddhodeb Mondal, a CPI(M) panchayat member of Charmeghna, said: “I can cite as many as 15 youths here who bagged government jobs, but still couldn’t draw any marriage proposals. They finally settled on the India side of the border and are happily married. Similarly, there are many eligible brides here who fail to find desirable grooms.”