Men are a lonely lot in villages bordering Pakistan in Barmer district of Rajasthan. Backwardness, geography and social milieu are taking toll on marriage bazaar. Finding brides is becoming harder each day.
Number of bachelors has shot up in more than dozen villages. Samandar Singh of Pania village said there were no takers for men from his community. “Our boys are depressed; their families and relatives are also dejected.” Villagers rue the terrain. Mohanlal, a senior citizen, said “geography of his village is no less than calamity”. Most villages like Hapia, Paia, Rohidala, Beejaval and Sundara — battling severe bride crunch — do not have basic amenities like healthcare, education, water and even post offices.
Thirty-seven-year-old Shanti Kanwar cannot dream of bringing his sister or niece to his village. “How can I afford to bring them here. Women have to trek seven km to fetch water and even more to purchase food.” Social activist and convener of non-profit organization Pak Visthapit Sangh (PVS) Hindu Singh Sodha told Hindustan Times that government had turned a blind eye to villages on western fringe.
Another reason for backwardness is the National Desert Park, a development project. Government has banned road construction to facilitate it. Poor roads and transportation make life difficult for 52-year-old Rattan. “I lost one of my daughters in-law because we could not give her natal help during pregnancy,” she said. Bhagwat, 37, has given up hope to marry. “No one considered proposals from our community.”
Villages have fallen off the map. After 60 years of democracy, the gram sevak and patwari, village administrative and revenue heads, come astride camels. “Threat of war looms round-the clock. We live as second grade citizens,” Bhagwat said.
Bachelors are a strain on social fabric and family institutions. Most of them are traumatized and vulnerable to committing gender crimes.