Sapna, 15, lost her mother 10 years ago and her father, a labourer, had grown determined to marry her off. But the girl was not willing to take this lying down.
With the help of the Bhilwara district administration, she has been able to rescue herself from the clutches of early marriage.
Acknowledging her bravery and boldness, the social justice and empowerment department of the Rajasthan government has decided to give her a gallantry award and a local NGO will chip in a cash prize of Rs2,100.
A resident of a village in Bhilwara district, 252 km south-west of Jaipur, Sapna waged her war early this year.
“I wrote to the district collector and requested him that I did not want to be a baalika vadhu (child bride),” said Sapna. In her letter, she mentioned her mother's death and his father, Mahaveer Meena, was forcing her and her younger brother and sisters to get married at a tender age.
Sapna is studying in Class 9 in a local government school and wants to be a teacher.
“My father is angry at what I have done but I am firm with my decision. I want to raise my siblings with respect in society and support them financially and morally,” Sapna said.
Bhilwara deputy director KK Chandravanshi said the spirit to fight social customs and her courage and awareness had set an example for all the village girls.
“After her letter, the administration took quick steps to prevent Sapna from getting married. We have recommended her name for a gallantry award,” he said.