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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

‘Kranti’ against child marriage in a village in UP’s Bahraich

Eldest among four siblings, Kranti became a part of NGO Dehat’s ‘Child Parliament’ initiative in Bahraich.

cities Updated: Aug 14, 2019 10:29 IST
Saurabh Chauhan
Saurabh Chauhan
Hindustan Times, Lucknow 
The Class 10 student of Acharya Ramesh Chandra Inter College said she came to know about her family’s plans for her marriage earlier this month.
The Class 10 student of Acharya Ramesh Chandra Inter College said she came to know about her family’s plans for her marriage earlier this month. (HT image)
         

A family in Gokulpur village of Bahraich in Uttar Pradesh had planned to marry off their 17-year-old daughter, Kranti, to a resident of Inderpur village in Nepal. Little did they know that their feisty daughter would, true to her name (which means revolution), revolt against their plans -- becoming the first girl in her village to do so.

The Class 10 student of Acharya Ramesh Chandra Inter College said she came to know about her family’s plans for her marriage earlier this month.

“Everything was set. The date was likely to fall sometime in September,” said Kranti, adding, “But nobody was bothered to find out how I felt about the situation -- Was I ready for marriage? What did I want in my life?”

“I knew marriage would end my educational journey. Early marriage also means early pregnancy, which I know is not good for health. These are some of the arguments that I used to convince my family against marrying me off,” said the youngster.

Kranti said she had seen many child brides. “A few years ago, child marriage was normal for me. But that was before I joined the ‘Child Parliament’ and came to know about its ill-effects,” she said.

Eldest among four siblings, Kranti became a part of NGO Dehat’s ‘Child Parliament’ initiative in Bahraich. She was the defence minister there. “We used to deliberate on different social issues, including child marriages, during the sessions,” said Kranti.

Coordinator of ‘Dehat’, Jitendra Chaturvedi, said, “We came to know about it days after she revolted against her family’s decision. It took a lot of effort to convince her family, especially her father, to shelve the plan of her marriage.”

Kranti said her parents spoke to the boy’s family. “Both sides were planning to meet up to finalise the wedding date but I remained firm on my stand. I am happy that my parents listened to me. I want to achieve something and education is the key to success. I also want to help those whose dreams are throttled by early marriages,” she said.

According to the National Family Health Survey 2015-16, as many as 49.9% women in Bahraich district, aged 20 to 24 years, got married before reaching the age of 18 years, and 9.9% mothers fell in the 15-19 years age bracket.