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No water, no marriages

RECURRING WATER crisis is changing age-old social customs in the Bundelkhand region as mothers-in-law and daughters of the family, not daughters-in-laws now have to fetch water.

india Updated: May 16, 2006 14:56 IST

RECURRING WATER crisis is changing age-old social customs in the Bundelkhand region as mothers-in-law and daughters of the family, not daughters-in-laws now have to fetch water.

In village Saderi, marriage proposals have completely stopped coming for eligible males of the village, because water resources are situated downhill.

Sarpanch, Mahendra Singh, said currently there were more than 150 bachelors aged above 35 years in the village, but marriage proposals had completely stopped coming to these families. “There are also more than 200 youths aged between 18 and 34 years also facing the same problem,” he added.

Singh said the problem had become grimmer during the last 15 years because of the rise in living standards in rural areas. “Farmers are earning more from soyabean and now they want to marry their daughters into well-off families,” he added. In the last 10 years, more than 50 families migrated to nearby villages to marry off their sons.

Kamlarani Sen got brides for her two sons only after she gave a verbal assurance the brides would not fetch water. She added, if ever the brides fetch water, their relatives remind them of the ‘agreement’.

Ram Narayan Sahu said he married his son to a physically challenged girl to save the family’s honour and show that his son was no longer a bachelor.

So far, four wells constructed by the PHE Department and one pond constructed by the Irrigation Department have dried up. In 2002, when HT reported on the water crisis of the village, the then MLA Surendra Choudhary had tried to solve the problem and had constructed a pond at a cost of Rs 4 lakh.