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Report: Men can't get wives in water-deprived village

Would-be brides are reluctant to marry into families in the village of Saderi, 480 kilometres southwest of New Delhi, because they would have to walk long distances every day to fetch water, Hindustan Times said.

india Updated: May 30, 2003 10:04 IST

Would-be brides are reluctant to marry into families in the village of Saderi, 480 kilometers southwest of New Delhi, because they would have to walk long distances every day to fetch water,

Hindustan Times

said.

More than 10 wives tired at the hardship have walked out on their husbands, as taps and wells in the village run dry in the blazing summer months, according to one abandoned husband, Jagat Chadar. "My wife kept saying she will not fetch water. One day when her father came to meet her, she left with him and never returned," Chadar said.

The newspaper said there were about 80 young men in Saderi who were looking for brides.

In a reversal of Indian tradition, whereby brides pay hefty sums for the hand of a groom, the men in Saderi are offering to pay dowry in a desperate attempt to woo women to their village, the report said.

One villager, Nanhe Bhai Dangi, 35, said he has offered 50,000 rupees (US$1,060) to any woman willing to marry him and settle in Saderi, but has had no takers so far.

There are no sources of water in the village, which depends on three hand-operated pumps and two wells located two kilometers downhill from the community, the newspaper reported. Carrying water from wells is viewed as women's responsibility in Indian society where men and women have traditionally defined roles. Men work in the fields while women are responsible for the home. At Saderi, the women face a grueling uphill climb balancing pots of water on their heads in Rajasthan's searing heat where temperatures can touch 44 degrees Celsius (111.2 degrees Fahrenheit) during the summer months.

First Published: May 30, 2003 10:04 IST