WB: 14-year-old protests against child marriage

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Child Marriage
Purulia, Jul 25: Though they are few in numbers, it hasn't yet been eradicated. With the act considered as  violation of human rights, the ancient traditional practice of "Baal Vivaah" or Child marriage hasn't seen its end even today. In a recent incident at Purulai district of West Bengal, 14-year-old Bina Kalindi has turned out to be a "hero" for her crucial role in opposing this illegal act.

Sixteen-year-old Saraswati was married off at the age of 12. By the time she turned 14, she had suffered two miscarriages and her first husband had deserted her. She was remarried by her parents and her third child was born.

"Today I'm suffering because I was married early. There's only sadness, my kid is always sick," she said. Saraswati's sister Bina didn't want to follow her victimised elder sister's footsteps under the pressure of her parents and society. She is the first girl in the village to oppose the matter.

Bina is a child labourer and also works at her home on behalf of her sick mother. Just 12-years-old then, she was considered as the oldest unmarried girl in the village. So her father forced her to appear before prospective grooms not even once or twice, but four times. And each time, Bina had the same answer. "Every time I refused and said no to them. I told them I don't want to get married so early but study and stand on my own feet," Bina said.

"My father asked me to leave the home if I don't agree. I was scared initially but I gathered the courage because I had to save my life," she said.

Today Bina and her friends go from village to village, speaking out at public gatherings. But Bina has had to face the ire of the villagers for challenging archaic traditions.

"Villagers threaten me, show their anger, but I know I'm doing good work. When these girls grow up and have a career then their parents will realise that Bina was right," she said.

"Ballo Bibaaho" has been a child's nightmare since ages as described and protested by scholar Ishwar Chadra Vidyasagar.


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