Akshay Tritiya or Aki or Akha Teej, is considered an auspicious day for Hindus over the various states and various communities. The day is believed to bring success and good luck and doing charity on the day brings positive results. Starting new ventures also considered to bring greater results. Hence starting a new business, buying property, beginning construction is auspicious, as stated and believed widely. The day brings fortune when you decide to buy gold or invest somewhere as well. There is one more thing that is considered to bring happiness in your life. That is marriage. With the below average education and awareness in India, this day is being misused for arranging marriages before the acceptable and legal age. And, that is the concern.
Marriages On Akshay Tritiya Are Auspicious. But Not Child Marriages
Widely socially accepted, child marriages are part of the societal fabric in Rajasthan. It is common practice to get children married on auspicious days such as Akshay Tritiya/Aakha Teej and Peepalpunio, and even during mrityubhoj/mausar (death feast organized when a family member dies) as a cost saving measure. The practice of atta –satta (a system in which if a family marries its son to a family’s daughter, it also has to marry its daughter to a son in the other family, irrespective of her age) is also common in the state. Several communities also perform mass child marriages due to economic benefits on auspicious days like Akha Teej, Peepul punyo, Ram Navami. Some castes especially Gujars also perform mass marriages ( Bavani) under the cover of religion.
Child marriage leads to drastic changes in the life of a girl or boy but more so in the lives of girls in a stringently patriarchal society like Rajasthan. Their fundamental rights are compromised. While much of the impact remains hidden, it is absolutely clear that millions of children and young people – particularly girls suffer negative consequences. These include loss of childhood, denial of freedom; denial of education as both young boys and especially girls are forced to drop out of school, loss of decision making capacity, increased violence on girls and adverse consequences on health of girls.
Stringent patriarchal social customs and norms pervading in the state emerge as one of the key determinants of child marriage. Alongside, several other factors contribute to large scale child marriages taking place in the state. Among these prominent are – lack of literacy and education, silent acceptance of child marriage by caste panchayats, political and social leaders, the practice, Nata, aata-saata and re-marriage as an option, inability to find suitable life partners at an adult age and parents preferring to marry children early due to uncertainty of their own future.
Each One Preach One
Bringing this issue on the auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya, might bring positive results for the concern as well. If we all try and do our best to not only not be superstitious about it but also to make others aware. Help others understanding that happiness is attained itself when the person or the child whose life is being decided, is happy. Share the article with your own thoughts about it and be a part.
There would be many stories of surrendering and succumb to the situation yet many, that set an example.
Nita (name changed) is 16-year old young girl who stays in a village near Ajmer. Nita’s mother was murdered by her father at the age of 9. Since then Nita’s been brought up by her grandparents. As Nita started growing up, her relatives started putting pressure on her for marriage. Her grandparents also gave up in front of the relatives and agreed for her marriage and her uncle fixed her engagement without her consent but Nita had a “Never giving up” attitude. She used her studies as a tool and postponed her engagement.
NGO MJAS was in contact with Nita all the time. She used to share each and everything with the community mobilizers of the organization. Our community mobilizers made her believe that her decisions were right and they are in full support with her. She started attending the adolescent girls group regularly and brought other young girls with her and shared the struggle of her life openly with everyone. She is an inspiration for others and give others courage to do what’s right according to them.
Presently, Nita studies in class XII and wants to continue her studies. She does not want to be dependent on anyone and wants to be a strong independent lady. Nita is an active member of our adolescent girls group. She talks to other girls in the group and tries to understand their problem and try to solve them as well.
There have been many ups and downs in Nita’s life. She was deprived of her parent’s love and care at a very young age. Still she has had the courage to take a step against the societal norms and do what is right. She is an inspiration for other young girls in her community and her struggle will continue.
Cause Partner: CRY