ADVERTISEMENT

No wedding tents for child marriages, suppliers vow

South Asia is home to 42 percent of all child brides worldwide. India alone accounts for one-third of the global total, according to UNICEF.

No wedding tents for child marriages, Indian suppliers vow

Suppliers of wedding tents may not be the most obvious allies in the battle to prevent child marriage, but in India's Rajasthan state they have come together to tackle some of the highest rates of early marriage in the country.

The Tent Dealers Welfare Samiti (Association) of Rajasthan, which has more than 9,000 members, has been demanding to see the birth certificates of the brides and grooms it has been supplying.

In India, the legal age of marriage for a woman is 18 and 21 for a man. The charity Girls Not Brides estimates the rate of child marriage to be as high as 65 percent in Rajasthan and almost 70 percent in the eastern state of Bihar.

The tent dealers association has stopped at least 80 child marriages in Rajasthan in the past two years, its president Ravi Jindal said.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We want to show people that this is wrong, that they should not be doing this," Jindal told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "We complain to the police and the village headman, get them to intervene, so there is pressure on them to not do it."

Despite their efforts, and similar actions by thousands of suppliers across the state, the practice is rampant, he said.

In Rajasthan, a state famed for its palaces and forts, weddings peak during the Akshaya Tritiya festival in April and May, which is considered an auspicious period.

Colourful tents decorated with flowers and lights are often erected for guests to enjoy the wedding feast.

Worldwide, more than 700 million women were married before their 18th birthday, according to a 2014 UNICEF report.

ADVERTISEMENT

While boys are also married as children, girls are disproportionately affected, it said. Early marriage makes it more likely that girls will drop out of school, and campaigners say it also increases the risks of exploitation, sexual violence, domestic abuse and death in childbirth.

Child marriage is most common in rural areas and among the poor, where a girl is seen as a financial burden, said Sanjay Sharma, general manager at the Save the Children charity in Rajasthan.

Girls are also married early because of fears for their safety, he said.

"It is not as though people are not aware of the law, that it is not permitted," Sharma said.

"But they say it is their tradition. So every little action helps, be it from the police, from the government or tent suppliers," he said.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Unblock notifications in browser settings.
ADVERTISEMENT

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

Female prison admissions rise by 4.82% in Nigeria

Female prison admissions rise by 4.82% in Nigeria

Nigeria ranked 2nd least indebted country in Africa

Nigeria ranked 2nd least indebted country in Africa

High salt intake causes 17.9 million deaths from heart attack and stroke

High salt intake causes 17.9 million deaths from heart attack and stroke

Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger will reverse decision on ECOWAS exit - Ndume

Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger will reverse decision on ECOWAS exit - Ndume

Abigail Katung makes history as Leeds' first African descent Lord Mayor

Abigail Katung makes history as Leeds' first African descent Lord Mayor

Bandits kill 9 persons, destroy 6 houses in Plateau's Wase LGA

Bandits kill 9 persons, destroy 6 houses in Plateau's Wase LGA

Soyannwo was an armour-bearer - 
Sanwo-Olu honours late aide at tribute

Soyannwo was an armour-bearer - Sanwo-Olu honours late aide at tribute

Tinubu's aide praises translation of Disability Laws into Sign, local languages

Tinubu's aide praises translation of Disability Laws into Sign, local languages

NSCDC rescues 13 human trafficking victims in Kano

NSCDC rescues 13 human trafficking victims in Kano

Pulse Sports

Tobi Amusan second, Brume Ese picks Olympics ticket, and other Nigerians excel at Atlanta City Games

Tobi Amusan second, Brume Ese picks Olympics ticket, and other Nigerians excel at Atlanta City Games

Caicedo, Kudus or Garnacho: Who should win EPL goal of the season?

Caicedo, Kudus or Garnacho: Who should win EPL goal of the season?

'I want to be beautiful' - Sha’Carri Richardson on why she keeps long nails

Osimhen: PSG set for life after Mbappe with 200 BILLION NAIRA move for Super Eagles star

Osimhen: PSG set for life after Mbappe with 200 BILLION NAIRA move for Super Eagles star

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT