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Jitendra Mathur


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Lakshmi Saragaara, A Slender Ray in the Thick Dark of the Indian Society

By: jmathur Posted Feb 08, 2013 General 1147 Views
(Updated Feb 08, 2013 12:14 PM)

I am a Rajasthani and remain proud of the colourful cultural heritage of Rajasthan. However my head bows down in shame when every year thousands of child-marriages take place in my home state on the day of Akshay Triteeya (popularly known as Aakha Teej in the local lingo). This vice is not only there in Rajasthan, it has been destroying the lives of millions of innocent ones throughout the nation for over a century. The kids who do not know what marital relation is all about, are forced into that by their parents who are under pressure from the respective societies they live in which are, in turn, a part of the giant traditional Indian society which has allowed this cruel practice to spoil the lives of the young ones. The female children are the bigger victims because in the traditional set-up, they are left with no choice when grown-up, except to accept whatever is thrown on them for the remaining part of their lives. The most unfortunate part of this fact is that the Indian courts following the archaic legal system of our country, have also acknowledged such marriages which are a clear violation of the Sharada Act of 1930 declaring the marriage of someone below the legally sanctioned marriage age as null and void.

Amidst this thick darkness, a slender ray of hope emerged yesterday when Lakshmi Saragaara, a young girl from a village in the Maarwaar region of Rajasthan, tied the sacred knot with a man of her choice after getting her marriage that had taken place at her age of just three years, nullified by the law. It's her courage and conviction only which stood up firmly against the cruel and inhuman custom and the pressure of the insensitive society. The path was not easy but always someone has to be the first one on the right track so that others may follow suit. And Lakshmi did it. She refused to accept her so-called marriage which had taken place when she was just an infant of the age of 3 years (must have been in the lap of her parents when the ceremony was going on) and fought a legal as well as social battle to emerge a winner in the end. Now, as a grown-up woman, she has tied the knot properly at her will and showed the way to several unfortunate sisters of hers who have been victimized by this custom in different nooks and corners of India.

I salute Lakshmi and her courage and I also admire her parents who when finding her determination as unshakable, stood by her and faced the social pressure coming on them to accept that childhood marriage and send Lakshmi to her SASURAAL (the home of 'those' in-laws).

Our country is marred by the divisions of different types, terrors of different types (meant for the innocents only), injustices of different types and hatreds of different types and the darkness is so thick that people like me get pessimistic about the nation time and again. But the courage of the youths like Lakshmi rekindles the fire of optimism and reaffirms the faith that truth and justice can still be protected. The dark is too thick, no doubt but even slender rays of hopes like this are able to revitalize the travellers passing through it. Hearty wishes Lakshmi for a long and happy wedded life and lots of thanks for preventing my candle of hope from blowing out for good.

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