It is estimated that 47% of girls in India are married before their 18th birthday. However, a gutsy teenager from Kolkata refused to become yet another statistic and decided to fight against the system.
Going against her family, a 14-year-old girl walked into a police station with her 21-year old brother, on Tuesday, to urge the cops to stop her marriage which was scheduled to be held on January 25, 2018.
A Kanyashree beneficiary, she hails from a low-income family and harbours dreams of joining the IPS. According to police, the girl said that she wanted to complete her education, but her father wanted her to get married. She was initially indecisive, but her brother helped her take a stand. She was also inspired by her teacher who told her that child marriage was a crime. Additional help came in the form of a rights worker, in Tangra, who managed to convince the girl to back out of the marriage.
The family’s economic situation is not very favourable—the girl’s father is a labourer in a factory, and her mother is a tailor. Perhaps it is adverse economic conditions, amongst other things, that breeds the evil of child marriage?
A senior police officer, speaking to the Times of India, said the parents would be called to the police station, and counselled appropriately, by authorities.
It takes a lot to go against the system, especially when you are young and vulnerable. This teenager has managed to chart her own path, which is a welcome rarity.