Madhya Pradesh continues to battle one of the most
regressive practices in modern Indian history, Child Marriage. The state is one
of the 7 states in India where child marriage
is the most prevalent. According to NCPCR’s report on Child Marriage in India
based on 2011 census data, Madhya Pradesh ranks among the top ten states with
high percentage of child marriages among both boys and girls.
Let us not think that child marriage is restricted only to rural
areas and it is not an urban phenomenon. It is
alarming to note that it is growing in India, across both rural and
urban spaces. It is a growing menace that cuts across class, caste, religion
While the access to education has become easier, and
awareness about this social evil is widespread across the country, it is ironic
that it is still practiced at will in
“Child marriage is one of the biggest forms of socially
sanctioned sexual, physical and mental abuse of young children. The practice of
child marriage has time and again received been strongly opposed by government
institutions as well as civil society. And yet, as India grows economically
prosperous, its future continues to fall prey to illegal, under-age civil
unions,” says Mr. Satyarthi.
Several studies indicate that one of the strongest factors
that force people into marrying off their children is poverty. This is true,
especially in the cases of the girl child,
where they are seen as a liability to
Even in urban areas, despite the improvement in the overall
education of the people, the lack of economic alternatives contributes to the
prevalence of this practice.
Children who are forcibly
married, are often not provided access to any form of education for
their livelihood. This lack of education
is creating a cesspool of ignorance among girls and boys. Child marriage is a monumental hindrance to the socio-economic
progress that is expected of a state, and
ultimately, the country. It poses significant
risks to the health, education and demography of the country. At a time when
children are expected to play, study and live a carefree life, they are being
pushed to abandon their childhood and
take up responsibilities that are highly uncharacteristic and unbecoming of at such a tender age.
Child marriage, apart from being illegal, is also associated
with a multitude of risks to the children involved. These range from the physical and sexual complications that arise with
pregnancy to the subtle yet equally grave psychological trauma the children
The weak implementation of the prohibition of Child MarriageAct 2006 (PCMA) is another contributing factor to the growth of these
marriages. There is limited understanding of the law and very little understanding
of the functioning of the law or consequences of the act.
Mr Satyarthi said, “Children should be playing sports and studying hard. They should not be pushed
in marriage. We should not turn a blind eye to this growing problem. The time has
come for the whole country to take a strong stand against this practice of
child marriage. Madhya Pradesh has already taken an initiative to end this
Society at large needs to be educated on the numerous
problems associated with child marriage and the society
must be made aware of the pitfalls that dot the lack of education in the state.
Unless a strong stand against this regressive practice is taken, there will be no end in sight to the menace of child
marriage in this country. Child marriage should not exist in 21st
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