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Child Marriages in India

Children have a legal right to attend school. However, several parents ignore this.

Child Marriages in India

Children have a legal right to attend school. However, several parents ignore this.

Child Marriages in India

Children have a legal right to attend school. However, several parents ignore this.

Child Marriages in India

Children have a legal right to attend school. However, several parents ignore this.

India is home to the highest number of child brides in the world. Around 27 percent of girls are married before turning 18 years and 7 percent are married before the age of 15.

Utpala (name changed due to privacy) was barely 15 when she gave birth to a healthy baby girl. She had just completed class seven when her family arranged her marriage with a wealthy business-man. Utpala's grandmother was ill and expressed her wish to witness her granddaughter's wedding before her death. Utpala's mother who was a doctor and her father who was a business man went ahead with the wedding preparations. What must have been a summer vacation for Utpala turned out to be the end of her school life. While her classmates became busy with studies, Utpala faced her responsibilities as a wife and mother. Years passed by. Utpala went to her school, one day. It was Sports Day, the next day and practice sessions were going on. Her classmates were in class 12 now and leaving school the next year. Two of them saw Utpala and rushed over excitedly to talk to her. Just then, a little girl wearing the same school uniform, a blue pinafore over a white shirt, joined them. She asked Utpala, "Mummy, who are they?" The friends stood dumbfounded with awkward smiles as they heard Utpala saying, "They are Mummy's classmates."

This is a real-life example of a child who got married when she was in her early teens. Despite coming from an affluent and well-educated family background, Utpala could not escape from this social evil. India is home to the highest number of child brides in the world -15,509,000 and counting. Utpala is just one of them. According to a survey conducted in 2018 by the UNICEF, around 27 percent of girls are married before turning 18 years and 7 percent are married before the age of 15.

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