Kiran - Courage of her convictions
No to Aata Sata Pratha: A case of denial of the tradition of early marriage
Kiran, 14 years old from village Daglawda in Bundi district, is a student of 8th standard. She lives with her mother, father and 4 siblings. Her elder sister was married at the age of 16 years as was prevalent in their village. One day Kiran came to know that she, too, is going to get married to a 20 year old boy in a group marriage traditional ceremony called ‘Aata-sata pratha*’.
Meanwhile, ‘Swabhiman Kendra’ had become functional in Kiran’s village. Kiran had also become a member of ‘Swabhiman Kendra’ where they were imparted interactive sessions on gender roles and responsibilities, socialization process, life cycle approach of early and child marriage and its harmful impacts, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act and storytelling sessions and required skill to facilitate decision making power to increase self-efficacy.
Since Kiran had become aware of how early marriage negatively impacts growth and development of adolescent, she was not ready to get married. She had made many friends at the ‘Swabhiman Kendra’ and learnt life skills to support her decisions. She discussed the matter with her friends and then they met the local school teacher to seek support in delaying her marriage. The School teacher also raised this issue at Panchayat meeting and briefed the matter to Sarpanch. In turn, the Panchayat Secretary shared the issue with SDM and finally Police contacted her parents and warned them not to marry Kiran before the age of 18 without her consent. This incidence also helped in cancellation of three more early marriages planned in the same community.
At present, Kiran is continuing her education and has become a role model for other girls in her community.
* Aata-Sata Pratha is an exchange of brother/cousin and sister/cousin of one family with brother/cousin and sister/cousin of another family through marrige.