For all those who live in urban areas, child marriage may be a practice of old times but in some rural areas, it is practised even today.
Fatima Mangre, who is from Shravasti, UP, India, got married at the age of 4 to Arjun Bakridi who was of 10 years at the time of marriage, but after 4 years of marriage, in 2013 Fatima became the youngest divorcee of the world.
The girl, even after marriage, stayed with her family till she was 8; however, when the boy came to take his wife with him, Fatima’s father Anil Mangre changed his mind and made it clear to the boy as well as his family that he wants his daughter to stay with him till she reaches the age of 18.
In the words of Anil Mangre, “I finally realised that this practice of marrying off daughters so young was wrong and that she should have a childhood and that it was my duty to provide that.”
This led to a dispute between both the families but the matter got settled when the National Women Commission intervened. Anil had already applied for divorce and finally in the year 2013, he divorced Fatime, making her the youngest divorcee just at the age of 8.
Anil Mangre stated, “I have already admitted my mistake. Social pressures are high in our village. But the marriage has been annulled. I have admitted it was wrong to marry her off so early. I now want to make things right. I want to give my daughter a good childhood. I will do everything to protect her.”
As per a report by UNICEF, “Over 32.9% of the girls are married against the national average of 22.1% below the legally permissible age of 18 in the state.” The data also reveals that maximum underage weddings are conducted in Shravasti. The report told that 72.6 % boys and 82.5% girls in Shravasti are married before they reach the legal age of marriage. Another shocking revelation has been made by the report, i.e., female literacy is merely 19% in Shravasti.