History of child marriage in Nepal
Nepal is a small and developing country, landlocked between India and China. The Geographical structure makes it hard for our country, to initiate any infrastructural process. The under developed country has made its people similar to it. The education system is poor, the corruption being high and laws being not strict. The people in the rural areas are still aware of the facilities which should be given to them at birth.
There are people who have been living like that of 20th-century people and yet the government seem to do nothing about it. These factors are the influencing factor of the people itself. If there is a good education system, there will be more awareness thus people will know about things they did not expect or think of. I am focusing on child marriages here. How many villagers know about the consequences of eloping at an early age or getting married at an early age? Do they know about the family planning? Do they know the importance of education?
This is the picture of Kamala aged 15 who had eloped at the age of 12 with her first child. She had eloped because there were rumors about her and then boyfriend being sexually active. This was not accepted by the family and they were threatened by the people. Thus, they had to elope at the early age without being concerned about the future.
Child marriage is illegal in Nepal since 1963. The current law states that any marriage of a child against their will is said to be illegal. The culprit will be punished through imprisonment and fines which may depend as per the case. The fine can be from Rupees one thousand to ten thousand. As per the statistics, 37% of girls in Nepal marry before the age of 18 and 10 per cent are married by age 15. This happens because of the unawareness and strict laws. The legal age as per the rules and regulation of Nepal is 20 years old for girls and 25 years for boys.
As per the UNICEF, data shows that Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India. When interviewing the young bride and people, they claim that the reason behind child marriage in Nepal is because of the low access to education, child labor, social pressures and harmful practices. The girls are deprived of the rights.
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The parents themselves consider that the birth of a girl child is more like a burden. Eventually, she will be getting married, having babies and doing the house hold works for which she should not be given education. Well, because that’s just lost to the parents in terms of time and money.
Many of the marriage that takes place is often arranged by the parents themselves or the relatives or the neighbors. And in some area of Nepal, girls are married at the age so young that she does not have a clue about what is a boy, what is marriage. The age is one and half years old. To be honest, marriage at the age of 1 and half years old is no different than being stupid. Some marriages take place before the girls even start their menstrual cycle. A young age and immature mind will do no good to the people and the nation itself. The tradition of child marriage has been continuing for years and years now. It has become more like a ritual- my mother did it, so will I and then my child will continue and so on and on.
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Love marriages are against the rule. If the people find out that you have been involved with a boy without letting others know or against the opposition, then that becomes a life threat. The boy and the girls are both given warnings or else they will be killed straight away. Thus, due to such threats, the couples elope without thinking about future plans. The consequences of child marriage are deeply harmful. Married children do not complete their education, the girls have babies at the early age which can be harmful to both the child and the mother. The reason behind early babies is due to the unawareness of contraception and the pressure they are given from their in laws to give them a child as soon as possible. And when they mean a child, it generally denotes to a boy child because they assume that men can only take care of the family rather than a girl.
As per the statistics, the early child bearing is risky for both the mother and child. Not only has the child, the mother faced health consequences which had taken their lives away. Even if the child is born, the child may suffer from various premature diseases which are caused due to insufficient nutrient. Also, the girl who marries as a child or at a young age is likely to suffer from domestic violence. The girls who were exposed to various domestic violence, mental and physical trauma, rape by their husbands were interviewed. They were facing these kinds of problems on the daily basis.
The government of Nepal has taken some actions to stop the practice of child marriage. But these are up to the people, if they are not fully aware of child marriages then the practice will not stop in a society. Alongside, the government should implement strict rules of punishing the one who supports this act. The interview of UNESCO has found that most child marriage takes place in the lower caste than any other caste. It might be due to lack of education, rights, and knowledge about the family planning. They are the group that is under privileged and are facing discrimination till date.
Poverty is the evil of every social crime and practices. As noticed, the main influencing factor of child marriage was poverty. Many parents have accepted that they married off their girl child because they could not feed them and had no money to send her to school. For the best choice, it was okay to let their girl child marry any older men who were similar to her father’s age. Social pressures drive child marriage. In some communities, it is seen as normal for girls to marry someone after they reach puberty or even before that. The payment of dowry which is considered to be illegal is still practiced in the village till date. The groom who is well educated and earns more asks more dowry to the bride. In some cases, dowry is an only financial incentive for marriage. If the girl cannot give money or dowry as per the husband’s demand, she is sometimes burnt alive or tortured every day.
Quality education provides protection from child marriage. Girls who are in school are less likely to get married because she will be knowing about the consequences of early marriage and early pregnancy. A girl who is educated can teach her parents about the consequences. She will be marrying at the right age and will be educating her own child later and that’s how a cycle starts. Parents, on the other hand, are discouraged from sending their children to school because 1. School is not available 2. Poor quality education and 3. High fees.
While the Nepal government focuses on providing everybody with primary education and basic education, they still do not have an appropriate mechanism so that children will be compelled to come to the school. The lack of education on sexual and reproductive health is the main problem. Many married girls were asked about what they knew about contraception, but they had no knowledge about it. Many NGO, INGO was actively involved in teaching them about the ways they can do to avoid unwanted pregnancy at an early age. Girls who have had love marriage said that they had eloped to avoid arrange marriage pressure, abusive behavior. Girls also claim that the impact of rumors and gossip on their marriage. When rumors spread about the pair, they had no choice but to marry. Girls who were sexually involved fell pregnant or feared pregnancy due to which they were rushed into marriage.
The situation is certainly getting better at some places even though the problem has not been totally eradicated. With growing economy, the government of Nepal has been implementing rules for the problem. The influence of social media and internet has also been improving the problem. We shall be hopeful that there will not be any cases of child marriage in the future.
Legal age to get married in Nepal:-
Social activists in Nepal agree that the only reason why this impoverished country will pass over the gender-connected Millennium development goals (MDGs) of the united international locations is the persistence of infant marriage. Nepal’s marriage regulation stipulates two decades as the criminal age for marriage for both sexes, however current information at the ministry of fitness and populace show as a minimum 23 percentage of ladies getting married off at 15 – 19 years. “Early marriage need to be stopped as it not only impacts ladies’ training however also their health,” Suman Tuladhar, schooling professional at the United countries kid’s Fund (UNICEF), tells IPS.
What’s legal age?
Legal age refers to authentic trendy of adulthood reaching which someone acquires full prison rights, in addition to duties for his or her acts and omissions. Even though an age of 18-years (maturity) is generally considered the legal age, it isn’t a universally everyday well-known and varies among jurisdictions and for activities which include consuming, riding, getting married, vote casting in elections.
Marriage is the intimate union and equal partnership of a person and a woman. It involves us from the hand of God, who created male and lady in his picture, so that they might end up one body and might be fertile and multiply. Though man and female are same as God’s kids, they’re created with important variations that permit them to give themselves and to acquire the opposite as a present.
What is legal age to get married in Nepal?
In the context of our country Nepal, The legal age of marriage is 20 years for both male and female, according to the Nepalese national policy. To get married in Nepal, the couple must meet up the Government of Nepal’s requirements. The authorities accountable for registering marriages are the CDO for every locality, popularly known as “CDO office.” In Kathmandu, the CDO bureau is situated in Babar Mahal likewise there are CDO office in all districts. The law states that punishment for infant marriage is imprisonment for up to a few years and a penalty of 10,000 rupees.
A new proposal has been made to change the minimum age for marriage from 18 to 20. According to the proposal, anyone found guilty of forcing people to marry sooner than the age of 20 would be sentenced to one-year jail or slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 or both. However, those who have reached the age of 18 are allowed to get married before they turn 20 with the permission of their guardians. The proposal also categorizes taking care of the parents in their old age as children’s duty. If found guilty of inflicting pain and suffering to the elderly or the newborns, they may be sentenced to three-year jail and slapped with a fine of Rs 30,000.
“We in reality need to strongly lobby against early marriage, but we are hampered by means of a completely terrible monitoring gadget to put in force the existing law,” Dibya Dawadi, deputy director-trendy in the branch of schooling, advised IPS.
However, for both the authorities in addition to non-governmental corporations (NGOs) involved with infant marriage, imposing the regulation is a predicament due to the fact criminal motion manner prosecuting the dad and mom.