Sanata Murmu, the 14-year-old child bride from West Bengal fights back Child Marriage in India. A mother of two daughters now , the poor tribal girl has fought back her way after four long years to complete her studies.Before turning into a child bride, Murmu always dreamt of being a teacher one day.But an early marriage at the tender age of 14 had forced her out of school when she was in class VIII.Her father funded the education of her brother till master’s level but when it came to his daughter’s future, he, unfortunately, has a different yardstick.In this patriarchal society of 21st century, unfortunately, it’s still believed that women are born to get married after puberty and ultimately have to bear children.It’s very shocking to realise that India is still battling with the age old issues to
“Suddenly one day I was told that I am getting married to someone.That time I couldn’t do anything to save me or continue my studies, but now I have convinced my husband,” said Murmu.
In this patriarchal society of 21st century, unfortunately, its still believed that women are born to get married after puberty and ultimately have to bear children.It’s very shocking to realise that India is still battling with the age old issues to child marriages, gender discriminations at every step in every field, domestic violence,female infant mortality etc.
Fighting back Child Marriage in India: How she did this:
Sanata now leaves her children with her in-laws and husband, walks 3km every morning from Kushmandi village in south Dinajpur district to attend Manikore high- school.Her first class resumed last week after a gap of four years.
“I am very excited, I am the senior most in the class now and they look up to me with lots of respect,” said Murmu, whose elder daughter Vasundhara is 3 years old and attends the Anganwadi play school.
Not only this, but she is actively working to alleviate child marriages in India.Being the victim of child marriage, she took a vow to help other young teens in her village.Till now she was able to stop at least 3 such underage girls to from being forcibly married off by societal pressure in the tribal Santhal community ,where a girl is considered to get married after her puberty.
During this period, she was engaged with CINI (Child In Need Institue), an NGO and started working as an NGO volunteer for eradicating child marriages in India.Her noble charity work was noticed and she was called by UN General Assembly to share her motivational story of how maternal mortality can be prevented by implementing the ban on child marriage in India.The turning point came when people in America asked herr about her education.
“I was sad to tell them I studied only till class VIII.I promised them to go back to my village and restart my studies. I took it as a challenge and now successfully kept my word”, said Murmu.
Getting admission to school was easy.“The headmaster initially refused to admit her, but after the intervention BDO(BlockDevelopment officer), the matter was settled,” said Sujoy Roy from CINI.
Last but not the least, Murmu’s labourer husband Gobind Hemram has been a constant support throughout her journey.
“I am proud of her and realised that life would have been better for her if we wouldn’t have got married early.Education and health are in the topmost priority and therefore, I am supporting her, “said Hemram, a class V dropout himself.