Shivlal is a student of Class 8. Of late, he has been faring poorly in his studies. He has also told his mother that he will flunk in the annual exam.
The reason: He is to be married off at an age when children of ilk are busy studying or just enjoying the age of innocence – and he can’t stand the barracking of his classmates.
“I don’t feel like coming to class. My classmates make fun of me. They call me ‘pamna’ and I hate it,” the 14-year-old Shivlal told this visiting IANS correspondent.
Pamna means bridegroom in the local language.
Ratni, who is Shivlal’s classmate and also his fiancee, endures such lampoons every day at the school.
“I don’t like Shivlal, but my mother says we will get married soon,” Ratni told IANS rather matter-of-factly.
Standing on the premises of a primary school at Mora village in Rajasthan’s Rajsamand district, Ratni, who looks younger than her age, seemed resigned to her fate.
According to the United Nations, Rajasthan accounts for the second highest number of child marriages and also ranks second in the world in this social evil.
Rajsamand is one of those districts in the state with a high prevalence of marriages. Despite the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act being in place, the practice is still rampant in northern India.