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Should Marriage age of girls be increased or not: Where is Hindu voice in it?

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In June this year, the Center had formed a 10 member task force under politician Jaya whether the legal age of marriage for women could be changed from 18 years. The premises of this argument “to push the marriage age of girls” is broadly based on imperatives of lowering the MMR, improvement of nutritional levels and increasing higher education opportunities. now let’s try to understand different perspectives point wise:

First: analyze the premises of the argument

1.) Maternal Mortality rate is 7.3% as per 2016-2018 special bulletin on MMR, this says as per one lakh pregnant women 7300 maternal deaths, out of which 

age group Maternal mortality %
15-195% or (365 out of 7300 maternal deaths )
20-2433% or (2409 out of 7300 maternal deaths )
25-2932% or (2336 out of 7300 maternal deaths )

As per 2011 census approx. 10% girls married at the age of 15-17 years, this clearly shows that risk of maternal mortality is higher at the age of 20-24 years in comparison to 15-19 years. Additionally point to note here is as per NHFS-4 The median age at first birth is already 21.0 years.

(as per NHFS -4)age group prenatal mortality %  ( still birth + early neonatal mortality)non live birth %   (still birth + miscarriage + abortion)
15-19   4.5%10%
20-243.3% 8.2 %

But due to lack of proper correlated data, we cannot say with confidence that the reason behind the slight increase of non live birth and perinatal mortality among teenage girls, is either unwanted pregnancy or health issues. It could be both. 

2.) Nutrition levels as per NHFS-4 

the age groupsevere anemia    severe thinheight below 145 cm

This clearly shows that girls at the age group of 15-19 years face nutrition and growth challenges more as compared to the age group of 20-24 years. But a strange and interesting point to note here is less prevalence of MMR in teenage girls as shown above, despite nutrition and growth challenges. Quite possible that this severely weak health section of girls (approx.15%) from the 15-19 years age group is the cause behind perinatal mortality. 

3.) Education opportunities, as per NHFS -4 data, girls of 6-17 years age group.

7.9%  left school due to marriage 
24.8% left school due to no interest in studies.
19.3% left school due to too much cost. 
8.3% left school due to far distance from home.

This also shows that a major issue is lack of interest in studies in comparison to marriage. as we all have witnessed the increased scale of awareness and availability of resources since 2011 to present 2020. The possibility of improvement is high in these ten years. hence first we need to get fresh statistics in order to identify the need properly.

Second: analyze the law factor

Now simultaneously we also cannot ignore the fact about how law and system works differently over different sections of citizens, despite the norm that “kanoon ke liye sab barbar hai” e.g. Hindu and Muslim marriage laws are different in nature. Muslims marriage law allows girls to marry before 18 years on the basis of puberty. Delhi high court had allowed a below 18 girls marriage by citing this reason of puberty.

this new policy to “increase girls marriage age”, will force girls to convert into islam for marriage. As we are already witnessing LOVE JIHAD cases against hindu girls, it will increase in future. In Hadiya’s love jihad case, the supreme court had examined this same reason of puberty as well.

Another issue will be the difference between age of consent and age of marriage in case of girls. Now many readers will question, what is the big deal, for boys also both are different. Apart from the fact that needs are quite different on natural basis in boys and girls, here we also need to understand that boys don’t have direct consequences of sex i.e. Pregnancy and child. 

We cannot ignore the changing social dynamics and behaviours, modern sexual grooming of girls through cinema, “LIVEIN” trends and a natural upsurge to explore sex during teens. This new policy, will increase the possibility of unwanted pregnancy and abortion cases in the absence of marriage. this will force girls to go through the additional physical challenges and future risks due to abortion, which will add on the burden on nutrition needs as well. It will also burden the legal frame work with increased abortion cases. 

Third: analyze population growth wrt religious trends

As per NHFS 4 , Total fertility rate in muslims is 2.62%, Hindus is 2.13%, and Christians is 1.99% . This shows that Hindus and Christians are almost equal in total fertility rate, whereas muslims have the highest TFR. The percentage of women having 4 plus kids is 21.3% in muslims, 12.1% in Hindus and 11.6% in Christians. Again Christan and hindus are almost similar but Muslims exceeds almost double. 

Now many will jump to say ohh, Christians and Muslims are just 2.3% and 16% respectively of the total population of Bharat as per 2011 census. But, is this the true picture? is this really such low in % as it seems? Many research claims that the estimated population of Muslims and Christians is way higher than presented. 

What about crypto converts? We have no data. Crypto converts are those Hindus, who have Hindu identity on documents but follow either Christianity or Islam. In recent times numerous exclusive breaking news has been seen on crypto converts. We still remember the Palghar sadhu mob lynching to death case. The expansionist nature of these two cults also target and conspire against Hindus, we are witnessing love jihad and rice bag conversion cases. We also need to take note that Hindus are a minority at world level. Hindus don’t have a single nation specifically for Hindus. Hindus should not be targeted and guilty of being the majority in Bhaarat. Hindus are actually victims of majoritarian theory. 

As religious beliefs also guide our social habits and behaviors specially for population growth, we cannot ignore these perspectives. Trends of religious societies are of huge concern, because presently hindu society is mainly settled on “hum do humare do” and rapidly shifting to single child as norm. Further increase in girl’s age for marriage will even worse this trend for hindus. 

Since the independence, in Bhaarat the percentage share in total population, hindus has shrinked by -5.7 percent points as compared to other cults e.g. +5.4 percent points in muslims. With respect to all points discussed for the survival purpose Hindu society needs a constant positive population growth.

Fourth: analyze the different medical perspectives

1. No data study available about experience, preferences, pros-cons etc. of those mothers, who had pregnancy at teens. We also need to listen to the other side of the story while making a nationwide policy. Having kids at 18 years of age for girls will be harmful, it could be a one sided perspective.

2. Birth Deformity risk of newborn with respect to maternal age. No clear data collection is available , though indication, through down syndrome study, high risk of birth deformity with higher maternal age. This indirectly hints in favor of lower maternal age for healthy newborn. 

3. Ayurveda and hindu traditional practices suggest, the marriage age for girls should be in third year after her first menstruation cycle, later pregnancy follows. Ayurveda also suggests that older age of mother links to high risk pregnancy.

Fifth: analyze the panel of committee

Marriage is a subject derived from ethnic- religious social behavior. New Policy will be implemented across the nation, with 80% hindu population which believes in Ayurveda. Then Why NO TRADITIONAL Ayurveda expert is involved? why NO direct leadership from the communities or sub sections of society, which have prominent teen marriages are involved? Why only western lens occupied officers and members of government agencies are selected, to decide a solution on the issue of marriage age in Bhaaratiya society? Why is mainly allopathy driven thought process used to decide on factors for healthy pregnancy? These are a few questions from Hindu side.

Sixth : analyze the impact on family institution

Based on social observation, Presently we are witnessing the norm “humari ladki toh padai karti hai usse maggi aur chai hi banani aati hai” mostly mothers in urban settings proudly boast in social circle. A huge section of our present parent generation itself is deprived of proper “Rasoi Vigyan”. Our so-called  modern quick fix consumption habits are the reason behind our lifestyle health problems, for example use of aluminium vessels, fortified food, and junk food habits etc. 

Okay let’s discuss in detail with one example, in earlier times iron kadai was the norm but slowly German silver or aluminium took its place. Earlier we were habitual in traditional cooking in iron vessels. Everything has an important role in cooking, cleaning and storing iron kadai. it used to be done in a specific prescribed way.  But slowly iron vessels are reduced with ignorance of use instructions.  later when anemia prevails in society, then some guy innovated the iron fish concept. Basically the user has to keep the small piece of iron inside while cooking. We came back to the same concept of iron vessel use linked with reduction in anemia. Few more examples are like water filters with “copper” inside and “ayur shakti yukt” toothpaste.

A skilled girl in “rasoi vigyan ” is an essential part of family institution , as the health of every individual of the family is directly linked to the housewife. “rasoi vigyan ” is not the same thing as cooking classes from some chief. “Rasoi vigyan” includes a huge portion of ayurveda and traditional practices of locals and families. late marriages are more prone for divorce, due to ego and less adaptability. A lot can be discussed in this, as it is a multidisciplinary topic. A traditional and skilled housewife is an essential part of any society. so rest my case here. 

Well my purpose to write this article is not to be harsh on girls, as some will think. But I wanted to showcase those hidden ignored perspectives, which are essential in order to make an informed decision on the new policy related to girl’s marriage age. Because this proposal of new policy has huge potential to change the behavioural and cultural dynamics of this nation.

Before taking any decision the government needs a fresh data set from different perspectives. Then later identification of the right set of gaps and needs related to marriage, pregnancy and population. Low possibility that one generalized solution will work to multiple needs. Customized solutions are required in order to solve the problem. Solutions should be blended with culture, not to change the cultural practices in 180 degree and end up destroying the same. Government also has to consider the worries of Hindu society well in advance before making policy which will affect a population which has Hindu majority.

Rest my case. 

Does change is even required or present status is the better

Hindus Think thorough and deep 

Don’t dismiss reality due to preoccupied western morden lens

// chaitanya_hindu //

Har har mahadev

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