Bajura, October 14
Child marriage continues to remain a common practice in the remote villages of Bajura district.
Tara Rawat of Barhabisha – 1, Selapakha, a seventh grader at Bhagawati Secondary School, was compelled to discontinue her education when her parents married her off at the age of 14 last year.
Mansara Rawat, 15, a fellow classmate of Tara meanwhile married her boyfriend without parental consent, according to her father Nandu Rawat. Dhruba Shahi, an eighth grader, of the locality also tied the knot at the age of 14 and failed to continue his education.
Early marriage is rampant in remote Bajura district even today. Many of the youngsters, hardly out of their teens, marry as and when they wish and drop out of school subsequently, said teacher Dammar Bahadur Singh of Bhagawati School.
Mina Nepali of Barhabisha – 5 also married at an early age, according to her father Krishna. “She tied the knot sans our consent. She was studying in Grade IX and afterwards couldn’t continue her studies ,” regretted her father Krishna.
Khadka Shah, headteacher of Dogadi Higher Secondary School, lamented the steady loss of students in his school, while Purna Shahi, headteacher of Bhagawati Secondary School, said that as many as 23 young girls and boys of the school alone got married in the past two years.
Many of them are said to be girls from Grade VII to X and had stopped attending school.
Dipendra Shahi, a ninth grader at Bhagawati School, married while he was in Grade IX without consulting his family a year ago. He was only 14 years old then. “I regret my rash decision to marry while I was still so immature,” bemoaned Shahi.
Early marriage followed by discontinuation of education is an issue that is a constant source of concern in Malika HS School, Ratna HS School, and Kanda Bhawani HS School, among others.
Sher Bahadur Shahi, a Civil Society Leader stated, “The trend has been on the rise in the district.
Clearly, the campaigns run to advocate education and marrying at a more mature age by multiple organisations have not been effective and more needs to be done.”