Two tales from a ‘modern’ State

Two very different kind of stories that caught the eye today. One of a girl who said NO.

When 13-year-old Minati Gagaria from Orissa bags a bravery award from President A P J Abdul Kalam on Wednesday, she will symbolise a punchy protest against the ancient tribal custom of child marriages. Gagaria, who had almost become a victim of this practice, escaped her fate and a 50-year-old bridegroom by fleeing into a nearby forest, thereby becoming a role model for the tribal girls who face family pressures to marry young. "After spending seven days in a dense forest, I became confident of facing the situation. I can’t sacrifice my life for this evil practice. I knew that I cannot change the system but I thought one has to raise a protest. So I decided to fight it," said Gagaria, all set to receive the prestigious National Bravery Award on Republic Day eve.

And a society that stood by:

She was first forced to leave her husband’s house, and then the family was ostracised. Not content to let Dolly Bibi live in peace, about 1,000 people got together to witness her being caned 100 times, even as the local legislator and the block development officer watched.

The administration stands by as local fiefs mete out punishment!

Dolly was meted out the punishment on Sunday at Gakunda, Murshidabad, for having gone to Rajasthan with a man ‘who was not her husband’ in July 2005. Dolly claimed said she had done nothing wrong as the man concerned, Suraj Haldar, was her "dharam bhai". Haldar was also accompanied by his family.

It is strange that none of the major political parties are doing anything about ensuring that the constitutional rights of the citizen is protected. I wonder whether it is because they don’t see women as a vote block? Aside. in another conversation with mom on the state of the state – she said indians end up worshipping those that we desecrate – the cow, the woman, the river…….

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