Baitadi/December 2, 2016
Slope land, young girls, chatting after resting their sack of grasses that they have cut during the day. They are exchanging their stories. They look like they are from standard 5 or 6 and helping their family during their holidays. They have already become someone’s wife or daughter-in-law. It does not look like they have already been through this situation. It is unbelievable! But we are bound to believe after seeing their forehead with red vermilion. Some of them are sitting on the ground and someone are laying slippers and sitting on it. Laxmi Sarki of Sittad-5 is sharing her good and bad stories about her family and responsibility and same girl used to chat with her friend about her future once upon a time.
Sarki is now 17 years old. She is elder among her three brothers and two sisters. She was married while she was just 14 years old and was studying in eighth standard. She is now worried about her studies as she was compelled by the family for marriage. She is bound to stop going to the school as she has a pile of responsibility in her family. In Dole village, there are 21 families belonging to Sarki community. It is not only Laxmi, but about 12/13 of her friends are already married. Laxmi’s friend Hajari Sarki was married when she was 13 and her friend Kalawati Sarki was married when she was just 15. Almost all adult in their family are illiterate and living their lives by doing labor jobs and agriculture. They have been leaving school after getting early marriage.” It has been a culture in this community to get early marriage”, said local Kamala Sarki. She added, these girls stop going to the school after getting married”. There are maximum numbers of girls in Dole village who are compelled for early marriage.
These girls who are someone’s wife and daughter-in-laws are taking some rest with sadness in their faces. Some of them are enjoying a quick nap. Girls from Dole village are enthusiastic to study same as Laxmi, Kalawati and Hajari. The rights activists say that their child rights have been violated because of early responsibilities in their family. When INSEC representative reached this village, they were just busy on chatting in front of the camera. Their chat was not about any big dreams. Someone was worried about what to eat in dinner and someone was talking about cutting grasses in the jungle.
One of the senior citizens Lalu was saying that the responsibility of grooming of their children will decrease and will be easy in domestic work if they marry them in an early age. He added that the families want to get rid of financial burden by marrying them in an early age. There are very few girls who continue their study even after the marriage. Local Gomati Sarki said that most of the youth goes to India for job due to their increment in responsibilities especially after marriage and women handle the family. They were compelled to go for foreign employment as they are not able to continue the job that their ancestors were doing according to locals. Their ancestral job was not enough for them to look after their family due to the lack of cultivated land and materials to make leather products. The high school is half an hour away from this village however there are less number of students passing even primary level. The trend of leaving school is increasing. As per the data of District Development Committee of Baitadi, there are 59 percent of child marriages prevailing in the society. The District Development Committee, Women and Children Office and various organizations claimed that the child marriage has been minimized by spreading awareness program however young girls are compelled to be someone’s wife or daughter-in-law.
Young girls go to the jungle to fetch some grasses and share their feelings with each other. They are cutting grasses by risking their lives in stiff land and even getting scolding from their mother-in-laws. They are bearing all these mental torture and their dreams of living happy life remained as a dream.