Portrait of a group of Union soldiers of the 7th Regiment New York State Militia posing in front of a tent in Camp Cameron in Washington, D.C., 1861. The African American boy was probably a camp servant. Attributed to Mathew Brady.
Source: National Archives and Records Administration.
With an aim to help terminate the extensively prevalent issue of child marriage in the country, over 45,000 tent vendors from the state of Rajasthan have decided to turn their backs towards those who facilitate the social evil.
The vendors, who come under the umbrella of the Rajasthan Tent Dealers Kiraya Vyavsai Samiti, have taken it upon themselves to closely verify and scrutinise the birth documents of the bride and groom, each time they’re approached for wedding supplies.
But their role doesn’t just end there.
If there is a discrepancy in the birth certificates and they feel a child marriage is what is being planned, the association has also taken the responsibility of informing the nearest police station.
“If anyone comes to book us to supply the tent and do other decorations, we will ask for the birth certificate of the boy and girl to ensure it is not a child marriage. In case a person or group of persons gives us wrong information, we will immediately inform the police and other government officials for the required intervention,” Ravi Jindal, the president of the group Rajasthan Tent Dealers Kiraya Vyavsai Samiti told The Times of India.
As horrific as the act of child marriage itself is, its prominence in some Indian states–Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka in particular–is what makes the situation all the more alarming.
The Logical Indian reports, “India ranks sixth in the world in the number of child marriages that happen every year. According to the Census report of 2011, nearly 17 million Indian children between the ages of 10 and 19 are married. Of this number, 76%, or 12.7 million, are minor girls.”