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India Female Feticide Gives New Life To Orphan Girls

findingmyway

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Aug 18, 2010
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NAGPUR: The ever increasing disparity in sex ratio in states like Rajasthan and Gujarat is having an impact on lives of destitute and orphan girls of Shri Shraddhanand Anathalaya in Nagpur. As it gets increasingly difficult for boys of middle and lower middle class homes in these states to find brides, they are turning to orphanages to find a suitable girl for themselves.

Two such marriages were performed recently at the orphanage. The grooms, a salesman from Aurangabad and a businessman from Dombivli in Mumbai, married Chhaya and Padma both brought up here.


Nisha Buty, the honorary secretary of the institution, says it is the word of mouth publicity that brings in the suitors. "Those who apply are in the age group of 28 to 30 years. Our girls are anywhere between 18 and 22 years. These people, mostly from Gujarat and Rajasthan and sometimes Punjab and Haryana, say that female foeticide in their states has resulted in a paucity of brides there."

Buty adds that they are very careful while picking up a boy. "We do background checks, ask them to get an NOC from the police. They should also have a house or land in their name and income in between Rs13,000 to Rs 18,000 a month. Before the ceremony, they are required to put in Rs 25,000 in a fixed deposit in the girl's name that remains with us and is given to the girl one year after marriage."

It's not the grooms alone who are thoroughly checked. The girls too are prepared for matrimony. "Most of the girls here have experienced negativity and trauma since the time they were in their mother's womb. Here, they live in a cocooned environment but their faith and trust is badly shaken. They have doubts about themselves and want to know how they would fit into the society," says Buty.

To ensure they have a harmonious life, girls are counselled and are taught life skills. "After we decide upon the suitability of a match, the boy meets the girl and if they are fine with each other we organise a meeting with the in-laws."

Even the in-laws are counselled as the girls in the orphanage have never lived in a family set-up. So the family is asked to treat them with compassion and not to expect too much from them.

Meera Khadakkar, former principal judge of family court, who has been providing life skills to these girls, says they are equipped to make good wives.

"With a lot of exposure to adversities early in life, these girls are mature beyond their years. Living together and managing meals and decorations for events and festivals make them socially compatible." Khadakkar says they are moulded to be obedient.

The wedding ceremony held for them is a simple one with some people from the society coming in to do the kanyadaan and the donors and patrons of the institution giving gifts. "The groom and his family thus feel that the girl is not alone but is a part of a supportive extended family," she adds.

The orphanage with a capacity to hold 240 girls of all ages has, at the moment, only 170 inhabitants. Out of these, barely two to four girls in a year are ready for marriage.

Archana Meshram, who processes the applicants, says she has been turning down applications now.

"We have only two more girls who might get married this year. And there are at least 25 such proposals before us. Once I accept an application, the person keeps calling me up requesting to fix a match at the earliest," she says.

For the girls, marriage is a dream offering a family and security that life had deprived them of so far.

Shruti Sarkar, for whom a groom is being finalised, says, "The boy should have parents and a sibling too as I have never had a family. He should also understand me and together we should make a good pair."


http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-05-10/nagpur/31655358_1_girls-orphanage-life-skills
 

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