Kandahar policewoman Malalai Kakar arrests a man who repeatedly stabbed his wife, 15, for disobeying him. "Nothing," Kakar said, when asked what would happen to the husband. "Men are kings here." Kakar was later killed by the Taliban.
Set in rural Rajasthan, 'Balika Vadhu' traces the arduous journey of child bride Anandi from the brink of childhood to womanhood. Married at the tender age of eight, to an equally young Jagdish, she enters a new world which is at once alienating and confusing. and torn away from the merriment of childhood and her family, she has to accept and accustom herself to this new family of strangers, new relationships and accept her roles as a friend, lover, wife and a mother as she forges her way in the world. 'Balika Vadhu' very sensitively portrays the plight of children who are unwittingly forced into marriage, in the name of tradition, and have to bear the repercussions for the rest of their lives.
What would happen if the answer was, "Yes. I will adopt her, take her to a country where she will never want for food or safety or education. I will raise her to love and respect her culture and history. I will send you photos of her, and when she is finished with college she and I will come back to visit you." What prevents this from being a very good answer?
What seems to work best, when marriage-delaying programs do take hold, is local incentive rather than castigation: direct inducements to keep girls in school, along with schools they can realistically attend. India trains village health workers called sathins, who monitor the well-being of area families; their duties include reminding villagers that child marriage is not only a crime but also a profound harm to their daughters.
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