Indian Village Bans ‘Love Marriages’
In India, arranged marriage is still a dominant part of the culture. However, a village in a rural area of the country has taken the arranged marriage tradition to a whole new level.
The village council of Asara, in the northwestern state of Uttar Pradesh, has gone so far as to ban “love marriages.”
Sattar Ahmed, a council member, said that love marriages are damaging and a “shame on society.”
Home Minister P. Chidambaram disagreed with the council, however, saying that they such practices have “no place” in a democratic society.
This move has also caught the attention of women’s rights groups. All India Democratic Women’s Association’s general secretary, Sudha Sunder Raman, said, “This notion that women up to the age of 40 need protection and need to be controlled is extremely chauvinistic and undermines all basic norms.”
Mamta Sharma, head of the National Commission for Women, expressed that the council rulings were “laughable” and unenforceable.
“Panchayats [village councils] do not enjoy constitutional powers. And if there are no powers, there is no need to follow the orders,” Ms. Sharma added. “Panchayats are unelected groups of elders, who are seen as the social and moral arbiters of village life.”
However, even if these councils don’t have the legal power to implement and enforce these rules, women from that village have no choice but to follow. Reports state that women who “bring shame” to their families are punished.
Last month, a man was reported for parading his daughter’s head after killing her after hearing that the daughter was reportedly seeing another man after leaving her first husband.
India now tops Thomas Reuters Foundation’s survey as the worst place for a woman to live.