"Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression." - Margaret Sanger
From the earlier phase of rent-a-womb, now Indian women are in the phase of rent-a-wife! Yes, you read me right, RENT-A-WIFE. From being sold in the marriage, now they are asked to live with higher class men who cannot find a wife, on a monthly or yearly-rental basis.
In the country where we talk about women empowerment and equal rights, women are actually being sold on a lease. These acts are practiced in our culture from past many years, and it is shocking that no action has been taken against it until now.
Let me take you through a few cases.
(NOTE- The images used in the story are for only depiction purpose)
Even after so many efforts by the government, female feticide cases haven't stopped yet. This is the reason why sex ratio in the state of Madhya Pradesh is varying day by day. The effects of which can be seen in Shivpuri area of Madhya Pradesh.
According to the sources, a tradition called Dhadeecha Pratha is practiced in the Shivpuri district of MP in which women are given on lease. Yes! Just by signing on a stamp, the woman's husband changes.
The deeds are on stamps of Rs 10 to Rs 100...
After the deal is settled, the lady is 'sold' to another man. The deal is concluded by signing on a stamp of Rs 10 to Rs 100.
It is believed that higher the amount, longer is the time of the relationship. After the deal is over, the returned woman is again set up with another man.
Such actions have been taken in front of police many times. But until and unless women themselves won't speak about the injustice they are facing, how would any action be taken against such deeds?
According to The Times Of India, a case was noted in Netrang taluka in Bharuch in 2006 when a man named Atta Prajapati granted his wife Laxmi to stay with a Patel in Mehsana for a monthly rental of Rs 8,000.
In districts like Mehsana, Patan, Rajkot, and Gandhinagar, the lack of women gave birth to this way of capitalizing for agents and poor families.
At places like Netrang, Valia, Dediapada, Sakbara, Rajpipla and Jaghadia, Tribals from Vasava community entered into monetary agreements with brokers, called 'Vachetias' from Banaskantha, Mehsana and Ahmedabad districts. They decided to marry off tribal daughters to Patels or those from the Thakur society for a price.
Numerous 'middlemen' work in the tribal heartland to supply tribal young ladies for Rs 500 and Rs 60,000, depending upon how poor and urgent the young lady's family is. With the request being high, a submitted broker earns Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh per month.
The police in such districts cannot take action against this activity as no one comes forward to lodge a complaint. They just cannot rule out the possibility of minors being married off to the rich Patels.
According to The Times Of India report, another case was observed when in Godhra, Heer Baria's marriage to Kalpesh Patel was a talk of the town. Not because Heer had married an NRI from the US, but because her family was suspected to have taken Rs 1 lakh cash for the marriage.
"After the marriage, the Baria family is missing from the district. We think that they are living in Surat," said Mohan Baria, a community member.
According to the report, activist Kanu Brahmbhatt concedes that many tribal families in Chota Udepur and Devgadh Baria get more than Rs 50,000 for marrying their daughters to men from other communities, especially from North Gujarat and Saurashtra.
In the nation where we discuss ladies strengthening and equivalent rights, ladies are really being sold on a rent. It is not just the culture that needs to be demolished, but it is time for women to learn to speak up for the injustice they face.
"A woman is a full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform." - Diane Mariechild
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