Gandhi had his marriage arranged when he was 13. His wife kasturba was then 12 years old.
My grandmother got married when she was 13 to my grandfather who was then 23. Like most Indian marriages of those days, it was an arranged marriage. A 100 years ago, marriage of a girl at a young age before puberty was considered normal in India.
Today the legal age for marriage in India is 18 for girls and 21 for boys. However, according to researchers, the practice of early marriage still continues in some segments of Indian society. Studies have shown that almost a quarter of the girls are married before age 16. Almost half of all Indian women are married before turning the legal minimum age of 18.
The following is the story of a brave 12 year old girl, Rekha Kalinda, who said no to her parents when they tried to arrange her marriage. She told them that she wanted to stay in school and study.
“I was very angry,” says Rekha. “I told my father very clearly that this is my age of studying in school, and I didn’t want to marry.
Her protest reverberated through India and again brought this old custom in the spotlight.
Rekha says she wants to be a teacher when she grows up.
Is she open to marriage eventually? “Anything after 18,” she says, “but not before 18 at all.” You can read the whole story at the following link.