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Encyclopedia > Child marriage
Small Child Brides in the lap of their guardians
Small Child Brides in the lap of their guardians

Child marriage is a practice in which the parents of two small children (even infants) arrange a future marriage. The children are betrothed or promised to each other. Often the two children never even meet each other until the wedding ceremony, when they are both of an acceptable marriageable age -- which age differs based upon custom. In some cultures, the age is at or even before the onset of puberty. Image File history File links Child_Marriage. ... Image File history File links Child_Marriage. ... A marriage is a relationship between or among individuals, usually recognized by civil authority and/or bound by the religious beliefs of the participants. ... Betrothal is a formal state of engagement to be married. ...

Child marriage has been practiced in many cultures for centuries. It continues to this day, although it has extremely few advocates. The practice has been popular in India and Sub-Saharan Africa. It was also common among the nobility of some countries, with betrothal being used to secure political alliances in much the same way that marriage was. Satellite image The Sahara is the worlds largest hot desert, over 9,000,000 km² (3,500,000 mi²), almost as large as the United States. ... For other uses, see Africa (disambiguation). ...

The rationale behind this practice is that a child's parents can arrange a sensible match with the parents of a child from a suitable family, thus securing the child's future at a young age. Many people who have been married in this way do grow to love and cherish their spouses after the marriage. It is thought by adherents that physical attraction is not a suitable foundation upon which to build a marriage and a family.

Families are able to cement political and/or financial ties by having children intermarry. The betrothal is considered a binding contract upon the families and the children. The breaking of a betrothal can have serious consequences for both the families and the children themselves. The practice of child marriage has continued to fall further and further out of favor in modern times; however, it is still practiced by some sub-cultures.


Child Marriage in the Capital of India

Marriage of a five years old bride with 13 years old groom in Delhi
Marriage of a five years old bride with 13 years old groom in Delhi

Millions of child marriages take place in India each year. Most of the child marriages take place in the Indian states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Chhatisgarh and Orissa. But child marriage is also being practiced in Delhi, the capital of India, as well. Thousands of children are forced into this type of marriage in Delhi. Image File history File links Adarshsamajsahyogsamiti. ... Image File history File links Adarshsamajsahyogsamiti. ...

Child Marriage is illegal in India. According to Child Marriage Resistant Act, 1929, "child" refers to a male younger than twenty-one years of age, and a female younger than eighteen. Child Marriage encompasses any marriage in which either of the contracting parties is a child. But in spite of all this, child marriage is still very common in the capital of India.

Effects of Child Marriage

A victim a sexually transmitted disease in the rural part of India. Married at age twelve.
A victim a sexually transmitted disease in the rural part of India. Married at age twelve.

Child Marriage has a very wide effect on the children as well as society. These children may be pulled from school at an early age. There may be extreme pressure from the parents to bear children soon after marriage, causing early pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV/AIDS) and high maternal mortality rates. Image File history File links Earlymarriage. ... Image File history File links Earlymarriage. ...

See also

This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Vani (Urdu: ونی) is a child marriage custom in tribal areas of Pakistan. ... Pait likkhi (Urdu: پیٹ لکھی) (Pait (Urdu: پیٹ ) means stomach and Likkhi (Urdu: لکھی) means written; literally written on stomach) is custom in tribal regions and rural areas of Pakistan where two families agree to marry their children before they are born or are still very young. ... There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ...

External links

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Child Marriage | FORWARD (2833 words)
Child marriage is now widely recognised as a violation of children's rights, a direct form of discrimination against the girl child who as a result of the practice is often deprived of her basic rights to health, education, development and equality.
Child marriages must be viewed within a context of force and coercion, involving pressure and emotional flmail and children that lack the choice or capacity to give their full consent.
Child marriage is a worldwide phenomenon but is most prevalent in Africa and Southern Asia and although its practice has decreased somewhat in recent decades, it remains common in, although not only confined to, rural areas and among the most poverty stricken [3].
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