A 14-year-old girl was found married to a guy, Rakesh in the Jind district of Haryana. Here, the alarming fact indeed is the girl is underage but, a closer view of this same case will unveil far more alarming issues than the one it clearly puts forth i.e. child marriage.

It may be surprising to much of the urban masses that once a girl reaches puberty she is married off (these days girls reach adolescence between 10-12 years of age). Such is the practice in villages across India, especially among the poor states. Here, considering that the story is from a small village, one could immediately take it as a mere case of child marriage. But, that would not even be close to what the actual cause of concern is. Undoubtedly, child marriage is a social evil that has to be eradicated still the cause that lies at the bottom of this case is of much greater concern.

A missing piece of information in the girl’s story is that she belongs to Assam, not Haryana. Her family had lodged a missing complaint with the Hajo police station in Assam on May 3. She was brought to Delhi by a man on the promise of marrying her. Later she was forcibly married to Rakesh after being sold for Rs. 25000 in Daryaganj. This story as per a report in The Times of India published on October 7, 2011, serves evidence to a vicious trap that the Indian society unfortunately has fallen into. And, there is absolutely no hope of getting out of it unless we find the millions of missing women, female foetuses.

Why would a Haryanvi boy, marry an under-aged Assamese girl? Even if he wants to why does he have to purchase her rather than make decent marriage proposal to her family for her hand? Was it just for sex, if so, there was no need to marry her? Why then?

Well, the answer is simple and obvious. The census 2011 report unveils Haryana as the state with lowest female sex ratio i.e. 861 per thousand men, whereas the average rural sex ratio of India is 946. These statistics are not just disturbing but, fearsome. Reason being, it fails to answer who these 139 men are going to marry.

In a paternalistic society like India every boy has the responsibility to produce the heir to the family. But how would he do that? By marrying a girl? But unfortunately there are no girls in his state. Thanks to the selective sex abortion that the women of Haryana have undergone due to either a preference for a boy child or to escape dowry.

In such a scenario, or put it this way when female foetuses will be killed, what would be its impact on the society. What is a boy with the responsibility to produce an heir supposed to do? He will purchase a girl, marry her forcibly to abuse her sexually as long as he wishes to and make her give birth to a son who can carry forward the name of his family.

Clearly, human trafficking is done in utter violation of women’s human rights. What appeared to be the story of a girl, fortunately rescued by Police later, is perhaps the story of many unfortunate women in every other house in the states with imbalanced sex-ratio. And if not, then it might be in the coming years.

Shikha Nehra