PATNA: Mohan Kumar, 22, and Seema Kumari (name changed), 20, are lucky. They continue to live together after eloping in June despite their parents in Bihar objecting to their relationship. The couple is among the many young men and women who face the opposition of their parents due to various factors such as caste, and religion.
Rough estimates suggest that in 2019, more than 3,000 boys and girls fled away from their homes.
“It is a rising trend mostly after 2009 especially thanks to social media and rising levels of education in both girls and boys,” said Archana Kumar, a researcher scholar on social causes of women in Patna.
As per official figures available on the Bihar police website, cases of 3,106 youths running away from homes due to their affairs were reported this year. This, as per officials, is the highest in the last decade for the state.
In 2018, 3,025 cases of elopements were reported — up from 2,000 cases in 2017. Many of these couples found a safe refuge in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and, in some cases, even in neighbouring Nepal.
IG, CID, Kamal Kishor said that trend of elopement shows the growing empowerment among youths who make their own choice when it comes to their life partners. “The police register the cases of all those who run away from their homes and investigation is done properly to confirm that these are elopement cases.”
According to official data, 1,229 youths (2015), 763 (2014), 883 (2013), 405 (2012), 183 (2011), 82 (2010) and 112 (2009) were reported to have eloped in the eastern state.
Sarita Shukla,who runs a women’s counselling centre in Vaishali district, said that a majority of such youths happen to be either from poor or middle-class families. “They are influenced by Bollywood and Bhojpuri movies and social media, which embolden them,” she asserted.
A senior police officer said that 90 per cent of such cases happen when the couples fear opposition to their relationship from their families.Interestingly such cases are mostly reported from January to July after the examination period is over, or during the marriage season from August to September every year.
As of now, it seems that more and more young men and women are willing to go all the way when it comes to making personal choices.