Child marriages or forced weddings have as much to do with finance as psychology.
The practice of getting girls married at an early age was in vogue in large families decades ago when the importance of education was not fully appreciated or for expanding property.
It can be easily inferred that instances of child marriages are high in less educated families or indigent ones which have serious financial commitments. Sometimes, the parents of boys also exploit the situation in the name of loan write-offs or financial assistance to coerce parents of young girls who are in dire straits.
Also, there are a few parents afraid of the rising cost of performing marriages years later.
Apart from financial concerns, psychological reasons also lead to under-age weddings.
Some of those keen on marrying off their daughter at a young age think they won’t be able to bend her will as years roll by or when she gets more educated and attains economic independence.
The fear that girl may walk out of the home forever also adds pressure to parents. There are also older people who are scared that something will go wrong if they wait for years or their ward will elope with someone.
Another weak argument in the older days was that the dying grandparents’ wish had to be fulfilled by getting a young girl married.
Then, there are possessive parents who feel they have every right to choose their son-in-law and the girl just has the duty to passively accept their advice.
Meanwhile, some are scared that difficulties in ironing out differences between those who enter into marriage quite late in their life will result in break-ups. They feel it will be prudent to get girls married off quite early so that they can adjust themselves on likes and dislikes and achieve greater harmony for purposeful living.As the awareness increases on the need to have smaller families, the resistance to get married early is bound to grow. More children want to decide their future because they are losing faith in the arguments of their parents on religious and astrological grounds.
The aim of the awakened parents should be to put their children on firm ground with greater social and economic security rather than narrow economic interests or caste or other considerations. Since the law has been amended to ensure that both boys and girls attain a certain age for entering into wedlock, those performing child marriages need to be put behind bars.