We often say that we are in the 21st Century, the age of science, technology, awareness, and education. But let’s look at poor developing countries like Nepal, where people lack basic education and are unaware about Science and Technology. People still blindly follow religious practices, which were handed down to them, although they don’t know the reasons behind them or why they are performed.
Nepal is one of the countries in the world that had the custom of burning widows on the funeral pyre of their husbands. Everyone, including royals, followed the tradition supported by the myth that if the wife was loyal and sacred to her husband, she wouldn’t feel pain and both will rest in peace. After a lot of struggles and attempts made on both local and government level, it was formally abolished by the then Rana Prime-minister Chandra Shumsher in 1920.
The Past and the Present
This was the past, but it lingers on into the present as we have many social practices just as dreadful as the Sati system. One of these evil practices, child marriage, is still practiced to this day, especially in the Terai region of Nepal.
At present, in the world of education and awareness, we still take our daughters as a burden. The trend shows when a baby girl is born, everyone in the family moans with sadness and curses the mother for not giving birth to a son. This trend continues unless a baby boy is born in the family. After the son, happiness spreads in the family.
The daughter is forced to do the majority of the household activities whereas the son spends time enjoying his life and getting all the love from his family. He is sent to study in renowned English schools whereas the daughter is sent to public schools (if in compulsion). Girls attend primary education, if at all, and are forced to refrain from further education with the excuse to teach them household works like cooking, washing, and all other chores so that she will be able to make her future husband and in-laws happy in marriage.
Daughters are a Waste of Money in Nepal
There is the belief, that educating your daughters is just a waste of money, as one day she will move to her husband’s house and only be involved in household works. This is quite important, as money itself is often rare in the country. When they reach the age of 12, 14 at most, their families start to seek a bridegroom for her.
Families are worried about the dowry they need to give to the bridegroom. As they see their daughters as a burden, they sometimes are ready to offer an extraordinarily huge dowry hoping to get rid of them as quickly as possible.
After their marriage, they are forced to carry out all household tasks, even those that may be out of their physical capacity. They are forced to give birth to babies although they aren’t physically developed enough to do that risk-free. They sometimes even face violence from their husband or in-laws.
Child marriage has assisted Human Trafficking. By not forcing the family to offer a dowry, the girls are often married to people irrespective of any characteristics. This will sometimes get them into Human Trafficking rings, which then sell the Nepali girls to brothels in India.
This shows the fate of any Nepali daughter in the past and the present.