Is India Really Independent?

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Mira is a sixteen year old girl living on the outskirts of Maharashtra. According to her age she should be preparing for her board examination but she is preparing for her marriage. She is this typical girl of a farmer in a village. She wakes up at 6 am and leaves the cows from sheds for their morning walk and grazing. She then prepares to cook breakfast the Indian bread “bhakri” and tea.  She wakes up her younger brother and sister and they together with her parents have breakfast. She then cleans the utensils and helps her mom in preparing lunch. When all are done bathing she takes their dirty clothes on a river bank and washes them followed by her bath in the river. When she comes back it is almost noon and so the cows are back in their shelter so she goes and milks them and dries the clothes on the ropes tied in the shed. After lunch she goes to their farm with her father where she helps him in whatever work he has be it spraying fertilizers, sowing seeds or the other processes that follows with seasons. She comes back home in the evening all tired and she sleeps after cleaning the utensils of their dinner.

But you know what? Her parents cannot enjoy any of the functions because the groom’s family wants two cows and a tractor as a gift. A family that cannot afford a tractor for them self will have to give it as a gift. Now we all know gift is a secondary thing. First goes all those gold ornaments that the bride will take with her. Not to forget the three meal course for 500 people for three days. But that is the least the bride’s father has to do in the marriage so that his daughter can stay happily at her in law’s place. So her father gives his farm as a security to the landlord when he takes the loan of 15lakhs which is less than the 1/4th of the price of the land. Everything is fine when their demands are fulfilled and they take this poor farmer’s daughter as their daughter in law. The father sighs in relief and the mother feels proud that she trained her daughter well.

They were wrong though. Within two months of their marriage Mira was pregnant. And she was sent to her parent’s house for the caretaking. So even after spending all that money on her wedding which they were trying to cover by skipping a meal a day or having only one thing for meal they will have to look after the medical bills and extra food care for their 16 year old pregnant daughter. Not to forget the landlord’s demand of 20lakhs only then will he return their farm to them. Also, Mira’s mother in law is insisting a sonograph so that they can abort if it’s a girl child. Yes! It is illegal to know the gender of the fetus but we all know nothing has stopped. There are female infanticides happening in various clinics every day. Though Mira’s parents kept on delaying that dreadful day came to visit the clinic and it was a girl child they deduced from her five months pregnancy. But they did not abort her because one Mira could not have survived since she is still young and two Mira wanted the child. But Mira’s in laws said they have nothing to do with child or her as they cut off all their ties.

Mira died because of the medical complications of young pregnancy but she left her baby girl in this gruesome world, where there are many to hate her and very few to love. Mira wanted her girl to study because only then she thought that her life will prosper. But what can a poor farmer do who lost his farm because of the selfish landlord and his own illiteracy, he lost all his wealth to Mira’s in laws which he never got back and he lost his daughter too. He was stuck in the vicious circle of poverty with no land, no money and five people to feed out of bonded labor. School and other social institutions were like a dream now, when the basic needs were barely fulfilled. Was that marriage necessary? Why is dowry still given in the name of gifts? And why is it that having a girl child still not acceptable? Somewhere something is going wrong if Mira was married off at the age of sixteen. And if banks exist in the 21st century when technology knows no bounds then why was it that the farmer had to go to a landlord? What we need to think is all this institutes are only for the elite class?

The poor farmers and laborers are not human enough to enjoy the benefits of development? If this is Independence we claim to have, I don’t know how to define the word anymore. Though we have a national anthem, flag and world’s largest democracy but that is not enough to represent the country internationally because it is about people “the citizens”. Progress is not only about material and technology, when will India have something called social progress, Where our nation will be independent to all these social evils, customs and traditions that demoralize us humans.

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