Rajasthan : A sad story

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Rajasthan, India’s largest state in terms of area is in the western part of our country. It comprises most parts of the huge and inhospitable Thar desert. It is also known as the Great Indian Desert. This desert is not the only formidable problem in Rajasthan. Rajasthan is known for it puppet shows, the forts and the spicy food as well. But that is not all the west is famous for. This state is also famous for its behavior towards women. It is also know for the way it treats it women and the horrifying condition of women in the state. The state, known more for its tourist attractions like the ancient forts and the Rajput culture, is a graveyard of women rights.

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Rajasthan has a very high rate of violence against women. The demeaning practice of dowry is still prevalent and widespread here. And it is not just the uneducated sections of the society that follow the dowry system but this practice of payment of dowry is also practiced within the middle class society. Also the people do not believe in educating the women there. Education is considered only to reduce the amount of dowry, the more educated the girl the less the dowry to be given. Even in high societies the girl child is educated only till she is married. Say if a girl gets married in the middle of her graduate degree she is forced to leave the college and her studies are discontinued. This is the reason for the high rate of dropouts even in the most prestigious colleges in Rajasthan. The girls are married off to strangers against their will and are forced to abandon their education. Once married, the woman is expected to remain at home and is confined to the four walls of the house.

Also a woman can’t even complain against this violence and atrocity committed against them. This is because criminal acts, like verbal, emotional and physical abuse of women within the home is not considered as a crime in the state. Not just this even the courts there refuse to file complaints by women complainants on the ground that a woman does not have a right to complain, particularly if the complaint is against her husband or any other relative.

One of the most appalling practices in Rajasthan is the chastity belt. A chastity belt is a locking item of clothing which is designed to prevent sexual intercourse. This is very popular in Rajasthan, where girls are made to wear such kinds of things by force. Chastity belts are made on a very wide scale here, and can even be found in precious metals such as gold or silver. One such incident took place, where a woman was travelling via public transport and suddenly her thighs started bleeding. When the doctors examined the injuries they found that the cause was a chastity belt that she was made to wear.

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Another malpractice in Rajasthan is child marriage. In this girls are married at a very young age. At an age where they should be studying in schools and playing around they are burdened with responsibility. She is bound by bangles and is made to take care of the house. She is made to work in the kitchens and help out in the household chores. She is entrusted with a responsibility that she is not ready to take up, neither mentally or physically. This might also affect the health the women in such cases, when she is made to be sexually active at a very young age. Even though this is legally not allowed and is a crime, it is still a very prevalent custom.

One of the many appalling practices is the female infanticide. Rajasthan is a state that prefers boys over girls any day and this choice or preference of boys does not end just right here. The infant girls born are actually killed by the people despite the many cries and pleads of the mother. When a girl is born they put a grain of wheat in her mouth and she chokes on it and eventually dies. The sex ratio in Rajasthan is very low due to such practices. There were a mere of 926 females per 1000 males in 2012 and now the ratio has dropped to an alarming 920 females per 1000 males in the state which is a very bad ratio. Not just this but the current literacy rate of state at 67.1% is less as compared to overall literacy rate of India which stands at 74%.

The condition of women in the State of Rajasthan is and has been pathetic. The literacy rate, particularly for women is one of the lowest in the entire country. Also there are many anti-women practices like, dowry, sati, child marriages and female infanticides are rampant. There is a dire need to create awareness among the people and help out the women there. There are a lot of NGOs working to improve the condition of women and making the women there aware of their rights and also making them more aware.

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