13-Year-Old Vanshika Gautam Stops A Child Marriage In Her Family, Now To Be Felicitated On Account Of Women’s Day!
I am 23 years old, and my parents and I don’t see eye to eye on most things. But thankfully, my parents and I, for the first time it may seem, are on the same page. “She’s too young right now”, they often say to the unsolicited ‘Shaadi kab kar rahe ho’ question posed by my relatively idle relatives and neighbourhood aunties. They are the very reason why society is obsessed with getting girls married the moment they get their period, or sometimes even before that. Enter – the skewed and repulsive concept of child marriage.
When they say India is diverse, they don’t only mean in the traditions of the place, they also mean in mindsets. Most of these involve mindsets that are bent on making a woman’s life miserable. From whether or not they should be born, to whether or not they should be educated, everything we do or say, is forced upon us, including the decision to get married. And while this has been going on for decades on repeat, as the feminists rise to power, we finally starting to see change. And today, that change has reach the far-flung corners of the country with a 13-year-old girl who stopped a child marriage from happening in her own family.
13-year-old Vanshika Gautam, who studies in eighth standard at the Kasturba Gandhi Avasiya Vidyalaya in Kharkhauda area of Uttar Pradesh, has been hand picked to be felicitated by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to celebrate International Women’s Day. Moreover, this coming on the day when Haryana assembly ruled that sex with a minor wife shall be considered rape, is just proof that finally the government as well as the citizens are waking up to the injustice here.
Also Read : The Haryana Assembly Passed A Bill That States That Sex With A Minor Wife Will Now Be Considered Rape. It’s A Good Start
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As narrated by Vanshika, she said, “Nearly a year ago, I had intervened when my paternal aunt was preparing to marry my 16-year-old cousin. It was only after I convinced her and my entire family that they cannot get her married before the age of 18 that they agreed to let her continue her education.” All this, after the girl herself had been actively involved and informed about the matter of child marriage by being a part of her school program called Meena Manch which is a group that aims to promote education amongst girls and empower them.
The officiating warden of the school also spoke on the matter and said, “Vanshika has been called to Lucknow on March 5 along with other girls from the state where they will be felicitated for their efforts. It is a matter of pride for the school that our student is going to be honoured at the state level.” And more than a matter of pride for the school, it is both an example and a learning, for it shows how education plays a pivotal role in overturning age old stereotypes and orthodox practices.
Today, one girl has dared enough to speak up to the injustice in front of her and in her family, and tomorrow as more women step up, maybe a world that’s equal won’t be just a dream. Guess we truly need more girls like Vanshika Gautam among us!