By Puja Sinha
- The Rabari is an indigenous tribal caste prevailing throughout Northwest India significantly in Rajasthan, Gujrat and Punjab.
- Poverty and hunger are the two major forces leading to the increase of child marriage among the Rabari people.
- The Rabari woman falls prey to time-worn rituals, patriarchy and submission at risk of their mental and physical well-being.
The Rabari, or the Rewari or Desai, an indigenous tribal caste prevailing throughout Northwest India significantly in Rajasthan, Gujrat and Punjab. Rajasthan has witnessed many ups and downs in its growth trajectory. Poverty and hunger are the two major forces leading to the increase of child marriage among the Rabari people. Nearly a third of all wedded women are married before they turn 18, the legal age for marriage in India. Also noteworthy is the fact that dowry is never the ground for war in this marriage system. Irrespective of the changing world, Rabari tribe is stuck in their regressive conventions and habits, clutched in the strong grip of patriarchy.
According to BBC, the girl-child becomes prone to violence, abuses and exploitations. The members of the Bhopa Rabari community refrain from inter-marrying. The amount of bride price is considerably high, arranged by negotiations. Rabari tribe stand out for their unique fashion, dress and jewellery. Traditionally they followed a strict nomadic lifestyle, living under the open skies, raising cattle, camels and goats. The Rabari woman has retreated falling prey to time-worn rituals, patriarchy and submission at risk of their mental and physical well-being. Seen as economic burdens, they are married off, at a very vulnerable stage of their lives.
Center for Women’s Development and Research(CWDR), Child Survival India strive to improve the quality of life of inhabitants of low-income urban and rural communities, with its aim to promote child’s health and development. The Rabari people are yet to embrace the rules and regulations of the contemporary times that we live in. They are in dire need to shun the anachronistic system of livelihood.
India has the highest number of child brides in the world at an estimated rate of 47% of girls marrying before reaching their 18th birthday. It is shameful in the first changing India, an era of smartphones and tablets, online dating and women in every sphere achieving groundbreaking success tossing of rigid gender stereotypes.