Love, Labour and Law: Early and Child Marriage in India is a path-breaking book on an issue that has not been analysed in depth for a while, perhaps since it does not affect the elite. Today, the child brides are usually from poor families. They are of 1517 years as compared to much younger brides in the earlier times. The book discusses why child marriages persist despite numerous legislative and policy initiatives to eliminate the practice. The chapters examine social and legal reforms to raise the age of marriage; contemporary education and health-related policy attempts at prevention; relationship of child marriage with child labour, sex work, human trafficking and other issues. Increasingly, there is greater resistance to marriages arranged by parents from the child brides themselves who can now access institutional and bureaucratic support. How hopeful are these developments? The book goes beyond a simple policy focus on elimination and provides a much-needed understanding of marriage and womens agency within the context of the Indian marriage system.

Love and Law: Understanding Child Marriages in Rural West Bengal

Love and Law: Understanding Child Marriages in Rural West Bengal

Love and law: Understanding child marriages in rural west bengal


THE SOCIAL REFORM movement in nineteenth-century Bengal raised a number of questions regarding the marriage system in India, especially with respect to Hindus. In these discussions, child marriage was identified as a widespread social problem, which needed to be eliminated. There was by no means a consensus on this. The so-called orthodox opinion in the province, and later ‘cultural nationalists’, upheld the virtues of child marriage, arguing that it uniquely fitted in with Hindu customs and values. Over time, the spread of education raised the age of marriage for women of the higher castes and middle classes, especially in urban India. Paradoxically, communities, which had ...

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