Shafiq R Khan


The Price for a Bride

How much longer will the commerce of women go on???? With the thriving technological advancements in Bangalore, the modern glassed towers standing high in Delhi and universities flourishing with graduates across the country, one would think that this would change. However, with modern capitalism, people want material gains such as fashionable houses with beautiful architecture, well furnished homes with the state of the art technology and cars to parade around the streets of India. These are all the signs of presumed ‘successes’ at the cost of moral degeneration. These arguments centre on the premise that, ‘they don’t want female children’ Yes, the inevitable question is why? They don’t want to ‘scoff up’ the dowry – the price for a daughter to be wedded…hence, eliminate the ‘burden’ - sell her as a bride or a sex worker.
This is a major problem and a rising challenge in India. The tale of bride trafficking starts in a village called Purnami (This is only one case study of this reality). Purnami is a village where women exist only to bring boys into the world. They practice selective embryonic abortion, which in simple terms means that if a female embryo is formed, it is aborted. As a result the present ratio is 1 girl to 10 boys, which creates a disproportionate system with boys not being able to find a bride in their village. Purnami, still maintains their ancestral and customary practices, hence girls where regarded as a burden due to the dowry system. The survival of the village now depends on importing foreign brides into the village to maintain the generational lineage. The men of the village are single not by choice but through a process that was initiated earlier. Those who can afford the price of a bride, now opt to buy a bride, from other villages. These brides cost on average 30 000 Rupies (500 Euros).
This has created an enterprise for the trafficking of brides to such villages as Purnami. Girls are sold as young as 10-15 years old. They are trafficked by ‘go-betweens’, the middle man/women, the smugglers. They seem to justify their actions on the survival of their villages. However, once having the taste of money and with the great demands for brides, these smugglers are selling the same woman to different families and causing village feuds.
These brides are trafficked from villages such as Assam – North East India. A poor state that is ravaged with terrorism. It is notorious for being a highly dangerous zone. It possesses a tribal population, second class citizens with small scale farmers. They don’t practice selective abortion. Hence, women are regarded as a commodity that can be sold. However, once sold these women are treated badly. Many run away and with no sign of hope in a new place end up involved in the lucrative businesses of sex trade.
The question: When will it all stop!

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