Child marriages in India
Although they are as illegal in India as in the rest of the world, child marriages are still commonplace amongst certain tribal or low caste communities.
In Chattisgarh, a state located in the eastern part of the country, 3000 child marriages are celebrated on the occasion of the Hindu feast “Ramnavmi”, which commemorates the birth of the god Rama.
Lalita, 7, Sarita, 9 and Kuleshmar, 12, are about to wed boys hardly older than they are, of whom they know nothing, not even their names.
The first day is dedicated to prayers and offerings to protective gods. The day after, the brides and grooms are smeared with a mix of mashed seeds and purified water. Only on the third day do the children, wearing embroidered costumes and jewels are brought together for the wedding itself.
It is a short-lived union, as the day after the marriage, the girls go back to live with their families until they reach puberty.
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