“Mummy I do not want to marry at this age. Please talk to dadaji and papa that they should let me study further” Poohan told her mother with a ray of hope in her eyes. But her mother Parvati was helpless, she herself was married at an age of 12 and now, the same episode was repeating with her daughter. Poohan’s father was a farmer and according to him there was no use spending on the education of daughters. They should be married as early as possible so that it becomes easier to get rid of their responsibilities. And the sad part was that similar thinking prevailed in every family of the village. The entire earning was saved for the higher education of sons because of the male dominated thought process.
Though Parvati never wanted her daughter to face the same situations in life that she had to accept but she was hesitant to speak against the decision of “ghar ka mukhiya.” After gathering a lot of courage she went to her husband and said:”Is it necessary to marry our daughter now? Can we give her sometime to complete her education. She has been doing very well in studies.”
Shyam had no answers, he did not feel the need to give any explanations to her wife. When Parvati insisted him to change his decision he said “You are a woman and have no rights to question your husband’s decision.”
Listening to his words Parvati was speechless, she was left with tears in her eyes which had no value for anyone.
Parvati could not sleep at night , the thought of her daughter getting married at this age haunted. She was adamant that she will stand against all the odds to protect her daughter. Parvati had a friend who lived in the nearby city, she called her and asked for help. Her friend was a member of an NGO which worked for the welfare of Woman in the society. After getting an assurance from her, Parvati was a little relaxed.
Next day morning Poohan gathered all her courage and got ready for school, when her father saw her in school dress, he shouted at her “Why are you in school dress, I told you very clearly yesterday that no more studies for you. Learn some cooking and stitching because you will be getting married next month.”
Tears rolled down her cheeks, she did not utter a word and ran towards the fields. She sat near the well distressed and upset. After sometime she saw a lizard climbing the wall but it fell down, this kept happening several times but the lizard tried climbing again and again till it successfully climbed the wall. The lizard brought a smile on Poohan’s face and twinkling in her eyes. She ran back home where there were some discussions going on with a lady. She did not recognize her, but when the lady saw her she smiled at her and asked “Do you want to complete your studies?”
Poohan who was now all the more determined to achieve her dreams said:”Yes I want to peruse my studies but my father is forcing me to get married.”
The lady turned towards Shyam and said:”If you will try to forcefully marry your daughter then I will have to file a case against you for the violation of law.” Shyam shook his head in silence.
After discussions, lady left the place and Shyam told her wife that Poohan can continue with her studies. Poohan hugged her mother and told her about the lizard story which gave her the determination to fight back. Finally Parvati was able to save her daughter from the pain which she lived with, from past so many years.
Even today there are many Poohans in our society who need help. But unfortunately some do not speak up and some surrender to the adverse circumstances.
Education is important for everybody irrespective of the gender.