Minimum Age For Marriage – II.

Ursula, while commenting on my yesterday’s post Minimum Age For Marriage, said,

“On a side note: If I could make money that way, I’d get married every five minutes; even to people three times my age (honeymoon not an option) And before there is an orderly queue forming: I do NOT hold a British passport. Sorry. Take your business elsewhere.”


My response:

“Your comments makes me ponder, and that is a mischievous state for me to be in. A new post on its way for tomorrow. Let me see how that one takes off.”

Two mischievous thoughts. One, Ursula, from your avatar, you look to be around say forty-ish. Three times that would be 120-ish! Should be very interesting, that combination, honey moon or no, if the $$$$$ is right.

Second mischievous thought, seriously, supposing the story was about a boy of 16 marrying an actress of 51, what would the reactions be?

Minimum Age For Marriage.

I quote from Wikipedia the minimum legal age for marriage in India.

“India: 21 for males and 18 for females. If any partner(s) engages in marriage at a younger age, (s)he can ask for the marriage to be declared void / annulled. A recent recommendation by the Law Commission aims to equalize the marriage age for males and females to 18, automatically declares marriages under 16 as “null and void”, while marriages at the age of 16 or 17 are “voidable”

That it is often ignored with impunity is besides the point. There is at least a legal provision to challenge such a marriage. There are a number of instances when such breach is reported and action taken which receive wide coverage in our media. All attempts are being made by various organisations and methods to stop such below age marriages from taking place.

It therefore came as a surprise to me to read this article in the CBS news about a marriage between a 51 year old actor and a 16 year old aspiring actor with the latter’s parental permission.

This is cradle snatching and I am appalled at the parental permission. I am also appalled that the local Nevada law permits such a marriage.

I am not an American and may be out of touch with the realities there, and will be very glad to be educated about this aberration by my American readers.

Pheriwallah 1.

A Pheiriwallah is a mobile vendor of items of daily use for homes and small businesses. The origin of the name is the English Ferry and wallah is for a man. A woman vendor will be called a Pheriwalli. They are ubiquitous in India and form a major part of the self employed 50% of the total work force here.

Pheriwallahs and pheriwallis sell all kinds of things ex their hand carts, bicycles, and even from baskets kept on their heads while walking about. Some modern developments using three wheeled mini pick up vans have started too. Many of them specialize like sourcing tailor trimmer items from wholesalers for tailors located all over the cities and towns and some travel to many towns and villages from a core trading town.

As and when I come across some of these colourful characters, I shall photograph them and introduce their trade to my readers.

These two photographs are of a vendor of brooms, doormats, bamboo sweeps etc, who plies his trade from a bicycle. He and others like him are very common in the residential areas of our city.

They buy their ware on credit from wholesalers in the heart of the city and vend in speicific localities for each of them so that there is no competition among themselves in each locality. Accounts are settled once a week or when stocks need replenishment.

Their cries announcing their arrivals are jarring to sensitive ears, but loud enough to make their presence felt. Housewives often get to remember to replace their worn out cleaning equipment when their cries are heard.

This lad is originally from a backward part of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, which may be familiar to my British readers as the old United Provinces. He migrated to Pune finding little scope for employment or enterprise in his part of the world and joined some others from his village who had already migrated to Pune much earlier.

Once in Pune, again having failed to find anything better to do, he was roped in by two others from his village doing the same thing two years ago. He has not looked back since and is able to send money home regularly to keep the Money Order economy of Uttar Pradesh alive.

He lives in a single room along with seven others from his village. Each has a cot to sleep on in the room and all of them share one toilet and one bathroom with three other sets of eight people per room in one house in the outskirts of Pune. All of them bicycle to work or trade daily and are on their tasks for a minimum of eight and a maximum of twelve hours daily. They eat in their own communal eating places called Messes and usually only one main meal a day, which is dinner. They usually entertain themselves by listening to FM radio which now a days, is part of their mobile phones.They go through the rest of the day with snacks and tea obtained from way side stalls like this:

That lady, very likely also from some rural outpost, too symbolizes entrepreneurship at its best and performs a vital function in keeping the wheels of progress(?) in cities moving. Do note the wall painting promoting Coca Cola at the back!

Such Pheriwallahs are also a significant part of the carriers of AIDS for obvious reasons. They get infected in cities and carry the disease with them to their villages on their annual or at-need visits, and leave it back with their wives.

Modern Systems And Affirmative Action.

A casual chat with a friend on the kind of questionnaires that one is asked to fill in now a days for various purposes reminded me of this story. My friend had trouble when she refused to fill in a box calling for her religion. The interviewer simply put what he thought should be the answer! When she informed me about this, I suggested that it could possibly be due to a computer program that would take the information on this form as input would reject the whole form if some boxes were left empty and that is when I remembered this story.

In 1988, my son had to fill in a form in his junior college to register for the board of education records. Two of the questions that were asked pertained to his religion and his caste.

For some background information, in India these two pieces of information are very necessary for statistical purposes and to establish quotas for admission into educational institutions and government employment, subsidies etc. We have elaborate quotas for what is called affirmative action to pull up the less empowered. At the same time, we also have regular calls to be secular and not accept the restrictions imposed by religion and caste, from, you guessed it, our “leaders”.

My son could not fill in the details, as he honestly did not know what to put down. His late mother, then very much alive, was a Methodist Christian, and on one of his visits to his grand mother’s place at a much younger age, he was baptised by a visiting priest. He had undergone baptism as a lark and after that, had never heard anything more about being a Baptist or a Christian. He had also been participating in many rituals and rites in his paternal homes that followed the Hindu system. Caste was a word completely new to him.

The Principal of the college suggested that I be called for a meeting and I promptly rushed there. I explained the situation to the very smart gentleman there, but he simply said that if I did not put down something in those two boxes, my son would not get his examination tickets to appear for the Board examinations. He would not accept Nil as entries as he informed me that the computerised system did not have that as an option. I had no other option but to put down his religion as Hindu. When it came to the Caste, I thought that I might as well have some fun and asked him to suggest a caste that would be classified as “Scheduled”, so that at least in future my son would have some benefits arising out of that classification. The Principal said that he would have no problems with that but would need a certificate from an appropriate authority to that effect. I gave up and entered my caste which unfortunately does not get any affirmative action. but is subject to a lot of reverse discrimination.

I recently found that the computers everywhere, still will not accept Nil as a valid entry against Religion and Caste. So much for our Secular state.

The story however does not end there. After a few months, we had gone to a village in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, and I narrated this story to a friend quite knowledgeable about these matters. He promptly berated me for being stupid and said that for a couple of hundred rupees, he could have generated that certificate from the local authority!

No affirmative action for the stupid; they are the majority.


This post is in response to the great discussion that has taken place between Ursula and gaelikaa in my comments box in my post on Miss Tibet.

Unfortunately, I am not able to give due credit to this wonderful illustration, as I got it as a group mail. I am unable to find the source.

Please click on the image to enlarge it and click on it again to further enlarge if needed. Believe me, it is worth taking the trouble.