A contented family, a family in which members live in harmonious and affectionate co-existence, is the foundation of a community or society that has wholesome wellbeing as its unifying essence and strength. Studies conducted in several areas of India, over the last 60 years, show accelerated change from the joint families to nuclear families. But the traditional values governing family life and conjugal fidelity have been continuing without much change, at least in the non-urban areas of India.
The strong-based institution of the family has so far been functioning as a secure base of the overall social wellness of the community and the country. Factors like subjugation by Europeans, westernisation and globalisation have not been able to chip a dent into this strong bastion of the society. But, now, the institution of the Indian family is facing the greatest threat in history in the form of female foeticide and infanticide, which is gradually making the girl a rare commodity in the marriage market, at least in some Indian states.
This new factor is changing all our values of marriage, family life and morality that we had been proud of. As a consequence of ‘bride-drought’ girls are being purchased from economically backward areas of the North-Eastern States by the over-aged bachelors of the comparatively well-off North-Western States. Girls who are thus purchased and brought into unfamiliar circumstances face great hardship to accommodate themselves in the new linguistic, social and climatic circumstances.
The purchase of minor girls for marriage is classified as ‘Procuration of Minor Girls’ in the crime statistics of the Government. The number of cases registered in this category was 237 in 2009. It jumped to 679 in 2010 and 862 in 2011. This shows an annual increase of 27 % in 2010 to 2011. The number of women above 18 who have beenpurchased as wives does not feature in these statistics as there is no crime involved. But, it is estimated to be far more than the number of minor girls procured.
|Incidence of Human Trafficking during 2006-2011|
|SI.No.||Crime Head||Number of cases per year||% variation in 2011 over 2010|
|1||Procuration Of Minor Girls||231||253||224||237||679||862||27.0|
|2||Importation of Girls||67||61||67||48||36||80||122.2|
|3||Selling Of Girls For Prostitution||123||69||49||57||130||113||-13.1|
|4||Buying Of Girls For Prostitution||35||40||30||32||78||27||-65.4|
There has been an unprecedented increase in crimes against children in recent years. There was an increase of 43% in kidnapping and abduction and 30% increase in rape cases of children from the figures for 2009 to the figures for 2011. Rape cases of children were 5368 in 2009, 5484 in 2010, 7112 in 2011 and 13766 in 2014. Kidnapping and abduction cases which were 10670 in 2010 increased to 15284 in 2011.
|Crimes against Children (IPC) in the Country and Percentage variation in 2011 over 2010|
|SI.No.||Crime Head||Year||% variation in 2011 over 2010|
|4||Kidnapping & Abduction||8945||10670||15284||43|
|6||Abetment of Suicide||46||56||61||9|
|7||Exposure & Abadonment||857||725||700||-3|
|8||Procuration of Minor Girls||237||679||862||27|
|9||Buying of girls for Prostitution||32||78||27||-65|
|10||Selling of girls for Prostitution||57||130||113||-13|
|11||Other Crimes (including prohibition of Child Marriage act 2006||6985||7253||7293||1|
These problems are going to be aggravated as the future brides-to-be are getting lesser and lesser in number as years progress. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Social evils like rape, abuse of girl children, child marriages, purchasing of wives and polyandry will become more and more widespread in our country making our family life and social life chaotic.