The Hadauti region in Rajasthan is facing a major issue with its skewed sex ratio, making it difficult for young men to find brides. However, a controversial solution has emerged where these men can purchase a bride for a price ranging from Rs 50,000 to 1 lakh. The trend is growing secretly in rural and semi-urban areas, and surprisingly, even prosperous communities like Mahashewari, Baniya, Jain, and Bhramin are opting for such marriages.
These marriages are often arranged by “touts” who look out for bachelors struggling to find brides and offer to find them a bride in return for a substantial amount of money. The touts assure the families of the young men that there is no risk involved in such alliances and that they are legal as long as both sets of parents agree to it. The brides are mainly purchased from Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Bihar, but they are also available in Rajasthan.
Although the practice of purchasing brides is not technically illegal, concerns about the credibility of “purchased brides” always linger. Some brides have reportedly fled with valuables after just a few days of marriage, leaving the groom’s family devastated. However, many men who have purchased brides argue that they were left with no other choice, as they couldn’t find a suitable bride in their community.
Despite the prevalence of the dowry system in North Indian states, men are willing to pay for a wife if it means they can start their own families. Most of the girls come from impoverished villages in the aforementioned states, and their families need money. However, if treated well and taken care of, they are not likely to run away.
It’s important to note that purchasing brides is not a solution to the issue of a skewed sex ratio, and it perpetuates the objectification and commodification of women. Instead, there needs to be a concerted effort to address the underlying societal issues that lead to gender imbalance and discrimination against women. It is crucial to provide girls with equal opportunities for education and employment and create an environment where women are valued and respected. Only then can we hope for a future where women are not seen as commodities to be purchased and traded.