Fatehabad, August 16 Ram Partap, a farmer from Jandli Kalan village in Fatehabad, had heard about the skewed sex ratio in the state. However, he did not actually realise the gravity of the situation until he went for a bride hunt for his son Rajinder a few years ago.
It was only after he was faced with the stark reality that there were no takers for his son that he was able to comprehend the impact of lesser number of females than males in society.
Today, Rajinder (40) is a member of a big army of middle-aged men living a life of forced bachelorhood due to gender imbalance in society. The paucity of girls due to a skewed sex ratio in this part of the country has made it difficult for people like Ram Partap to find brides for their sons.
In the neighbouring Gorakhpur village, farmer Partap Singh was able to find suitable brides for his two elder sons, but no one came forward to marry their daughters to the three others, Mohinder, Raj Kumar and Kala.
Kala has since gone insane, while Mohinder and Raj Kumar are part of some 500 unmarried men of the village. The problem is not confined to Jandli Kalan or Gorakhpur alone, but it has become a scourge for almost the entire Haryana. Sex determination and female foeticide seems to be now making telling effect on society in this part of the state. Armies of bachelors, having well passed their marriageable age, is ever increasing in almost every village of this area.
Jat youths, particularly those having small landholdings, are being forced into bachelorhood due to paucity of brides. Though some have been lucky that their families procured wives for them from other states like Bihar, Assam and Orissa, the number of old bachelors has been on the rise with each passing day.
However, procured wives have added to the problem rather than solving it in many cases.
Balraj purchased a bride for himself through some go-between. However, she ran away after a few days with cash and ornaments leaving Balraj distraught.
Tasha, too, procured wife from a Punjab village through some mediator. She also ran away with all his savings, leaving Tasha in the lurch. Further, these “procured brides” are looked down upon by other women of the village. Due to a cultural divide, some find it difficult to adjust in the society here and some of them eventually escape leaving their husband’s families in the lurch.
“Initially, when these women come to our village, neither we are able to understand their language, nor do they understand ours. But those who spend some years get accustomed to our culture and dialect,” says Guddi Devi, sarpanch of Jandli Kalan village.
Krishan Swaroop Gorakhpuria, a social activist, says that while rich and prosperous Jat families don’t face any problem in finding suitable brides for their sons, those having small landholdings find it almost impossible to get brides as parents of girls of marriageable age prefer to send their daughters to families where their future is bright.
“The problem is more severe in upper caste families, particularly Jats, because the incidents of female foeticide are more common in them,” Krishan Swaroop adds.
He says the fear of losing a part of landholdings to daughter is one big reason, if not the only reason behind the craving for male children among the Jats.
Sunita Jandli, president of the district Fatehabad unit of the All-India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA), said stricter implementation of laws relating to the determination of sex was needed to bring an end to the problem.
Jaswant Kaur, district secretary of the AIDWA, says the social implication of the gender imbalance, which was not visible earlier, had manifested over the years.
(Some names of village youths have been changed to protect identity)