A Father In India Fights To Undo His Daughter's Arranged Marriage That He Set Up

Bryan Michalek | September 8, 2017
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A man from a village in Northern India has been on a quest to undo the arranged marriage for his daughter that he helped set up.

In two reports seen here and here, NPR detailed how Lumbaram, an man from a village in the northern region of India, originally married off his 15-year-old daughter Durga to a man in his 40's who had a reputation for heavy drinking and little to no education. 

Durga reportedly pleaded with her father to end the marriage.

"I told my father, 'I won't do it,' Durga told NPR. "Papa said, 'No, you have to. Then my grandparents came in the room. And they said, 'You don't have a choice. Everyone gets married like this. You're not special.'"

Lumbaram told NPR that as he watched the wedding ceremony six years ago, he became "overcome by a growing sense of guilt," later approaching his daughter and telling her, "I will fix this."

Now, Lumbaram must obtain the permission of a council of elders to nullify the marriage, as well as pay a $7,000 fee -- a small fortune for a construction worker. 

Going over the village elders would result in social ostracism, making it hard for Lumbaram to earn a living. So instead, he's chosen to stall the process, enrolling Durga in a boarding school and later college, all to delay her moving in with her husband.

Lumbaram also convinced several other fathers in the community to choose education for their daughters over an arranged marriage, saving several other girls from the same fate.

He said he also tried to talk his daughter's husband into ending the marriage, as the husband's family already believes that Durga is becoming an undesirable match as she furthers her education. As of now, NPR reports the marriage hasn't yet been nullified, but things are looking better.

Durga told NPR that she is thinking about applying for a master's degree, and believes her father will make good on his promise.

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