Ghandi’s child marriage

On my way back home in July from India after a trip for Plan Netherlands I picked up a copy of Ghandi’s personal biography. I’ll be honest, I learned some curious things about this man, for example in my opinion he was a complete nutter in terms of food. He basically only ate nuts and fruit. Besides this, most interesting were his descriptions of his legal and political career, but that wasn’t the only thing I learned. He had to marry as a child groom to a child bride.
His father was a practical man keeping up customs of his caste. He could only afford one wedding for all his sons together, so when his oldest son was ready to marry, brides were selected for his younger brothers – including Ghandi – and the wedding was held. Ghandi was married to Kasturbai at the age of 13. In the first years they didn’t necessarily live together, both stayed at their own homes. Only later they started living together. At 16 she got pregnant, but lost their first child. They had 6 altogether.
Ghandi describes in his biography how he got frustrated, lost patience with her, and ‘wasn’t able to control his lust’ with her when he was an adolescent and later on in his life as well. He again developed some rather extreme celibacy views on this, but in many ways he was a man ahead of his time. He later on realized this was not the way to treat his wife or any woman for that matter, let alone find child marriage a custom that should be practiced.
Today more than a 100 years after Ghandi’s marriage it is the first World Girl’s Day. Child marriage is a custom still practiced in various countries in Asia, Middle-East and Africa. Girls meet the man of their ‘dreams’ on their wedding day, as young as the age of 8 or 9. The consequences can be devastating. Plan Netherlands is holding the campaign: ‘Give the finger’ to Child marriage supported by MTV and worldwide the campaign is called ‘Raise your hand.’ You’re invited to lend your support.
And watch this video, it tells it all:

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