Punjab witnessed growing incidence of "run away groom" and “holiday wives”: Study

Published Date:   Saturday, Apr 27, 2013

There are Policy inadequacy and inability of civil society mechanism among the Diasporas and at the home state to tackle the growing incidence, says Atinder Kaur

Recent research by Atinder Kaur, a Ph.D Scholar in Punab University, Chandigarh finds some interesting trends in Punjab. In her paper titled “Socio-Economic Conditions of Left behind Brides by NRI’s in Punjab ”  which she presented in the GRFDT Seminar Ms Kaur shared some of the findings in her research conducted in   Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala district of Punjab with a sample size twenty in the age group between 20-30. She found that many a time when marriage is solemnized, the NRI’s husband proceeds back to his country of residence leaving behind his newlywed wife on the pretext that he will make necessary arrangements and bring her to the adopted country. But very frequently, this doesn’t happen and she waits indefinitely only to discover that she has been sexually, economically and socially exploited and has been dumped in home-land forever. The concept ‘run away groom’ and “holiday wives” came to surface in the recent past to describe such phenomenons which are growing in number.

Kaur finds that the marriages were usually conducted through middle man and no enquiry was made before the marriage. There are three important reasons (1) Parents want the marriage to happen quickly before other competitors rush in and (2) The dream of sending their son abroad as well as family at the earliest possible and (3) blind faith on the middle man in the absence of any other medium. Most of the decision about marriage negotiation was taken by girl’s parents not by herself. Most of the people in the Punjab who are interviewed are found that they are using their daughter, a channel through which the whole family will able to migrate and they will live a luxurious life in west.  Another vital aspect investigated relates to registration of marriages. It was quite astonishing that in majority of the cases (55%) those marriages were never registered. Dowry remain the main cause of separation in case of 75% cases where as second marriage was the cause for separation for 25% cases. After separation 60% of brides had sleepless nights due to nightmares of social stigma and facing health problems as they were visiting to doctor very frequently. 70% of the brides were still emotionally attached with their husband’s as they were looking forward to reunion.

Ms. Kaur also highlighted the policy inadequacy and inability of civil society mechanism among the Diasporas and at home state to tackle the growing incidence. She also highlighted the patriarchal mindset of the parents which causes these issues as they want their son to go abroad using daughter’s marriage as pretext. To fulfil their dreams of sending their son abroad, parents are willing to marry their daughter’s off to any one whether they are divorce, widower or even mentally challenged. 

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