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MARRIAGE OR SALES ADVERTISEMENT?

On July 15, 2009, Nepal’s government brings a new budget for single women where if any person marries widow, they will be respect with Rs. 50,000 cash as a present. The government brings this program from the suggestion of economists for social security. May be the government has thought that it will bring positive change in the community but what actually the single women are thinking about the program and respect. I have talked with 10 widows about the program from different area but here I am presenting only some. While talking with them, it seems that actually single women are against the government program. I have also used some parts from Kantipur, a highly prestigious daily newspaper in Nepal.

Shagi Chaudhari, 38, is worried about the prestige of single women. Her husband passed away 5 years ago. She said in a sad face, my community will treat me and my new husband differently from the program. This selfish community will say that my new husband marry me for Rs. 50,000 even if we marry to live instead of that amount. Does the government return our prestige after my marriage? Not only she many of others are also worried about their prestige and respected community.

Nirmala Adhakari, age unknown, married a man 5 years ago. She became widow in her marriage. Her first marriage was on 2061 Magh 8 (Nepali date), on the way from Dang to her bridge home Pyuthan, they had an accident and her bridegroom died on the spot. She became widow without opening her bride dresses. In the accident 41 others relatives also died, but fortunately she was alive. After two years, she got married with journalist on 2063 Baishakh 24. Currently, her husband said her, “if 3 years ago the situation was like today, I would not marry you because our community will talked about us saying that I married you only for Rs. 50,000. Thanks there were no any program like that in the past.” Nirmala also says that “if someone marries single women thinking positively like my husband, our community will put spectacle and tell him selfish because of the government Rs. 50,000 presents.” It can bring mental depression to a couple. It’s true that still in our community people talk a lot without thinking. One or two couples cannot go against our community, it will be more challenging. I am not against the program, but I wanted to find the effectiveness of the program.

Another single woman, Krishna kumari Karki, 45, became widow 5 years ago. Though she is in her forties, she looked like she is in her thirties. Actually, when I asked her about single women married, she was shocked because she had never thought that the government will bring such program. Immediately, she said “Are the governments mad, they cannot provide me widow incentives, how are they thinking to provide money for our marriage? What types of change they want to bring? Is it a change or sales?” 20 years ago, she sold all her properties in India and came to stay in Nepal but till today she didn’t have citizenship. In our law, If someone stay 16 years, they will get citizenship no matter where they born or grew up. I talked with Rajan Bhattarai, the VDC secretary for the recommendation, and he has agreed to help her to get citizenship. He also said that it is impossible to get widow incentives without the citizenship, marriage record and death record.

Moreover, Maiya Katwal, 39, suggests the government to provide incentives to every widow, no limitation of age. “It is very difficult to grow up three children without any source of income; the government has to think about our current situation rather than our future. If we aren’t able to eat twice today what’s the important of thinking for tomorrow. We might die tomorrow because of starvation,” she said with eyes full of tears. She started to live single life from 10 years ago, and till today she hasn’t get any widow incentives. She said that many times she went to the VDC office and asked about the widow incentives, but the VDC secretary told her that they will provide widow incentives after the age of 60.

It also diminishes those people’s confidence who wanted to marry single women positively. Therefore, the government should bring awareness and empowerment program instead of providing sales price to single women. Please friends’ share your feelings if someone wants to marry for Rs. 50,000, is that a marriage or sales advertisement?

Comments

JaniceW's picture

Marriage incentive?

This appears to be rooted in good intentions but results in a policy that discriminates even more against widows. To offer a cash incentive not only places a price tag on their heads but is humiliating to the widows. Instead of empowering the women, they have created a situation where men may marry them only for the money, further adding to the low status widows already have in Nepal.

Instead, the Government should give the money directly to the widows so that they can provide for their children, give them an education and ensure adequate healthcare for the family. Especially as many widows are young having lost their husbands only recently during Nepal's 10-year conflict, which ended in 2006. I agree with you Sunita, that the government should create greater awareness of widow's plights and provide empowerment programs instead of setting a sales price for them.

sunita.basnet's picture

I do agree with you

Dearest Janice,
Namaskar,
Yes I do agree with you that placing the price tag in widow head will the solve t he problem of widow rather it will increase discrimination against women. I believe that providing incentives to window will have widow to make money and grew up their children. The widow marriage is not a need of our society but their daily necessity such as food; shelter, health, education and clothing are the main needs so the government has to focus on it.
With regards
Sunita

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

jodelight's picture

"benefits of marriage"

I found this so interesting. I was a bit perplexed with the methods the government is using to encourage widowed women to marry. Is the marriage incentive for the betterment of the women's lives, or for something having to do with an idea of marriage morality? I do think that marriage has many issues tied in with it, I am a bit unsure that the Nepali government is truly trying to help women. I must say it is strange that the incentive is promoting the "benefits" of marriage, rather than honoring the widows and providing a social netting.
Thanks for sharing this interesting info about what is happening in Nepal.
Keep us informed, your voice is valued!

Jody

PulseWire online community

sunita.basnet's picture

Benefit??

Dearest Jody,
Thanks for your comment and I believe I met you first time in my post. The government think that widow marriage incentives is for the better of women’s lives but how can they think so because I believe that they are familiar with Nepalese tradition and superstition. I don’t see any importance to bring this program for changing women’s lives. Yes, there are many issues tied with marriage benefit because some for some widow married can become the business to earn money. It’s true that it will diminish the respect that they have acquired from the society.
Thank you so much for your comment.
With regards
Sunita Basnet

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

lanjana's picture

Dear Sunita,Well articulated

Dear Sunita,

Well articulated but the case is not only for widows, it is for Dalits (so called low caste and untaouchable) women marrying them will be provided with NRs.1,00,000. The government's intention might be right but the mechanism that they are using to uplift the status of women is not only lethargic but humiliating as well. In a country where polygamy is in such a high rate, government's incentive can further escalate polygamy and let women be deprived. As most of the women are illiterate where female literacy rate is 42.08% of the total female population, there will be more occurences of discrimination and forgery when the government's program functions fully.Moreover the status of women will be even worse than now because some people might marry them in the greed of money and some noble men may not because the society will look down upon them. In a nation where social values are much more prized and followed than the governmental rules and regulations, drafting policies through one lens only will not solve the problem but might even increase the problem.

Thank you Sunita for sharing your perspectives

sunita.basnet's picture

Thank you

Dearest Anjana,
Thank you so much for your valuable comments. I do agree with you. I do a small survey with five people about the intercast marriage where the government provides Rs. 100,000 as a present if anyone marries dalits. Indira Basnet, 49, has four daughters. She says that if any of my daughters marry dalitsfor one lakhs I will broke their legs but Dil maya magrankti, 55, is a dalits. She says that we all are equal and there shouldn’t be any discrimination between higher cast and lower cast but Rs, 100,000 is not an appropriate respect. She says that government can do media conference to respect inter-cast marriage and encourage others instead of providing money. My youngest son has already married three wives and currently he is interested to marry higher cast such as Brahmin and chhetriya’s daughter for one lakh. Is that the government’s result that our government wants? I don’t think so, further she added. This is the scenario of our community so I don’t think it will bring equality in the country.
Thank you so much for your comment.
With regards
Sunita

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

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