The recent circulation of a video online where a young engineer is abducted to forcefully marry the kidnapper’s sister has once again highlighted or rather helped resurface an age-old practice of forced marriages in Bihar, where young, eligible bachelors are kidnapped by goons and forced to marry young women at gunpoint.

You can watch the video here:

Many are thinking that the recent case is the only case of forced marriage witnessed in Bihar but that’s where the catch is. This illegal tradition has been practiced for many years now but since anyone hardly complains when such a scenario arises and the police seldom take an action against the few complains that are registered, this crime goes unnoticed.

In addition to this, there was even a serial on this unlawful practice as well, named Bhagyavidhata, which solely focused on the problems in a young woman’s life after her forced marriage to a rich, handsome man.

Forced marriages
The serial Bhagyavidhata

So, abduction of men for marriage in Bihar is not so absurd after all.

Throwing Some Light On Pakarva Vivah

Forced marriages

Widely prevalent in the city of crimes, Bihar, this practice of forced marriage by abduction also known as Pakarva Vivah is simply a means to an end in which the father or brother/s of a woman of marriageable age kidnaps an eligible bachelor and forces him to marry the woman with a gun pointing towards his head. Furthermore, the groom and his family are warned to accept the marriage and treat the girl well or else meet with their deaths.

The “eligible bachelor” in most of such cases are young men with a wealthy background and a secure job preferably as a government officer.

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Statistics Say It All

As mentioned earlier, marriage by abduction has been the way of things for years in many districts of Bihar now. According to some sources, Bihar has witnessed around 3,075 such marriages in 2016 itself with the figures for 2015 and 2014 being 3,001 and 2,533 respectively.

Forced marriages

Such alarming figures in recent years further solidify the fact that forced marriages have become a widely accepted trend in Bihar now with districts like Begusarai and Muzaffarpur securing the top position.

And the shocking part is that most of these forced marriages indeed turn out to be successful with very few cases in which the marriage doesn’t work out. This is because once the marriage is solemnized the victim side of the party ultimately gives in and accepts the marriage as their so-called fate.

One such incident reports as:

“Jyoti Ranjan Mishra, an engineering student, came to visit some relatives in Monghyr town. Soon he was abducted by some people to the house of Lakshmikant Mishra and was forced to marry his daughter, Rekha. However, the abducted groom eventually accepted the marriage stating that he was bound to marry one day and he and his family is happy now.”

This clearly highlights the helplessness of the young men who just have to make peace with their fates and silently accept the violation of their basic rights.

Why Is Such A Practice Popular In Bihar?

The main reason for people to carry out this trend is dowry.

It is a widely accepted notion that demands for hefty dowries is a social evil which has and continues to destroy the lives of many helpless women.

Sadly, marriage has turned into a profit making business in Bihar wherein families of well to do grooms ask for exorbitant amounts of money from the bride’s family as a precondition for carrying out the wedding. Because of this many girls from humble backgrounds are rarely able to dream of marrying a wealthy man of high ranking.

To fight this social evil and secure the future of their vulnerable daughters, people of Bihar have introduced this practice of Pakarva Vivah. This is because they find it fairly easy and cheap to just kidnap the suitable groom instead of paying a lump sum dowry and arrange an expensive wedding.

Thus, by the looks of it, the root of the problem of this highly disturbing practice is much deeper than it seems. This trend is nothing but the result of the regressive mindset of a deeply patriarchal society which holds the belief that a woman’s sole purpose is to find a suitable match by paying huge amounts of money. And that makes her a mere object to be tossed around in the hands of her own people.


Sources: The Quint, India Today, Tribune India, TOI

Images Source: Google Images


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