The electoral promise of bride trafficking

molki bride trafficking

BJP leader OP Dhankar made a sensation when he promised the men of Haryana that if BJP came to power, it would get girls from Bihar for men in Haryana to marry. Finding women to marry is a big problem in Haryana with its bad and deteriorating sex ratio, with over a hundred and fifty less women per thousand men.

It is hardly a secret that bride trafficking is one of the ways men in Haryana are able to marry. Traffickers “purchase” women from places suffering from adversity – for example, last year’s drought in Maharashtra saw parched people who couldn’t afford water “give away” a daughter for marriage in order to be able to sustain the rest, even as the drought caused many local marriages to be cancelled or postponed. The consideration for such marriages often is simple. Does the place have enough water?

Such “wives”, locally known as “molki” – literally meaning purchased – are usually little more than servants with additional responsibilities and routinely suffer domestic abuse, marital rape and abandonment for reasons ranging from failure to produce a son to ill health and inconvenience. They are often married to others when original families tire of them or shared by multiple men and eventually pushed to prostitution. It is a human rights problem and a women’s rights problem and human trafficking is most definitely illegal.

So it is very worrying when a political leader promises a male dominated society that it will “get” women for them all to marry if voted to power. The party that rants over “doles” apparently sees no wrong in distributing women like a commodity.

What is more alarming is that beyond an idiotic leader appears to be a party that does not see this as a serious enough problem to punish spectacularly.

At this point one really wonders what it bodes for the future of India if a party that rally has no ethics beyond religious supremacy and “whatever wins votes” does not have supporters abandoning them even after an obscene election promise like this.

Is it too late for Indian women? Can they be promised away as election goodies and bring victory? Would that even be a win for democracy?

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