No brides for 59 lakh men in UP

LUCKNOW: On the eve of Akshay Tritiya, an auspicious day in the Hindu calendar to get married, over 59 lakh marriageable men in UP are without brides. Census data on the marital status of Indian population reveals that most Indian men live in a state of forced bachelorhood.

Lesser number of girls due to the high female foeticide rate during the 1970s, 80s and 90s is considered to be the primary cause for the situation.

The conclusion has been derived from census data on marital status of Indian population released recently. For 79.56 lakh unmarried men in their 20s, there are just 29.26 lakh unmarried women living. Similarly, there are 9.13 lakh men in their 30s but only 1.95 lakh girls while 3.03 lakh men in their 40s have 59,399 women to choose from.

“This had to happen as girls were killed mercilessly inside the womb in those decades,” said Dr Neelam Singh, member, national inspection and monitoring committee on PCPNDT (pre-conception, pre-natal diagnostic techniques) Act. “That was the time sex determination strengthened its roots in India and created ripples in western parts of UP. The scenario will worsen by 2021,” she said.

Population sex ratio for UP over the decades explains the gap. In the 1901 census, UP sex ratio was 938 which was 16 points less than the natural sex ratio of 954. It continued to drop until 1961, however, 70s saw the worst sex ratio of 876 (78 units below natural ratio). It picked up marginally in the 80s but slipped again in the 90s. At 908, UP sex ratio is way behind the national average of 940. “Had it not been for the PC PNDT act in the 1990s, many more girls would have died,” said Rohit Kant, a lawyer.

Matchmaker G S Kapoor said he often comes across unmarried men in their 40s. “Some of them have compromised on caste and community over the years but to no avail. Subtle rise in the number of anti-dowry families is more due to the ‘unavailability of brides’ than any consciousness,” he said.

The disturbed male and female ratio is the root of the many problems girls face in their daily lives. “Crime against women, especially rape and acid attacks are closely linked to this low female ratio” said Madhu Garg, a social activist.

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