Bihar village girl refuses to marry drunk groom

February 17th, 2009 - 1:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Feb 17 (IANS) An uneducated woman in a Bihar village stunned members of her family and community when she refused to marry the groom because she found him in an inebriated state just ahead of the wedding ceremony, police said Tuesday.

Punam Kumari, daughter of Manoj Choudhary of a village under Phulwarisharief near Patna, called off her marriage to Sanjay Choudhary after she found him drunk minutes before the wedding was to be solemnised as per Hindu rituals Monday night.

Punam, in her early 20s, was decked up in traditional red bridal attire and ready for her marriage at a temple, but on seeing Sanjay drunk, she refused to marry him and walked away from the venue.

She sought the help of Deputy Superintendent of Police Dilnawaz Ahmad, who was present on the occasion. Ahmad supported Punam and asked her parents not to force her into marrying a person against her wishes.

“She refused to marry the man who was drunk. I did not force her to marry against her wishes,” Punam’s father said.

In the last one year, several instances of women turning down drunk grooms at the last minute have been reported from different parts of Bihar.

In rural Bihar, there have also been cases of brides refusing to marry unsuitable grooms who were illiterate, deaf or unemployed.

Till a few years ago, it was rare for a woman to spurn a groom chosen for her by her family. In fact, the reverse was the rule, as it was the groom or his parents who would often refuse marriage on grounds like inadequate dowry or a bride’s dark complexion.

Women in Bihar lag far behind men in terms of crucial human development indicators. The gender ratio is 921 women against 1,000 men. The female population is 39.7 million as against 43.2 million males and the literacy rate of women is just over half that of men.

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