Child marriage is one of most deeply rooted social evils in India. Even though social movements and law have managed to bring down instances of child marriages, yet the practice continues unabated in many regions of the country.
While most of the child brides reconcile to their fate, some of them fight back. One such girl belonging to a poor, tribal family from West Bengal, Santana Murmu was married at a tender age of 14. She was in class VIII when her parents got her married. After the wedding, she gave up school and soon gave birth to two daughters.
However, what is beautiful and special about this child-bride is that despite an early marriage and motherhood, she returned to school, after a gap of four years in order to complete her education. And it doesn’t end here, as Santana is also actively working to stop child marriages and save other girls from suffering the same fate as hers. She was also invited to the 2015 UN General Assembly to share her stories with the world.
What’s praiseworthy is Santana’s in- laws and husband’s attitude towards her education. They take care of the two daughters while Santana walks for 3 km every morning to reach her school. She lives in Kushmandi village in South Dinajpur district of West Bengal and studies in Manikore High School which she joined in January 2017.
Satana’s elder daughter Vasundhara is 3-year-old and attends the Anganwadi play school.
Members of the child rights NGO- Child in Need Institute (CINI) have supported Santana in this venture. Along with them, her husband Gobind Hemram, who works as a labour has also displayed a keen interest in supporting the education of his wife. He himself dropped out of school when he was in class V.
Taking admission in the school, however initially posed some difficulties as the headmaster initially refused to admit her but the process was completed only after the Block Development Officer intervened.
Coming to her childhood, Santana always wanted to be a teacher. While her father funded her brother’s education till his masters but she was married off at 14.
Looking at her spirit and undying love for education, it can be said that Santana has set an example for all the women who are married off early and are unable to complete their education. Indeed, there is no age bar when it comes to learning and Santana is an idol for women who wish to complete their education.