Jharkhand Girl child marriage: Radha Pandey is a 16-year-old girl from Jharkhand’s Koderma who has set an example of courage by going against her parents’ wishes to cancel her own wedding. Radha is an educated girl who understands the risks involved in marrying early. Here’s her story.
In an interview with TOI, she explained how she was against the idea of child marriage but her parents were adamant to get her married. Her father had fixed her marriage to a boy from a neighbouring village and finalised June 23 as the date of the marriage. She came to know about it in mid May. She spoke to her groom’s father and urged him to cancel the wedding. She also expressed her desire to study more and highlighted how a lot of girls marry under pressure but are not able to fulfill their dreams due to early marriage.
Radha, besides being an educated girl, was the head of the Bal Panchayat of Tikait Tola – A Bal Mitra Gram under Kailash Satyarthi Children Foundation and would frequently handle such cases of child marriage. The community backed her in her efforts which bore fruit when the groom’s father called off the wedding but it was more due to the fear of police action.
Radha hails from an extremely conservative background where her elder sister and mom were married off as child brides. However, she was brave enough to be vocal about what mattered to her and what she wanted from life. She didn’t let her family define her future. She is now the brand ambassador of the Koderma district against child marriage. Since then, she has saved over two dozen child brides from the district and is often seen counselling parents encouraging them to let their daughters study. She aspires to study in Uttar Pradesh’s Banaras Hindu University and finally become a teacher.