Saturday, 9 June 2012


Yesterday, David Cameron announced that Forced Marriages in Britain would become a criminal offence.

This is due to the large number of forced marriages by some parents in the UK who still regard the custom of arranging a marriage for their children, as part of their parental responsibility. And they will do whatever they can to fulfil that duty. It often results in horrific situations of forced marriages that have devastating endings to very young girls as young as 5 years old. If a girl resists, it is likely that she will could come to physical harm and death in some cases.

My novel The Jeweller's Daughter, set in 1918 Trinidad, has Arranged Marriage as one of its themes. Arranged marriages can turn into forced ones, and my Main Character, ten year old Latchmin, has to deal with a similar situation. Without prior discussion, she has been informed by her parents that they have arranged a marriage for her with a boy whom she has never met. This is the first she is hearing of the arrangement, and she is devastated. Especially as her mother previously encouraged her education. Unlike many other girls her age at that time, Latchmin wants to continue school for the foreseeable future. She has been told by the Headmaster that she is bright enough to go into the Teaching profession. So she has her heart set on that. Now she must find a way out of the marriage. But at 10, she is too young to fight on her own.

What a different situation it would have been if the British Government had made that rule at that time for the Empire! That Forced Marriages were a criminal offence. How times change! How social expectations and lobbying forces manage to make change! Instead, Hindu marriages in Trinidad at that time, simply were not recognised. So children born from a Hindu marriage were deemed "illegitimate" on their birth certificate.

No comments:

Post a Comment