Durga is a 16 year old who was married off to her uncle at the age of 14. Marriage has always been in the cards, but not the way it happened to her.
She’s is the eldest daughter of four other siblings, her father was pressured to marry her off to an elderly uncle. The wedding was a joyous and riotous celebration, but she and her family were in despair.
She went ahead with it anyway to uphold her father’s honour. It wore her down. Her dreams and future were shattered.
As she describes it, “nothing was left.”
Two years on, her father refuses to speak about the subject, and has apologised to her about it. There seems to be some regret and a way out: through education.
She’s enrolled into a school with the help of The Veerni Project, an initiative that aims to educate girls and empower women in rural Rajasthan.
Durga is still a few years from graduation, but she’s feeling more hopeful about her future than before.
This is her story.
Child marriages are banned in India and is punishable by law with fine and possible imprisonment for anyone who performs, conducts or negligently fails to prevent a child marriage.
The age of consent is 21 for men and 18 for women in India. This documentary was shot in Jodhpur, in Rajasthan, where child marriages is still a norm.
‘Durga’ won an award for Best Editing at the Singapore Short Film Award, and the Outstanding Documentary Award at the Global Chinese Universities Student Film & TV Fest in Hong Kong. It was also selected for documentary film festivals in Thailand, the US, and for the Indie Doc Fest in Singapore.
Here’s another look at women and marriage, ‘Destiny’ by Grace Chew (Singapore), a documentary about the lives of three Vietnamese women who hope to leave their homes and families to marry foreign husbands