Friday, October 14, 2011

Indian village suffers for lack of women

Unmarried men stand in a group as they watch women dance during the Dussehra festival in the remote village of Siyani, where they also live and work in, about 140km (86 miles) west of Gujarat's capital Ahmedabad, October 4, 2011. REUTERS-Vivek Prakash
(Reuters)

12 October 2011
SIYANI, India - Nearly two dozen men building a temple in this remote farming village lay down their tools at midday and walk through the dusty streets to a shed where they are joined by another group of men — and start eating a meal cooked by a man.



They live, eat and sleep together, sharing mattresses on the bare floor of an empty room the way a married couple usually would. All but a handful are unmarried — a living example of India’s rapidly worsening gender imbalance. 

An unmarried man eats his lunch in the remote village of Siyani, about 140km (86 miles) west of Gujarat's capital Ahmedabad, where they also live and work in, October 5, 2011.  REUTERS-Vivek Prakash

Census data released earlier this year revealed there are 914 girls for every 1,000 boys born - a sharp fall since 2001 when the ratio was 933 girls for every 1000 boys.
‘I have been looking to marry since I was 15,’ said Vinodbhai Mehtaliya, a 23-year-old Siyani farmer.
A decades-old Indian preference for male children, who are seen as breadwinners, has led to the skewed ratio, aided by cheap ultrasound tests that assist in sex-selective abortions and female infanticide. 
Unmarried men eat lunch together in the remote village of Siyani, where they also live and work in, about 140km (86 miles) west of Gujarat's capital Ahmedabad October 5, 2011.  REUTERS-Vivek Prakash
Siyani, in the western state of Gujarat, shows the decline. Here, some 350 men over the age of 35 are simply unable to get married — out of a total population of roughly 8,000.
‘I’m lucky I got married 20 years ago’ said 42-year-old Laljibhai Makwana, who works as a diamond polisher in one of the village’s small workshops. ‘If I was young here today I would never get married.’
The absence of women is obvious in the village’s bumpy, tiny lanes, where cows wander freely, especially in the evenings. 
Unmarried men sleep next to each other in a shared accommodation in the remote village of Siyani, where they also live and work in, about 140km (86 miles) west of Gujarat's capital Ahmedabad, October 5, 2011. REUTERS-Vivek Prakash
‘There is little industrial development or infrastructure here, so people are poor and uneducated,’ said Prashant Dave, the 41-year-old owner of a small flour mill who said he was lucky to be married.
‘There are too few women and they leave for better prospects.’
Among the group of men living together, men perform all the tasks which are traditionally the domain of women: sweeping, cooking and cleaning. 
A group of mostly unmarried men pose for a photograph in the remote village of Siyani, about 140km (86 miles) west of Gujarat's capital Ahmedabad, October 5, 2011. REUTERS-Vivek Prakash
The situation has also led to another reversal in custom, with some women and their parents asking for a lot of money from men to allow men to marry them, an inversion of the usual dowry system in which the woman’s family has to pay the man’s.
At sunset, as the day’s work ends, groups of unmarried men gather around the village tea stalls and tobacco shops, lacking wives and families to go home to. 
Two unmarried men lay out a bed sheet in their room in the remote village of Siyani, where they also live and work in, about 140km (86 miles) west of Gujarat's capital Ahmedabad, October 5, 2011. REUTERS-Vivek Prakash
‘I’ve given up looking,’ said Bharatbhai Khair, who is single at 45 and has been trying to marry for 25 years.
‘The women want more money for marriage than I can afford.’ 
An unmarried man sweeps the floor after serving lunch to a group of men living and working in the remote village of Siyani, about 140km (86 miles) west of Gujarat's capital Ahmedabad, October 5, 2011. REUTERS-Vivek Prakash

Sultan Brunei: Who are we to say 'Wait'?

His Majesty delivering his 'titah' at the launch of the International Seminar on Islamic Law. Picture: BT/ Saifulizam


His Majesty on enforcing Islamic law

"WHO ARE WE, in the presence of Allah (SWT), to say 'no or wait'; considering that (Islamic) law was not only formulated, but has been stated in Al-Quran and Al-Hadiths for more than 1,400 years."

This was the message in the titah of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam who yesterday reiterated calls for Brunei to implement Islamic law, particularly through the establishment of an Islamic Criminal Act.



"This is among my main aspirations, which have long been voiced but until now it is still being addressed," the monarch said.

His Majesty raised the issue in his birthday titah on July 15, 1996 and more recently at a sitting of the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) in March this year.

The sovereign has also urged authorities not to delay in introducing the Act during the MUIB meeting on Monday.

Voicing similar remarks yesterday, the monarch said that despite Brunei being small, the Sultanate has the resources and power to implement Islamic law. Its standing as a Muslim nation also makes it an obligation to carry it out.

"We have no other choice than to obey all of Allah's (SWT) commands."

"If we are still saying no or wait first, (then) this does not make sense," His Majesty said.

His Majesty put forward the notion that without the implementation of Islamic law, it puts into question Brunei's standing with Al-Quran and the Hadiths.

"Because of this, I am called, without any doubt, to see an Islamic Criminal Act established and implemented," His Majesty said, adding that the existing secular laws would not be "pushed" aside.

The monarch noted that the cooperation between the authorities who draft civil and Islamic laws was "good and (this) cooperation needed to be continued".

His Majesty said that Brunei has done something "magnificent and unique" in that it has managed to incorporate Islamic aspects into all its laws.

"We have been tailoring all the civil laws with the requirements of Islam, meaning that (we have) maintained the civil (laws) but in (a) shape and structure that is more based on Islam."

His Majesty was confident that with the implementation of the Islamic Criminal Act, the importance of civil laws will become more transparent.

"For example, when a criminal case cannot be addressed by Syariah (law) due to certain factors, then it will be addressed as a civil (law case), which has also been aligned to Syariah requirements."

"Is this not beautiful? In my opinion, it is very beautiful (and) unique," His Majesty added.

The monarch who was speaking at the opening of an international seminar held at the Bridex hall in Jerudong said he hoped that the event will bring about new ideas that will expedite the establishment of the Islamic Criminal Act.

"I believe that Allah SWT is currently illuminating us with His blessings because of our aspirations, and even providing us with the strength to do so."

The Brunei Times