Gujarat village suffers for lack of women

SIYANI, India Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:03pm IST

Unmarried men eat their lunch 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

Unmarried men eat their lunch 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.

Credit: Reuters/Vivek Prakash

Related Topics

SIYANI, India (Reuters) - 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.

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.

Siyani, in 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.

"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.

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.

"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." here

(Editing by Elaine Lies)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Diwali Glitter

Diwali Glitter

Gold sales jump about 20 pct for Diwali - trade body  Full Article 

Microsoft Earnings

Microsoft Earnings

Microsoft sales beat Street hopes, cloud profits up.  Full Article 

Canada Shooting

Canada Shooting

Canada Parliament gunman had planned to travel to Syria - police.  Full Article 

New World Bank Rival

New World Bank Rival

Three major nations absent as China launches World Bank rival in Asia  Full Article 

Assault on Pires?

Assault on Pires?

ISL probes allegation of assault on Pires  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Mali becomes sixth West African nation hit by Ebola.  Full Article 

Climate Deal

Climate Deal

EU strikes compromise to set new climate target.  Full Article 

Kalki Interview

Kalki on Margarita

Kalki on her role in “Margarita, With a Straw”  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage