//13-yr-old 'Hindu priest' conducts marriage in Bihar

13-yr-old 'Hindu priest' conducts marriage in Bihar

SB Sinha, Hindustan Times,

Nawada (Bihar), January 30, 2007
It was a unique marriage! A 13-year-old 'priest' helped a 9-year-old groom tie the knot with a 12-year-old bride on Monday at Nawada’s Shiva temple, the venue of mass marriage, at Sobh under the town police station.

In this 'theatre of the absurd', while the child-priest went about the job of performing the marriage rites with a running nose, the kid 'groom' had to be lured into the ceremony with a generous 'golgappa' treat at a roadside vendor. As for the 12-year-old ‘bride’ draped in a yellow sari and red chunni, she went through the entire 'ceremony' like a dumb doll.

Although a visit to the temple on Monday revealed as many as five more underage marriages being solemnised, the one of 9-year-old Mithilesh Choudhary of village Sataua under Giriak police station of Nalanda district with 12-year-old Munni Kumari of village Mahatpura, also under Giriak police station, took the cake.

About 25 to 30 well-wishers from the bride’s as well as the groom’s side showered their ‘blessings’ on the ‘couple’ and wished them a long and fruitful life as husband and wife!

Notably, Shiv temple at Sobh has gained notoriety as the venue for child marriages. The temple authorities, however, play safe by issuing marriage certificates in which the child grooms and brides are shown to be adults.

In case of Mithilesh and Munni, the certificate gave out their age as 21 and 18 years respectively, a ploy to hoodwink the law banning child marriage.