GOLAKGANJ, May 21 � The plight of the women of char areas in Dhubri district remains pathetic. Education is still a distant dream for most of the womenfolk here. Literacy rate in char areas is ten per cent, among which women�s share is about nil. Women in these areas are seen as nothing but mere instruments of child birth and as domestic chattels.
�It is their duty�, said Mollah Ajgar Ali of Chalakura Char. Besides house-hold work, the women help their counterparts in the paddy fields. Tradition demands that the char women of Chalakura, Birshing, Boraibari, Kuntircahr, Bhashanir Char, Dewaner Alga Char, Mantrir Char etc cannot even have a look of their husbands faces before marriage. Sometimes, the family members arrange their marriages to much older grooms because of acute financial hardship.
Rahima Bibi (17) of Chalakura char told this correspondent that women and girls are not encouraged to step outside the house by older women in the family. Also, both women and men are totally ignorant of birth control and contraception facilities. As a result, population of the char areas is increasing at an alarming rate. A medical worker of Birshing char in Dhubri disclosed that all educated persons including teachers were against birth control and many char women have conceded to having large families only to please their husbands.
In recent times, the dowry system has cast an ugly shadow on the lives of many unmarried young girls. �My parents took a loan of Rs 5000 for my elder sister�s marriage a couple of years ago. So, I am working in a brick kiln to repay the debt,� narrated 14 year old Sakina Khatun of Ashari Kandi brick kiln in Gauripur. The victim said, �Though I have already worked for more than two years in the factory. I could repay only Rs 1000 till date.� �I want to play and go to school, but these are mere dreams as I have to spend more than twelve hours a day in the kiln. Despite this, it is impossible for me to have two meals a day,� complained Sakina.
On the other hand talak (divorce) system has been plaguing the lives of women. The women are unable to voice their protests against these malpractices. Monowara Begum (32) of Gossaindubi char in Dhubri was divorced with her five month child recently. Her husband Azibul Sheikh (41) has married another women after divorcing her. Even after taking several steps to abolish these evil practices, dowry deaths and talaks continue to occur in the Char areas in Dhubri.