Arrow Marriage for Girls in India

photo of an arrow marriage ceremonyUntil quite recently many girls in India were married at a very young age often to men much older than themselves. This was done primarily to guarantee that they would be sexually pure upon marriage. But among some tribal groups in India, pre-puberty marriage of girls to an object such as an arrow or tree was a way to keep their girls sexually pure while still allowing them to marry a real man later. These marriages to objects allowed the girl and her parents to avoid the negative results of the socially approved custom of early marriage while still maintaining the girl's honor.

Although very early marriage is no longer widely practiced in India, the custom of kanda bara, marriage to an object, is still practiced by some tribal groups.

Copyright © The Clio Project 2005

PDF icon Full Lesson

Photo Credit:
Arrow Marriage Ceremony. Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.