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Trend for a Cause

In many societies, marriage is a celebrated institution signifying a union between two people and the beginning of their future together. However, in today’s world, millions of girls suffer from a vastly different marriage experience, where many brides are still children. So young, in fact, that these child brides hold onto their toys during the wedding ceremony.

Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and robs girls of their education health and long-term prospects. A girl who is married as a child is one whose potential will not be fulfilled. Since many parents and communities also want the very best for their daughters, we must work together and end child marriage.
— Dr Babakunde Osotimehin Executive director, UNFPA

In 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution recognizing child marriage as a human rights violation and called for its end. More than 100 countries across the globe sponsored this resolution, however India was not one of these countries to co-sponsor the resolution.

Despite India’s rapid modernization in recent years in areas of education and technology, the country still has a firm grasp on this archaic concept such as child marriage. India has the record of having the highest absolute number of child brides; about 24 million.

Laws and restraint acts have been implemented in the past but no change has really occurred. Prakhar Jain created the ‘ No Child Brides’ campaign in the hopes of making an impact. This interactive art installation comprises a portrait of a 15-year-old from Jharkhad, decorated with a total of 39,000 white bindi, representing the total number of child marriages taking place around the world every day.

A red bindi worn mostly by married women, connotes love and prosperity, and also bindis are believed to protect a woman from anything evil. While colored bindis have seeped into popular culture, no one wears a white bindi. So we thought of using the white bindi as a symbol of protest against child marriage.
— Prakhar Jain

Jain and his colleagues from ad agency, Havas Worldwide, traveled across India and took photographs of child brides to raise money and awareness. Now they are traveling India again with their completed art installation, – ‘ Bindu’, a six-by-six-foot portrait that marks a significant step in action taken to eradicate child marriage.

And the campaign has recently gained momentum in the Lakme Fashion week in Mumbai, where legendary couturier Tarum Tahiliani had all his models and crew wear white bindis in his show, which gained the attention of the media press.

With more than 65,000 white binidis having been sold so far, this initiative is creating widespread awareness for the need for countries to commit to the UN Resolution on child marriage and puts pressure on policymakers to enforce laws that are already in place.

 

Rebecca Kennedy