12-year-old Tulasi Miryal belongs to the Sudugadu Siddhara community in Kanataka’s Belagavi district, a community where child marriages are a norm.
It, therefore, came as a shock to Tulasi’s parents when she expressed the desire to not marry.
But acting in a street play in school changed everything for her, Bfirst.in reported.
Not long ago, Tulasi was asked to discontinue school and forced to learn household chores. She was told by her parents that they had found a suitable man for her to marry. Tulasi, left without a choice, agreed.
It was after she went back to her school, the Don Bosco Institute, that she was asked by her teachers to continue her education till she got married. With that request, she approached her parents, who then conceded to her demands– Tulasi could attend classes as long as she also learns domestic chores.
It was after this that Tulasi got a chance to play the role of a child rights activist in a street play meant to create awareness about child marriage. Playing that part in the play, quite evidently, left an impression on Tulasi. Braving all odds, she told her parents that she would not marry.
Stunned, her parents made all efforts to change her mind. Their daughter, however, had her way.
“I told them that it is illegal to marry off a minor girl and told them how it would affect the girl’s health. I told them that I want to pursue my studies,” Tulasi told Bfirst.
The family’s decision led them to pay a ‘fine’ of Rs 30,000 to the man she was supposed to marry. “The elders of our community decided to penalise us,” Tulasi added.
Dubbing Tulasi’s decision as a “great victory”, Sister Anitha Gracious, member of Belagavi-based Don Bosco Institute, said Tulasi’s story is a success for them. “She stood against the odds and took the male members of her community head-on. She is brave and confident. We just guided her. This is indeed a success to us. We are happy at least we saved a life,” she said.