Every phenomenon orcustom has a history behind it, how it develops, how it becomes acceptable topeople in general and why it continues even now. There are various traditionsand customs due to which people never think that bride trafficking is a crime.The level of social acceptance of some the such traditions and customs is sohigh that people don’t feel bad in following them even though these may appearto be contrary to law of the land, ethics or morality and thus these socialevils ensue the acceptance of crime like bride trafficking. Practice of Karewaand bride price are few important factors which we can find almost in all thereligions and in all states. The acceptance and treatment of women as commodityhas led to increase in crime like bride trafficking.
We can find various instances when suchtraditions and customs are followed; their acceptability is quite high in caseof bride trafficking. The laws of Manu describes sale of a daughter for a fixedprice, called a nuptial fee. Bride trafficking canalso be seen as practice of Asura marriage. In Asura type of marriage, bridegroom has to give money to the father ofthe bride. The Smriti writers consider the Asura marriage as a necessary evilor traditional custom. Bride traffickingis not Asura marriage in true sense as it involves element of traffickingallurement, coercion and fraud in it.
There are various traditions and customsprevalent in our society which look like bride trafficking but are differentfrom it. But what is more significant in their study is the fact that they havecreated a space for bride trafficking to become acceptable in our society. Wewill discuss such customs in details as under: Acceptability of customof Karewa: As per this traditional practice, after the death of husband ofwoman, she is forced to marry the younger brother of the deceased and in caseyounger brother is not available then to elder brother provided he is single(unmarried, divorced, or widower).
We have seen in the past cases thatsometimes even father- in- law of the woman has claimed his right of Karewa onher. Sometimes families marry their sons to a ladies older than them so thateven fathers- in- law could have a free access to have sex with her. There area few cases when a petition has been filed in the court where father- in- lawhas claimed Karewa rights on his daughter- in- law. This tradition in practice since long hasimpacted minds of the people in such a way that people think that cohabitingwith a bride by multiple members of the family is not bad.
No doubt, Karewa wasadopted with the good intention of keeping the affected women in the same housedue some emergency situation or situation beyond the control of anyone butpeople think that when the family members are not able to get bride because ofskewed sex ration in Haryana, the bride trafficking is not bad idea andfurthermore, the access to the trafficked victim for sex will be easy as itrepresents a situation similar to Karewa which they think is also beyond the control of the family.