Like many other rural parts of India, young farmers in Maharashtra are finding it increasingly challenging to find suitable brides due to the declining social status and economic instability associated with farming. Despite owning valuable land and earning a modest income, farmers face rejection from potential brides and their families simply because of their occupation. The farming community warns that this trend could have far-reaching consequences, potentially leading to a generation of unmarried farmers. Now, farmers want Lok Sabha candidates to address this issue.

While many politicos are in a quandary on how they are going solve the problem, Ramesh Baraskar, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi candidate from the Madha Lok Sabha constituency has assured that once elected, he is going to launch a drive to arrange marriages of unmarried youth in rural areas!

Baraskar assurance resonated with the youth in his farmer-dominated Madha constituency, stating, “There is a lack of employment opportunities for young people, farmers are struggling with low prices for their crops, the water crisis is severe, and women also face a dearth of work. There are men in their forties who are still unmarried due to a lack of marriage proposals. This issue is not limited to Madha constituency but is prevalent across the state, and I am committed to addressing this problem.”

Ramesh Baraskar 

Ramesh Baraskar 

In 2022, prospective grooms seeking brides marched to the Solapur district collector’s office, demanding government intervention. Baraskar participated and supported youth in this march. However, the district collector and the government administration were caught off guard by the unexpected demand. And now, village youth are raising this issue with politicians visiting villages seeking votes.

Brides in demand

The government promised to double farmers’ income, but nothing has changed on the ground, says Tatya Suryawanshi a farmer from Satara. “ The agrarian crisis has deepened and it has serious social consequences. Almost in every village, you will see hundreds of young boys who are not getting any marriage proposals only because they live in rural areas and are farmers” he says.

“I have completed my graduation and am working in my field. However, no girl is willing to marry me. The same is true for my friends, so we have decided to leave farming and relocate to Pune in search of a job in the hopes of receiving marriage proposals,” says Omkar Patil from Dharashiv.

Gender norms

Women activists in the State, say that uncertainty in agriculture is very high and overall income levels in farming are low. “Also, girls are getting educated and have aspirations which cannot be fulfilled in villages considering the traditional gender norms and restrictions” says Rajshree Mane.

Women activists say that female foeticide in Maharashtra continues despite the government’s efforts to curb this practice. Not surprisingly, the sex ratio in Maharashtra is 929 females for every 1,000 males, which is below the national average of 940 as per the latest census.