Covid ‘joy’: As city boys struggle for survival, rural Maharashtra girls eye farmers as husbands

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on April 21, 2020

Fear of economic crisis and job cuts post pandemic triggers trend

Jaishree Shelar, who runs a marriage bureau in Maharashtra’s rural Satara district, is surprised at a new trend. Girls and their parents who were earlier averse to marriage proposals from young farmers are now suddenly more open to them.

“It appears that the coronavirus spread has changed the marriage equations in rural areas, at least for now,” said Shelar. “With the shadow of economic crisis looming large and companies already going for salary cuts, girls and their parents are worried about marriage proposals from cities. A ‘well settled’ and educated farmer stands a good chance now.”

She added that many young educated farmers were not getting brides earlier just because they were farmers. “Most of the educated rural girls insisted that they wanted a groom from a city with a handsome salary. But now they say that even a farmer will do,” she said.

Changing fortunes

Sambhaji Magdum, who holds an MBA degree and possesses 10 acres of irrigated family land in Arjunwad village in Kolhapur district, grows sugarcane and grapes. “I used to work with a private firm which paid me a meagre salary. I decided to join full-time farming. But this created a major problem as girls don’t want to marry any farmer. But I feel that the current situation will bring about a change,” said Magdum. His family is now gearing up for his marriage.

Vishal Mane, a young farmer from Takewadi village in Satara, has decided to get married amid the pandemic. He and his family are sure of getting marriage proposals, and do not intend to wait for the crisis to end.

Deepali Ghorpade, a young woman from Satara, said she would not mind marrying a farmer living in a taluka.

Instead of marrying a boy struggling in the city for survival, why not a boy who has a constant source of income in villages, goes the logic.

Reverse migration

Anil Ghanwat, President of Shetkari Sanghatana, the farmers’ body in the State, said girls being willing to marry farmers might be a temporary trend. “But this trend is likely to strengthen after one year, when the urban economy will start facing a severe crisis. Hundreds of youth who had migrated to cities doing sundry jobs are back at villages and fields. The government must ensure that it pumps money in rural areas to improve farming conditions and keep the youth here,” he added.

Vishwas Chavan had migrated from a village in Kolhapur district to Pune to work as a driver in a private firm just in order to get married. “Girls rejected me because I was a farmer. My parents asked me to shift to Pune to work as a driver as village girls are willing to accept a proposal from boys working in the city. But now, I don’t feel I need to work as a driver. I can go back to my village, do farming and still get married,” said Chavan.

Published on April 21, 2020

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