A tenth standard student in West Bengal -- subjected to multiple atrocities -- consumed poisoned and killed herself. The girl, who was yet to appear even for her class X board exams, was subjected to a series of marriage alliances though she was not of the legal age to marry. One would wonder, why. According to a report on Bengali daily Sangbad Pratidin, it was because the relatives of the teen were worried that it would be a struggle to find a match for the dark-skinned girl.
So the girl -- at an age when she should have been, at most, worrying about her grades -- was subjected a slew of alliances. Men, families in tow, came to 'see' Mamata Digar, a resident of Jarul village in West Bengal.
According to the paper, five men and their families refused to forge an alliance with Mamata, citing her dark skin as a reason behind their 'rejection'. It is not clear from the report if Mamata's wish was considered by anyone trying to marry her off. It also doesn't say if Mamata wanted to indeed marry any of these man. However, it is common knowledge that thousands of women in the country are not allowed to exercise their agency, especially in matters of marriage.
In their eagerness to find Mamata life partner, her family -- along with the men who 'rejected' her -- managed to completely demolish the girl's self-worth. Five families 'rejected' Mamata, one after another, saying she was 'too dark', her maternal uncle told reporters.
So last Sunday, Mamata left her home saying she is going for her tuition classes and didn't return. She was found unconscious along a highway. On being rushed to Burdwan Medical College, the doctors declared her dead.
Unfortunately, Mamata wouldn't be the only woman in the country to have taken her life, on being humiliated for being dark skinned. In 2014, a 32-year-old school teacher set herself on fire after relentless taunts from her own family about her dark complexion. Brototi Das, a teacher in a district school in West Bengal, wanted to marry into a family in Kolkata. However, her relatives kept reminding her that such an alliance would be impossible for her as she was dark skinned. A day before she died from 100 percent burns, Das told the police, "I had to put up with constant humiliation for my complexion. I was told all the time that nobody will marry me."
The same year, a woman in Gurgaon hung herself from the ceiling of her house following unrelenting taunts about her skin colour from her husband and in-laws. She had a 18-month old daughter with the man. Pooja's husband Virendra Prakash harassed her for dowry, implying he had done a dark-skinned girl like her a favour by marrying her. The woman's family had paid Rs 8 lakh to her in-laws already, but the harassment continued unabated.