Marrying boys and girls at an early age, when their physical and mental faculties are yet immature, is bad. It is an injurious custom both for the individuals concerned, and for the nation. The number of child widows in Pakistan is appallingly large, and in no other civilized country in the world is a sight to ghastly as this to be seen. Young men and young girls, who are not in a position to understand the duty of matrimony, and who are thrown together like toys by foolish parents cannot live long; at least they can never attain to the full development of their powers. Their growth is checked, their health disappears, and instead of the bloom of youth. you see paleness on their faces. Sunken eyes, stooping gait, a listless manner, and stunted size are indications of the evil effects of early marriage.
A few hours’ false festivities in which the parents have foolishly indulged, and the silly pleasure which they feel at having seen their young children married before their eyes have been the ruin of precious lives. Nothing can afterwards compensate the injury thus caused. The effects are not physical only, but the pair becomes mentally weak, also. There are numerous cases of young men who, fell a prey to diseases like consumption, and died a premature death. Hundreds of young men bid adieu to their studies at an early stage, soon after they are married. A young mind cannot bear heavy strains. There is the strain of books, and to this are added anxieties and responsibilities of a husband and a father.
The loss caused to the nation is immense. The children of such parents cannot be healthy and strong. They cannot live long. In the first place, they cannot have any children at all, and if they have any, the children will not live at all, and if they live at all, they will not live long, and will remain puny and weak as long as they live. A nation of such weaklings cannot live long.
The evil custom is found chiefly among the villagers, and that is why they are physically so weak, and are slowly losing the ground which they had won in the past.
Whatever the origin, nothing can justify its continuance at the present time, and the sooner it is done away with, the better. Social reformers and the educated people are trying to remove this pernicious custom, and it is very gratifying to know that for the last few years, early marriages have been systematically discouraged. Some schools do not admit married boys. This is right. In fact, no student should be allowed to appear at any University examination, if he is married. This would put a check to this practice.