Children face humiliation at schools if their mother has gone to another man under an ancient practice called Nata Pratha, and most of them do not have friends to share their feelings with, a study by an NGO in south Rajasthan, has found.
The study – which was released at a state-level consultation on “ensuring protecting rights of tribal children in Rajasthan” – said 13% of children face humiliation at schools because of Nata in their family, 6% of them face verbal and physical abuse.
Twenty-two percentage of children reported that they see violence in families in daily life after Nata relation, the study found.
Pragati Shukla of Vaagdhara, while presenting findings of the study, said two kinds of Nata persist in the tribal society. The first is when the husband dies and woman move with some other man either on her own will or with the consent of the society, and the second is when a woman moves with other man even though her husband is alive.
In both the cases, women leave their children behind as their new husband is not willing to accept children from her first husband.
“This causes multiple vulnerabilities to children who are forced to live with their grandparents or other relatives,” she said.
Reasons for Nata are early death of spouse, domestic violence against women, when a man brings other women into the house even when he is already married or forces the woman to leave the husband as he want some other woman in his life. This apart, divorce, low economic condition of the husband or when he is not able to satisfy or fulfill the needs of his wife and modernization of society and prevalence of mobile and television are among the other reasons for Nata, the study conducted on 84 men, 91 women and 79 children, found.
Director of social justice and empowerment department Ravi Jain, said that Palanhaar Yojana, a scheme to provide Rs 1,000 every month to a guardian of children whose mother goes to another man, proved useful in providing financial support to the affected children.
The government needs to work on other aspects too – such as emotional and skill development – for holistic development of children, he said.
Rajasthan state commissioner for protection of child rights chairperson Manan Chaturvidi shared her experiences with such children at the consultation and promised to forward recommendations of the study to the government for policy interventions.