Madurai

Marriages that overcome stigma

Marriage being conducted for 15 couples, whose family members or relatives had served in prison at some point, by Anaikkum Karangal Trust in Madurai on Saturday.

Marriage being conducted for 15 couples, whose family members or relatives had served in prison at some point, by Anaikkum Karangal Trust in Madurai on Saturday.

In a unique initiative being done by the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Anaikkum Karangal Trust for the past many years, the marriage of 15 couples, who faced social stigma due to one of their family members or relatives having served in prison, was solemnised at a function here on Saturday.

R. Priyadarshini and S. Vijaykumar, one of the couples, said that it would not have been possible for them to find a partner if not for the assistance from the NGO. “Apart from the stigmatisation, even the prospect of arranging a marriage with all the required expenses would have been impossible for me and my family,” said Ms. Priyadarshini.

The initiative was the brainchild of S.T. Noah, a retired Tamil Professor and the president of the NGO, whose short stint inside a prison for participating in a teachers’ protest in 1979 made him realise the problems faced by the prisoners and motivated him to work for their welfare.

“Importantly, I understood the stigmatisation and ostracisation faced not only by the prisoners when they come out of jail, but their children and families as well. It is difficult for the child of a prisoner to get an alliance for marriage,” he said.

Mr. Noah said that he wrote to the then Chief Minister M. G. Ramachandran to obtain special permission to visit prisons with the primary objective of imparting education to the prisoners.

He said that through his interactions with the prisoners, he began to assist in finding marriage alliances for their children and occasionally for the prisoners themselves in case of young prisoners.

In a span of more than 25 years, Mr. Noah said thousands of prisoners have obtained degrees and marriages were organised for hundreds of prisoners, their children and relatives. “I am 85-year-old now and I wish to continue this service till my death,” he says.


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Printable version | May 22, 2022 3:20:03 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/marriages-that-overcome-stigma/article25277236.ece