Women must have autonomy in marriage: ex-Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi

He was speaking at the valedictory function of the platinum jubilee celebrations of Ethiraj College for Women

Updated - March 21, 2024 11:40 pm IST

Published - March 21, 2024 09:03 pm IST - CHENNAI

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi inaugurating the administrative block at Ethiraj College for Women on Thursday. Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan is also seen.

Former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi inaugurating the administrative block at Ethiraj College for Women on Thursday. Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan is also seen. | Photo Credit: M. SRINATH

Women should have the autonomy to exercise their right in marriage, said Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former Governor of West Bengal. He talked about age of consent, dowry prohibition, and domestic violence while speaking at the valedictory function of the 75th anniversary celebrations of Ethiraj College for Women on Thursday.

Mr. Gandhi urged all students, girls especially, to read the Sarda Act or the Age of Consent Act and the Prohibition of Dowry Act. “I want autonomy to mean the right of a daughter in the family to tell the prospective in-laws [that there would be no marriage] if the dowry suggestion is not withdrawn,” he said.

The vigorous advertisements for gold put “pressure that is crushing” on middle class and lower middleclass homes, Mr. Gandhi said, adding that, “I would like all the girls studying in this college and elsewhere to say, ‘gold is beautiful except when it becomes a pressure’.”

He urged the college to “play a role in retrieving the institution of marriage from the great agony of domestic violence”.

Minister for Information Technology and Digital Services Palanivel Thiaga Rajan congratulated the college’s board for earmarking funds for scholarships, and said the college had followed the lead of universities in the U.S., which admit students based on merit and fund their education. “Elite institutions don’t have to be exclusive. People without the economic means can get access to high or elite quality education,” he added.

College chairman V.M. Muralidharan announced that the institution had established a scholarship fund of ₹7.5 crore. The money would be dedicated “to supporting the academic and sporting aspirations of deserving students.” He said the fund aimed to reaffirm the board’s commitment to ensuring that financial constraints never stand in the way of education and opportunity.

On the occasion, a five-storey building to house the administrative offices and smart classrooms on the college premises was commissioned. The infrastructure includes a centre for research, innovation and creativity, a 200-seat auditorium, an indoor stadium, and a sports hostel with the capacity to accommodate 50 students.  

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