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Marry after age 25 to cure child malnutrition, says Bihar CM Manjhi

Bihar CM for raising marriage age, says Nitish ‘undisputed leader’

Jiten Ram Manjhi Jiten Ram Manjhi

Bihar Chief Minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi on Monday suggested that the minimum age for marriage for both men and women should be increased to 25 to tackle the problem of child malnutrition.
He also reiterated that his predecessor Nitish Kumar is “his leader and the undisputed leader of the JD(U)”, but added that there had been “no slump in governance” in Bihar.

Speaking at a press conference after a janta durbar held to find solutions to the problem of child malnutrition, Manjhi cited his own example and said that he got married when he was 25, and is still fit at 71.

“In my opinion, the marriage age should be increased to 25 to deal with child malnutrition effectively,” said Manjhi, referring to the ancient Ashrama system, which prescribes getting married and raising a family after the age of 25 to stay healthy.

“I got married at 25 and stay fit at my present age. I don’t take much medicines,” said the Bihar CM.

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He added, “Population explosion and malnutrition were a result of violation of Ashrama system that had sound categorisation. One reason behind height of a person coming down from seven to five feet is because of early marriages.” Manjhi said that the Ashrama system, which advocated a phase of celibacy (brahmacharya) till one attained the age of 25, is scientific in nature. According to the system, the other phases are grihastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa.

Manjhi recently sparked a row with his suggestion that Dalits should go for inter-caste marriages to raise their numbers. The remarks had come as an embarrassment for the JD(U) as well as its alliance partners, the RJD and the Congress.

Asked to comment on reports of former CM Nitish Kumar being displeased with his performance, Manjhi said, “I have been following Nitish Kumar’s road map and have made certain amendments to it for efficacy. There is no slump in governance. Nitish Kumar is our undisputed leader. If the grand alliance chooses him as its leader, he can become the state CM after people give us the mandate in the 2015 Assembly elections.”

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He said the JD(U) leaders would sit on a dharna on October 20 to mount pressure on the Centre to give Bihar special status. “Whether I attend the dharna or not will be decided by the party,” said Manjhi.

First published on: 14-10-2014 at 12:55:10 am
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