Single Women Not Allowed Cell Phones in Indian Village

Kim Conte

iphoneAccording to a northern village in India, there's nothing quite as dangerous to society as a single woman on a cell phone.

The Baliyan council in Uttar Pradesh state is barring unmarried women from using cell phones after 23 couples ran away to be married in inter-caste marriages last year against their parents' wishes.

Convinced that cell phones are the key culprit behind this rash of scandalous elopements -- if you're having trouble following, it's because the couples allegedly used the phones to plan their matrimonial getaways -- the village council has decided to eliminate the hazardous technology from the equation altogether ... that is, unless men want to use it.

Parents have been told to prohibit all unmarried daughters from using cell phones; unmarried sons, however, are allowed to use them as long as they are monitored.

Of course, no mention was made to the real issue at stake in this situation: young people trying to break free of a rigid caste system. Instead, the council blamed modern technology -- specifically modern technology in the hands of women -- as bringing about the ruination of its archaic societal restrictions.

For the life of me, I not only can't figure out the connection between cell phone use and elopement (even without phones, wouldn't the couples find another way to get their message through?); but I'm also struggling to understand why a woman on a cell phone is so much more perilous than a man on the very same phone?

Regardless, the key takeaway in the (my word: patriarchal) village council's line of thought seems to be as follows: Cell phones+single women=marriage. Which leads to an obvious question: If I talk on my cell phone too much, will that mean marriage is right around the corner for me?


Image via Yutaka Tsutano/Flickr

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