In a rare incident, a bride in Bihar's Samastipur district refused to marry a dark complexioned groom, saying he was unsuitable for her, a police official said on Thursday.
Not expecting anything of this sort, the "baraat" (marriage party) was shocked to hear the girl's flat refusal to accept the boy as her groom.
The incident was reported from Sinhma village under the Rosera police station's jurisdiction in Samastipur district, about 100 km from Patna.
"The bride refused to marry the dark complexioned groom immediately after the ritual of 'Jaimal' (exchange of garlands between bride and groom) was performed on Wednesday," a local police official said.
Kumkum Kumari, in her early 20s, surprised all when she refused to marry groom Indal Kumar on the ground of his dark complexion.
After the incident, the groom had to return empty-handed along with the marriage party.
It is not first such case in rural Bihar where the social scales are tilted heavily against women. Over half a dozen cases of brides refusing to marry "unsuitable" grooms, who were illiterate, deaf or unemployed, have been reported over the past week.
"Times seem to have changed for women as several schemes have been launched for their empowerment by the state and central governments," said an elderly villager, who was to attend the marriage ceremony.
There are several such cases across the state that go unreported. In rural Bihar, hundreds of weddings take place in the traditionally auspicious marriage season known as "Lagan", which is in progress now.
Till a few years ago, in rural Bihar, it was rare for a woman to refuse a groom selected for her by her parents and family. In fact, the reverse was the rule, as the groom or his parents would often walk out of the wedding venue on grounds like inadequate dowry or the bride's education or her complexion.
These days, women going for marriage on their own terms is not a rarity even in rural parts of the state.