Cultural relativism Vs Moral Relativism: Child,Bride, Mother.

Nepal has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world — 41 percent of girls and 11 percent of boys marry before age 18. Most of them get married that because some aspects of their cultural practices require them to do so, poverty and low level of education and also because of natural catastrophes like earthquakes.

Durga was 16 years old when he married Niruta, 14 years. He did so because his mother died and the family needed help with field and house work. In 8 years before Durga dies of cancer, they had 3 children (8 years old, 5 and 1 year old). The poor widow is left without any means of survival hence, starts regretting the idea of quitting school for marriage. She is determined to offer a better future to her children, though she does not know exactly how to do that. She wants them to go to school and get educated so that they do not fall in the same mistake as hers and their deceased father.

More for Durga and Niruta’s story

Cases like this can be overlooked and I think in describing them people need to be careful. How can we anthropologically judge early marriages? Durga’s father thought that he was probably doing some good to the family by honoring a tradition and bringing another ‘helper’, but it turned that the future of his son became uncertain just because of that decision. Would it be morally incorrect to say that this tradition is wrong?


One thought on “Cultural relativism Vs Moral Relativism: Child,Bride, Mother.”

  1. I have always found child marriage in other countries very interesting, among other things. When I first learned about it, I was extremely sad and couldn’t believe that it’s actually a tradition in different cultures. But then after reading more about it and talking to other people about it, I came to the same conclusion that you did: would it be incorrect to say that this is wrong? I definitely don’t think it’s right but it may be more right for families like that of Durga and Niruta, then it would be for the average American. The people of Nepal have different struggles then we do in the states and they deal with them in ways that they see fit. For instance Durga’s father thinking he was bring home “another helper” to help the family. I feel like it’s an American thing to criticize the way other cultures practice certain traditions and rituals because it’s not the way we do it. Not to say that some things like there’s no such thing as rape by your husband in Saudi Arabia isn’t wrong, but not everything we (Americans) do is right. All in all, I think child marriage is a really interesting topic to discuss and I would like to hear the opinions from people in other countries, that don’t practice it, to see what they think about it. Perhaps in other countries, children having a playful, carefree childhood is a privilege and in America we view it as a right.


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