Mosammat Lakiara was a student of Class VIII of Andharmuha village, Chirirbandar, Dinajpur, when she got married in 1996. While studying at Class VII, she fell in love with a HSC student â now her husband. Her husband later became a paddy trader. The father-in-law, the mother-in-law, a brother-in-law, and the married couple were the members of Lakiaraâs new family. At the time of her marriage, her husband was studying at the Degree College of Chirirbandar. Since her husband was just a student, her father-in-law was running the family and was the only earning member. Within a year of marriage, she gave birth to a boy â her first child. The happy family had everything they needed. At that time she never imagined her happy life could jeopardize with three years of her marriage â she would have to visit the hospital because of physical assaults from her lovable husband; for three times in a row.
Lakiaraâs husband had started to change after starting his own business. By that time, his studies were completed. Her in-lawâs got separated from this old house within three years of her marriage and started to live in a house nearby. Lakiara and her husband remained in the old house with their child and started their household independently. Things started to change since then. Sudden independence and cash inflow brought some âbad friendsâ to her husband. Her husband started to spend all his income for his so-called friends and paid little attention to the household. Whenever Lakiara tried to raise this issue, he scolded her and sometimes beat her. As his husband was spending all of his income for his friends, Lakiaraâs family faced financial problem. Five years went by. By then, Lakiara had her second child - a daughter. Lakiara decided that it needed to come to an end. Whenever she tried to put an objection, she received beating. She had to go to the hospital three times by then due to injury from these beatings. Her father and brothers tried o take her back. But she refused â âI told them I would not leave my household. I believed I could bring change in my husband. I knew he was not the real guilty oneâ.
At last, she achieved that. She went to a local NGO called Palli Sri with a Change Maker. While making regular visits to PalliSri, Lakiara also became one of the Change Makers. She brought the leaflets, booklets and books of WE CAN and started to read them. One day, she kept a book named âRatna-Sumoner Golpoâ on her husbandâs reading table. He had a look at that book and kept quiet for a few days. Then Lakiara started to talk about it. She made him understand that the children were disturbed about the âbeatingâ she received. In Lakiaraâs words â âI started to convince him. I was not pushing him much. He could start misbehaving by thatâ. The continued efforts from Lakiaraâs end successfully changed her husband. For the last 4-5 years she did not face any physical assaults. Her husband has also become a Change Maker. Lakiara is now pretty satisfied with this â âHe told my bhabi that he was wrong to beat me. As I am still living with him despite all the tortures, he finds him fortunate for this. He has never confessed to me, but he has changed. This is a great achivement for me. I am also trying to make him happier now.â Lakiara is yet very cautious â âHe does not beat me now. But that does not guarantee that he will not do it again. I always stay cautious.â
Lakiara is also trying to bring changes in othersâ lives. Together, Lakiara and Momeja have managed to create 40 Change Makers in their village and have stopped one early marriage so far.