Sanju and Ashalata after signing the marriage consent papers. Telegraph picture
Cooch Behar, Aug. 17: Mamata Banerjee has announced a dharna to get back land. Ashalata Sarkar sat on one to get back her love.
She got what she wanted — the groom-to-be, that is — without having to pay the Rs 50,000 dowry that the boys family had demanded. The 20-year-old from Jamaldaha in Cooch Behar and Sanju Mondol, 22, today signed papers consenting to get married.
Villagers gathered to clap for Ashalata, who had been sitting outside neighbour Sanjus home since Wednesday when the boy had bolted.
It took a block development officers intervention to get Sanju to relent.
Ashalata fell in love with Sanju about two years ago.
Her parents approached Sanjus family recently but were told that they would have to give Rs 50,000 in cash.
But father Nanigopal, a poor farmer, did not have the money. We will get a better match for you, he told Ashalata.
She, however, would hear none of it.
On Wednesday afternoon, Ashalata posted herself in front of Sanjus house. She sat there without food and water for three days.
Nanigopal said: My daughter refused to pay dowry or let the wedding fall through. She went and sat in front of their (Sanjus) house and refused to budge, no matter how much we pleaded with her.
Scared about what may follow, Sanju ran way from home.
But Ashalatas persistence paid off this morning when Sanju returned.
Today, after signing the papers, he said: I made a mistake. It is not proper to get married after demanding dowry.
Among those present to watch the couple sign the papers were the block development officer of Mekhliganj, Subhasis Ghosh, the panchayat pradhan of Jamaldaha, Gopal Roy, and villagers, who cheered the two.
A months notice is required to get a marriage registered. Before that, couples need to sign papers giving their consent.
Ghosh said he found out about Ashalatas dharna from panchayat pradhan Roy.
Yesterday, the panchayat pradhan told me about a young woman who was sitting on dharna in front of her lovers house as her marriage had fallen through because of a dowry demand. He told me even members of her family were unable to make her budge from her stand, Ghosh said.
After the pradhan told me about Ashalata, I told him to warn the boys father that what he was doing was against the law and that the woman was right. I think after that the family dropped the dowry demand, Ghosh said.
Sanjus father Kalipada Roy seemed to have got the message. He said he was ready to forget whatever had happened and move on.
Let bygones be bygones. Allow us to forget what happened in the past. We are preparing for a big wedding ceremony that will take place soon, Kalipada said.
I am happy that I can get married without my father having to beg and borrow to pay dowry, Ashalata said.
I am happy that Sanjus family understood.
The youth said his father had demanded the dowry probably as he was jobless.
I will look after Ashalata and look for a job, we will share our good times and bad times and live happily, said the youth, who has studied till Class XII.