Marriage, a universal concept, manifests diverse traditions and practices across cultures. In the Mandi community in Bangladesh, a practice has garnered attention, where men marry their daughters, raising questions about cultural preservation versus harmful traditions.
The Mandi tribe, residing in remote regions of Bangladesh, has developed a distinct cultural identity characterized by language, customs, and social structures. Notably, a prevalent practice within this community involves fathers marrying their daughters once they reach a certain age.
Reports indicate that when a woman becomes widowed, another man from the community steps forward to marry her, treating her children as his own. However, if the widowed woman has a daughter, the man marries her as well when she comes of age. The girl, initially calling the man her stepfather, eventually refers to him as her husband. Only then do other men in the community consider marrying the widowed woman.
Crucially, this tradition typically does not involve a biological father marrying his biological daughter; instead, it often centers around a stepfather marrying his stepdaughter. Community members justify this practice by emphasizing that the man provides facilities not only to the widow but also to her daughter.
Orola, a girl from the Mandi community, shared her perspective on this tradition. Following her real father’s death, her mother married another man. Initially calling him her father, Orola was compelled to marry him as she grew older, shedding light on the complexities and controversies surrounding this unique marital custom.