Mohni W/O Teja singh 15 yearsMohni W/O Teja singh 15 years Ajmer, India - Her fate looked sealed when her family began organizing the nuptial celebration. But the bride - to - be, a shy school girl form a remote village in western India, wasn't ready to say "I do".
In a region where patriarchy and age-old customs dictate a woman's life from birth to death 15 years old Mohni Rawat in March Joined a small but growing number of girls who are standing up against the widespread practice of child marriage in India.
"My family was in the midst of planning my wedding." Recalled Mohni, her black hair pinned in bun and a gold stud in her nose, as she sat on a step outside her home in Mashiniya village in Rajasthan State.
"My grandfather had decided that while he was alive he wanted to see that I get married and settled. I was scared to say anything against it at first" "I went to my mother and told her I wanted to study more and get a job, and only after that would I get married," added the girl, who is from a subsistence farming community that ekes out a living by grooving crops like wheat and maize.
But Mohni didn't stop there. She went to local official in the city of Ajmer-some one hour by bus - to seek advice and press home the point to her family that the legal age for marriage in Indian is 18.
Gender rights activists say Mohni proof that, through education and exposure to the modern world, girls are beginning to take decisions over their own lives and are helping to lift the curse of early marriage that has plagued India for centuries.