|Kriti Chopra Darpan Magazine
|Children Rights Activist
|Obtaining the first annulment of a child marriage in India in 2012 in a case of a Rajashthani boy and a girl who were married at the age of 3 and 1, respectively.
|Physical Stats & More
|Date of Birth
|19 August 1987 (Wednesday)
|Age (as of 2021)
|Jai Narain Vyas University in Jodhpur
|She earned a Doctorate in Psychology at the Jai Narain Vyas University in Jodhpur. Gulf News
|Relationships & More
|Father- Name Not Known
Mother- Indu Chopra
|She is the single child of her parents.
Some Lesser Known Facts About Kriti Bharti
- Kriti Bharti is an Indian Child Activist. She is also a rehabilitation psychologist. In 2012, she helped to obtain the first child marriage annulment, while fighting in the court, to a child groom and bride from Rajasthan who got married at the age of 3 and 1, respectively. The court declared their marriage null and void after the verdict.
- Kriti Bharti was born in Rajasthan. She was in her mother’s womb when her father left her mother. Society and the relatives’ advised Kriti’s mother to abort the child and wed again as it was not considered good to deliver a baby whose father had left her mother. However, Kriti’s mother denied all pieces of advice and gave birth to Kriti and raised her alone.
- Kriti was born in seven months as her mother suffered pregnancy complications. Kriti was abused physically and mentally by her relatives and family members when she was growing up as they considered her a curse. At the age of ten, she was slowly given poison by her relatives, but she managed to survive. However, this slow poison paralysed her. Soon, she was given various therapies like reiki healing that led to her recovery after two years of treatment.
- A non-profit organisation named Saarthi Trust was founded by Kriti Bharti in 2011 that keeps an eye on child marriages, and it attempts to stop these marriages on the spot. This organisation helps the children to get away from the forced child marriages and works for their welfare afterwards. Since 2011, approximately 41 child marriages were terminated by Bharti in court and 1400 child marriages were cancelled on the spot from happening.
- While interacting with Gulf News, Kriti Bharti explained her studies,
With regular 15 to 16 hours study, I cleared my class X exams, followed by class XII and then did my graduation, post graduation and doctorate in psychology from Jai Narayan Vyas University in Jodhpur.”
- Kriti Bharti started counselling patients as a psychiatrist soon after completing her PhD in psychology. She also started attending several NGOs. Her first patient was a nine-year-old girl who was a rape victim. Bharti in a conversation with Icy Tales media house recalled that moment,
I felt it was pointless to provide momentary relief by counseling her for two hours. I wanted to provide permanent freedom and change her life. This incident took me to the justice system. So, from counseling, I made it to the justice system. Thus, I emphasize these two things: justice and rehabilitation.“
- Kriti Bharti met and interacted with several victims of child labour, marriage and poverty while her working with the NGOs. After half a year while working with these non-profit organisations, she noticed that the main issue that these children becoming homeless was their marriage in childhood. She also observed that the traditions and customs of child marriages were only prevalent in rural Indian villages. These were still happening when child marriage is a crime and illegal in the Indian judiciary system.
- During her tenure at the NGOs, she analysed that the epicentre of these child marriages was Rajasthan and that was her hometown. She also went through a report of UNICEF that was published in 2009, and it stated that 40 per cent of the child marriages are done in India, and 56 per cent of the girls in India got married before the age of 18.
- In 2011, she started her own venture and a non-profit organisation named Saarthi Trust. She stated in a conversation with a media house the reason behind the establishment of her own NGO. She said that these NGOs were only focussing on spreading awareness about the harmful effects of child marriages and were not helping the children on the grass root levels. She expressed,
I wanted to work at the grassroots level and help the victims come out of the condition, help them see a new life, and mark a new beginning. That’s when I founded Saarthi Trust.”
She stated that her approach was very simple while tackling the child marriage situation,
To narrow it down, we prevent, annul, rehabilitate, and spread awareness. “Dushman ko maarna hai tho, chaaron tharaf se gherna hota hai.”
- Saarthi Trust works on the following core areas:
- To prevent child marriages on the stop from happening
- Appealing for the annulation of child marriages if they have already happened
- As the victims of child marriages are not accepted by their families then this trust rehabilitate the victims after marriage annulation
- Organising Orientation Camps to explain the detrimental effects of child marriage to the family members
- Conducting oath-taking ceremonies with the family members of the small children to pledge that they would not perform child marriages of their children in the future
- Newspapers, social media and radio to be used as the basic approach to reach each and every villager to spread awareness
- Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Bihar are the key states where Kriti Bharti and her organisation raid child marriages. In a conversation with a media house, Bharti explained the consequences of her raids and campaigns,
Young girls have begun to raise voices against this unlawful practice in these states. Earlier, girls were not aware of the way to come out of the grave situation, but now they themselves have understood the exploitation.”
- Laxmi Sargara was helped by Kriti Bharti in 2012 in nullifying Laxmi’s child marriage. This incident motivated Bharti to continuously meet and advise the local villagers of Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Bihar on the adverse effects of child marriage.
- A helpline is also started by the Saarthi trust soon after its incorporation under the leadership of Bharti. This was established for those children who want to escape their child marriage and want to report their case over the phone. Kriti Bharti personally reaches those homes that are going to perform child marriages, and she also tries to convince the family members of the children to prevent child marriage. If the family members do not stop after being advised then Bharti knocks on the door of the court to halt the marriage.
- Several threats of rape and death were received by Kriti Bharti by the Hindu leaders during her protest against child marriages. LA Times In a conversation with media house Los Angeles Times, she explained,
Caste elders have threatened to chop off my nose, gang-rape and worse. Child marriage is like a disease: It’s important to prevent it, but when so many are infected, you have to find a way to cure them.”
- Prevention of child marriage is a chapter added by the Central Board of School Education (CBSE) in their school curriculum in social studies subject. In April 2020, Kriti Bharti prevented three child marriages during the Akha Teej festival season and as a result, booked herself for the Limca Book of Records. While expressing her views with Icy Tales, a media house, she narrated her future visions,
Another thing is to start a rehabilitation center for orphans and specially-abled children. All these need monetary support and we have almost zero supporters. We have girls who are in 10th grade, pursuing Medical, engineering, and B.Ed. They have different expenses but zero sponsors. Well, I’m a psychologist, I earn by conducting sessions and use that money to provide the resources.”
- Whenever she won the cases for the rights and annulation of child marriages in courts, several newspapers bragged Kriti Bharti’s victory on their cover pages.
- Kriti Bharti changed her surname from Chopra to “Bharti” (Daughter of India) after getting recovered from paralysis in her teens. She wanted to keep herself away from the caste system and religion of India. In conversation with a media house named Icy Tales, she stated,
I do not want to be labeled on the basis of my caste. I am Bharath ki Beti.”
- Kriti Bharti is a public motivator and speaker. On various national and international platforms, she is often invited to deliver her speeches on the prevention of child marriages and women empowerment in India.
- Various national and international awards including the Change Maker Award by Girls’ Night Bright, Marwar Ratna, International Award in London, Global Award, Yugantar award, Mewar Ratna were earned by Kriti Bharti for her selfless deeds to protect the future of the young generation.
- A chocolate manufacturing brand named Hershey launched a bar of chocolate in honour of Kriti Bharti in 2021.
- As per Kriti Bharti, child marriages in India are still in trend because of Jati Panchayats in villages. She further said that the Sarpanch was the head of these Khap panchayats without any age and educational qualification. She narrated her views in an interview with Icy Tales,
There’s something called Jati Panchayat in Rajasthan or as they say Khap Panchayats in Haryana. They are not legal bodies. Sarpanch is the eldest one of the community, there is no minimum qualification to be the head. Their age is the qualification.”
Kriti Bharti further revealed that if anyone denied child marriage in these villages then these Khap Panchayats ordered them to boycott the village with a fine of at least Rs. 10-20 lakhs. She said,
This body punishes people who disagree with child marriages and tell them they’re going against the age-old tradition and society. They penalize the families with enormous amounts of up to 10-20 Lakhs without taking into account the family’s income state. Along with this, they distance them entirely from society.”