To belong or not to belong? Some people define themselves through commonalities. There are some who define themselves through difference and then seek to find others who share that difference. They find commonality in a shared difference. Commonality is what makes for a community. To keep that commonality becomes an unwritten rule. What lets you in? What keeps you out? Every community tries to keep its members together. There are expectations, rules, impositions and, for the dissidents, punishments. Ironically, even communities of people who do not conform to mainstream norms of sexuality or gender have their own norms.
In our mid-month issue, Stuti Tripathi considers whether raising the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21years is indeed a one-stop solution to check early marriages. She brings to our attention the many factors, such as family pressure, inaccessible educational and financial resources, traditionally defined roles of women, and gender-based marginalisation that together lead to early marriages and argues that young people need rights not protection.