According to the Panoor police in Kerala’s Kannur district, 50% of the men of thirties in their limit are unmarried. Noting it as a ‘crisis’ in their area, the police have decided to do something about this. “There are 19,000 households in Panoor police limit. We will go to each house and conduct a survey to understand why men in their thirties are unable to find a woman and get married,” says Panoor Circle Inspector VV Benny.
Illiteracy among men, the lack of drive to find a well-paying job and the political instability in the area are some of the reasons, the police say, why families don’t want to get their daughters married off to the men here. “Teen boys here are not sent for further education, while parents educate their girls and make them well qualified. This has been an unspoken culture in Panoor for years,” says Benny.
As a result, after completing class 12, boys turn to daily wage jobs such as construction work and driving taxis. “Only when they reach the age of marriage does the education and job status turn into a concern and they hit a snag. Since women are well-qualified these days, they prefer equally qualified men,” he says.
Benny also points out that for many years, people in Panoor did not consider government and permanent jobs. As a result, only a handful of men, like teachers, have permanent jobs in this area.
As part of this survey, the Panoor police will take help from the National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers. These volunteers will focus on some important aspects of the men in each household: Their age, education qualification, present job, marital status, if unmarried, what is the reason and what were the issues they encountered when they went to meet the woman for marriage.
In July 2018, the Panoor police station in had started an initiative called Insight, free coaching for competitive examinations as well as training for military and paramilitary recruitment for the youth.
The new initiative is a follow-up to Insight, says Benny. “It was during the course of this programme that we learned that a lot of youth in Panoor were unmarried. We want this initiative to serve as an awareness not just to the youngsters, but to the parents, too, who did not encourage their sons to study further,” he explains.
Six months since Insight was launched, Benny, the man behind both the initiatives, says that 500 men are registered with the programme. While these young men take keen interest in taking the training to join military forces, the coaching for government and public service examinations have been receiving lukewarm response from the youth.
“It takes four to five months to get the rank list and the appointment to join the paramilitary forces. On the other hand, it takes almost three years to apply, prepare and get the results of competitive examinations like PSU. And the young men here are not ready to wait,” says Benny, adding, “With the new initiative, we are not looking at starting matrimony; but hope to motivate the youngsters below 30 to educate themselves and get a job.”