1. Gopal Kishan (right) and his wife Krishna were married in May 2010. On their wedding day, the newlywed bride was 11; her husband was 13. Photographer Danish Siddiqui documented the ceremony for Reuters.
2. The legal age for marriage in India is 18, but these laws are rarely enforced, especially in rural areas. UNICEF reports that 40% of the world’s child marriages occur in India.
3. The young couple live in a small village in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan. Siddiqui has visited them every year since their marriage to document the changes in their lives.
4. The now-teenage husband and wife have a 4-month-old son named Alok, which means enlightenment in Hindi.
5. Gopal plays with his child outside the family home.
6. Krishna nearly died in childbirth and had to be hospitalized for days following the delivery. Gopal describes his wife’s recovery as “nothing less than a miracle.”
7. The village community has welcomed the arrival of a baby and neighbors and nearby family members have helped the young couple since Alok’s birth.
8. Krishna, now 14 years old, hoped for a daughter during her pregnancy but told Siddiqui that she is very happy with her son.
9. She spends her days cooking, cleaning, and caring for baby Alok.
10. Her husband works in the soybean fields owned by his family, but irrigation problems have made the ground less fertile in the past few months and there is very little to be done.
11. Out of work, 16-year-old Gopal (right) has started drinking heavily. He told Siddiqui that for his family’s survival, he needs to leave the village and find work in the city.
12. Krishna breaks down after her husband returns home drunk. She fears Gopal will accidentally hurt his young son while intoxicated.
13. “As I left the small village,” Siddiqui wrote, “the only thing which bothered me was the future of four-month-old Alok. Would he go down the same route his parents took or would he bend societal norms to carve a separate path for himself.”
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