Sources say that about 20,000 women have been deserted by men in the UK, US and Canada who promise to return to India and never do. The question is , why are Punjabi women still falling for this obvious scam?
Though abandoned wives have the option of divorcing their missing husbands, many of them do not remarry. Divorce is still stigmatized in Punjab, and women are forced to rely on their families for financial help. A BBC article and an Asian Network documentary attempt to explain the obsession with emigration and economics. Development in Punjabi is at a halt and the prospect of a life in the UK, Canada or the US is tempting at the least. This desire for opportunities in the West often forces these young women and their families to ignore the red flags.
Politician Balwant Ramoowalia, of the Lok Bhalai party in Punjab, believes both India and Britain should clamp down. He suggests that if there is any misconduct or fraud, the men should be extradited to India. As a measure of preventing this type of abandonment, he states that a photograph of the married couple should be pasted inside their passport so that marital status cannot be tampered with. In addition, 75% of any land owned by the man in India should be transferred to the wife. Activist and Lawyer, Daljit Kaur, suggests that we should “name and shame” runaway grooms publicly. There has to be a way for prospective brides and their families to search for these men and confirm whether or not they have been previously married.
However, according to one matrimonial “expert”, British men are the ones being taken advantage of. Apparently, Punjabi women are only after their passport.