A nervous bride on her wedding day
A bride and groom attend a mass wedding ceremony in New Delhi. [Representational Image]Reuters

Even as India has chosen the route to development by focusing on education, women empowerment and other such issues, "forced marriage" continues to haunt the country.

The result of the India Human Development Survey, conducted by experts from the University of Maryland, on "forced marriage" or "arranged marriage without consent" in the country is shocking.

"Forced marriage" is when a girl is forced, mostly by her family members, to marry someone even if she does not want to. The survey names the states with the highest rate of such marriages.

According to the survey, the highest percentage of "forced marriages" took place in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. Other states that followed closely are Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Jharkand.

According to the survey, conducted in 2008 with the respondents being married women in the age group of 25 to 49, 35% had no say in the arranged marriage, while 23% said they had some say in the decision. Around 37% women said their marriages were arranged jointly by their parents and themselves, while just 5% went for a self-arranged marriage.

The survey also revealed that most of the women met their partners for the first time on the day of the wedding.

Also, some other reports suggest that a large number of girls in the interior parts of India are forced to get married even before the age of 16 showing that child marriage is still prevalent.