Leaving behind the pitiable and deplorable thoughts of millions of people in India there are a couple of Indian villages that shun gender inequality and celebrate the birth of a baby girl.
Piplantri, Rajasthan – In a place like Rajasthan where boys are welcomed in families and girls face infanticide, Piplantri is way ahead of the stereotypical beliefs that several families foster in this region. Rebuffing cruel gender constrictions, the people of Piplantri plant 111 trees when a baby girl is born in their village. Their act fosters hope in India where we have long awaited to see our women being treated equally. Villagers raise a sum of 31,000 rupees through mutual contribution and set it as a fund for 20 years which is meant for the baby girl’s future. This gives her financial freedom so the parents don’t have to worry about her marriage. Parents sign legal papers which binds them from having their daughter married before the age of 18. The parents of the girl also need to take care of the 111 trees planted after their daughter and have her properly educated. This is a beautiful tradition which gives hopes to their daughters while also taking care of the environmental needs of their surroundings.
Dharhara, Bihar – Located in the Bhagalpur district of Bihar the villagers of Dharhara plant 10 trees when a girl is born in their family. The villagers of Dharhara have inspired several other villages of Bihar. The ‘Pahli Kilkari Yojna’ developed under the government of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is a boon to the families of girl children. Under the scheme 10 fruit bearing trees are planted and when the girl is of a marriageable age the wood from the tree is used for her marriage. With a population of just about 7,000 or 8,000 there are over 1,00,000 litchi and mango trees. There is a mini fruit forest that exists in Dharhara. The fruits from these trees are sold by the respective families which provide them with a fixed income.
What Piplantri and Dharhara are doing is something that each rural village in India needs to do. A tiny change in our thought can bring about immense happiness to so many.