Sirohi district in southern Rajasthan is one place in the country where birth of a girl child is a celebration. Parents plant a tree at the birth of their girl child. Both parents and their daughters find themselves attached to this one tree that grows along with their daughters.
Sunita Sharma, secretary of the NGO, Society for All Round Development (SARD) took up the challenge of sensitizing locals on understanding the value of a girl child. Her objective was to balance the ratio between the two genders. According to the 2011 census, was 830 -one of the lowest in the country.
“We started sensitizing people of the area about the significance of the girl child in 2005. In 2010, the villagers, along with public representatives, decided to plant saplings whenever a girl child was born. Since then, all 38 gram panchayats in the region have followed the example, and villages like Sanwara, Nagani, Selwada and Lunol have taken it up in a big way.” She told TOI.
5 years ago, there were no trees around the Banoshwari Mata and Gogaji temple but now the temples are covered in a green. “By planting saplings when a girl child is born, we show we are welcoming of girls, and we create green cover at t h e s a m e t i m e, “ s ay s Bhabharam, a resident of Sanwada.
Trees are considered holy and that is why the villagers in the Sirohi district took to planting trees on the birth of a girl child. Girls thrive in the district. The cases of sex determination too have decreased.
“Chhori toh hayee howe hai (girls are better),” ventures Lalita, another anganwadi worker from Nagani village, where people have started planting saplings, not just in homes and temples, but in schools too. “Most plant ashoka trees, because they are auspicious,”she adds.
Pratapgarh district does an opposite as compared to Sirohi district. Residents of the villages in the area mark the death of a family member by planting a sapling.
The daughter-inlaw of Sanwada’s deputy sarpanch and zilla parishad member, Urmila Vaishnav, says, “Trees give us life, and girls infuse the family with life. So in our meetings, we discuss how to grow both, girls and trees.”
News Source: The Times of India