24th Jan is marked as National Girl Child Day.
This is to all the girl children of my country....
Goldilocks, Little Riding hood, Cinderella, Pink frocks, frills and laces, Barbies and doll houses a wonderland of girls where only dreamers like Alice can wander into ! A fairy world where girl citizens of ‘India shining’ are also natives!
But no, there is no entry for the girl citizens of ‘Bharat’ because they are busy caring for their younger siblings, carrying bricks, mopping floors or slogging to repay the loans taken by their parents.
It is neither the wolf nor the 12PM tick tock that scares them, it is not even the witch on a broomstick but a father, a brother, a mother, a landlord, a landlady or may be a man on the street who can kill them !
Government’s programmes , policies and awareness campaigns by NGOs have certainly made many little girls take birth, go to school and enjoy the right to live.
However the right to survival and the right to equality is something that can be guaranteed only by the society, not just a constitutional provision. While feudal mindsets look at a girl child as an insignificant entity, social evils like dowry make the girl child a burden to her own parents.
In a country where girl child is worshipped as Goddess Durga during navratris, where girl child is promised protection during Rakhi or Bhai dooj, where girl child is treated as ‘Lakshmi’ of the house, ironically we also take away the right to live, from a girl child.
The so called large states which are sadly known as BIMARU states of India have a record of ill treating their girl child while the small states in the north east call themselves as ‘seven sisters’ and certainly respect their girls as important members of the society.
Largeness should be in our actions and thoughts, not just in size.
We cannot allow bharat mata’s betis to be buried by the stigma of an ancient society. 21st Century India needs girls who can weave the social fabric of the society.
Banners and campaigns to save the girl child may help, but it is the education that empowers.
An educated girl can employ herself , an empowered girl can say no to dowry, an independent girl can make happy family and happy families make content people and content people make progressive societies.