Friday, January 27, 2012

Female infanticide - what's a float got to do with it?

Yesterday, we celebrated our 63rd day of power to the people or, as we call it, the Republic day. As is the custom, the celebration had, among other things, glimpses of our art and culture, shown through a number of floats. And this year, among dozen+ floats that rolled on the Rajpath - the road that is the main venue of the Republic day parade in New Delhi - was one from the eastern state of Bihar that highlighted a local village tradition in which, when a girl child is born, the family celebrates the birth by planting fruit-bearing trees. There is a deep meaning: the birth of a girl, a life giver , is celebrated by creating a chain of 10 other life-givers (trees that can bear fruits or seeds).
The missing float of Bihar that highlighted a village tradition where birth of a girl child is celebrated by planting 10 trees.

This is a wonderful tradition and to speak of it on an event that's attended and watched by millions of citizens, is a great way to spread the message of rights of a girl child. And, considering we have a dwindling sex ratio (An estimated 1 million female fetuses are selectively eliminated in India each year, and that number is expected to rise to 2.5 million within the next few years), this float about a tradition that welcomes and celebrates girl children is the one with the most important message of the day- one that India really needs to be aware of.

But guess what? Today, when the Press Information Bureau of India (PIB) reported the R-day celebration on its website, the Bihar tableau just didn't figure anywhere! 

The site has put up photos of most tableau except the most important one! When a friend of mine told me about it, I checked and tried to send a feedback to the site managers. Surprise! on the Press Information Bureau's website, the feedback button doesn't work!

To me, this kind of symbolizes the treatment that the issue of female foeticide or infanticide  meets with in India: there are plans, laws, schemes and events to stop it, but somewhere it all goes down just as a ritual with two important elements missing - passion and a sense of urgency.  Otherwise, how could the PIB officials miss to remember the most striking float, with the most urgent message of the day?

1 comment:

Mitu Khurana said...

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends. These words by Dr Martin Luther King should have special significance to all Indians. We by keeping quiet about the evils of gender selection in India give comfort to the enemies of our culture and heritage. Please read the following articles and sign the petition to remove the evil of female infanticide.