Innovative Campaign : His Daughter, Her Father
Intro: Prime Minister with all fruitful steps in different walks of life is determined to give honour to the girl child by father, society and government. It is not difficult in Indian society. The flame of respect for girl is under ashes, somebody has to remove the thin line of ash from top of the flame and if it comes from Prime Minister of the country, the message goes loud and clear.
About seventy two years ago a girl child was born in a middle class family to a forty year old couple. The child was the last issue. Mother was very sad to deliver a girl child at the age of forty when her first daughter was married and son was ten year old. She did not want more children. She was satisfied with two children. She could not welcome happily the third girl child. But father of the girl child, the only educated person of the village, took the child positively.
Father treated her like a son and she used to have boy cut hair and wear half pant and a shirt. Between the age of 6 and 8 the only girl child of the village would go to town, and accompanied her father to different meetings also. The villagers were surprised to see the activities of the father. One day the father’s aunt whispered in his ears “why don’t you realise that your daughter is not good looking. You take her to different meetings and towns where everyone sees her. Nobody will agree to marry her to his son. The old father laughed loudly. Daughter was sitting by his side. He said, “My daughter is very beautiful.” His aunt got very angry. The girl was sent to a hostel when she was just 8 year old and every member of the family was sad with the father’s decision.
The daughter was none but the writer herself. That is why she very well understands the feelings of her father. Psychologists say the girl child is dearer to father and son is close to the mother. In India, women have a great legacy and history to be proud of. The legacy and personality of leading women from ancient and medieval times is cherished and followed. But due to some orthodox practices and conventions, girls are treated as burden to the parents, especially to the father. I am not going to search the causes or define the situations. But it is understood that girls are more lovable to their fathers.
For India, it is a matter of grave concern that day-by-day the number of girls is decreasing. Many steps have been taken during the last two decades by the government. Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat also worked on various metrics for protection and development of girl child. He studied mantras of the Vedas and Upanishads and understood it well that the Indian society cannot grow and prosper without the proper participation of women. The valour, courage and sacrifice of women should be honoured since the childhood. They command respect and security and should be provided special attention, education and reservation in different fields. Shri Narendra Modi as Chief Minister implemented various policies and schemes to practice his thought about girl child and women.
Two month ago, he launched an all India programme Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao from Haryana. Just two days ago while sharing his Mann ki Baat on All India Radio he asked all the fathers of daughters to get selfie with their daughter(s). Someones father told me that ten lakh such selfies have been loaded on the Prime Minister’s website within 24 hours. This has been very well appreciated and is a motivating factor for both father and daughter and has taken the shape of a movement. The real leader of India has visualised the mindset of the people.
At the time, when grooms of Haryana have found content in looking for brides beyond the State boundaries, Sunil Jaglan, Sarpanch of Bibipur Village of Jind District in Haryana has given the State a reason to cheer.
(July 12, 2015 Page : 34)
In Indian society, the girl child is sometime neglected for some social reasons but they have been always given protection and attention. She gains strength and maturity in childhood earlier than her brother, because she does house work from the tiny age with her mother. She takes care of everybody and specially her father. While listening to the PM on Radio I remembered my father. There is only one photograph of my father with me. 65 years before there was neither camera nor mobile in my village. We don’t have a selfie photograph. But, I always feel that my father is sitting next to me. I think all the daughters feel like me. There is a proverb in Bihar – “The head which cannot bend in front of anybody, can bow before the person who can bring happiness to her daughter.” This means the father is very much concern with the daughter and her future. That’s why father of the young girl, while talking to the boy’s father for his daughter’s marriage become very submissive. He always thinks of her good and happy future.
I always remember a scene when fathers from remote areas carried their daughters on the carriers of bicycles to school. Now, one can see the scenes where a father sitting on the carrier of the bicycle being driven by the daughter. Now, she has fulfilled her fathers’ dream. In society, fathers have begun taking care of their daughters by imparting education, security and health care.
Fifteen years ago, I left my house with my son, daughter-in-law and six years old grand-daughter. When I left my personal house for a Government accomodation in Delhi, my thirty five year old son told his daughter, “now who will look after me, my mother has gone in another house”. He pretended as he was weeping for me. The little girl spreaded her two small legs, consoled her father and said, “Come put your head on my legs, I will take care of you. Now, I will take the role of your mother”.
I can certainly confirm that my thirty five years old son could not understand me properly, but his six year old daughter understood his feelings. The girl child has special sense to feel and understand the needs of her father. Actually, she is not equal to brother, rather special by the virtue of nature. She has special qualities and the nature has bestowed her with love and affection to look after the male members of the family. As she is ‘special’, she needs special care from family and society and especially from father, who is the natural protector of his daughter.
Within 24 hours, ten lakh fathers sent selfie with their daughters. Prime Minister with all fruitful steps in different walks of life is determined to give honour to the girl child by father, society and government. It is not difficult in Indian society. The flame of respect for girl is under ashes, somebody has to remove the thin line of ash from top of the flame and if it comes from Prime Minister of the country, the message will go loud and clear. If daughters get respect and opportunities for all round-development, she will certainly rise above all inhibitions and barriers for their development.
Prime Minister has given a call to go for insurance policies as a gift to ‘sisters’ on Raksha Bandhan. The PM will not leave any opportunity to revive the special status enjoyed by daughters in the ancient society and also creating confidence in them. For girls, this much is needed.
Mridula Sinha (The writer is Governor of Goa)
(July 12, 2015 Page : 34)