|By Sanjay Pandey|
Dharhara : The tradition of planting saplings to celebrate the birth of a girl child struck deep roots in Dharhara centuries ago. But the eco-feminism model has started transcending the borders of the Bhagalpur village only recently.
The noble practice that serves a twin purpose – that of environmental conservation as well as stopping female foeticide – is being replicated across Bihar with much fan-fare, thanks to former Chief Minister Nitish Kumar whose close association and endorsement of the healthy tradition has helped spread the word far and wide.
According to the former village head Vijay Singh, the JD (U) leader has been visiting their village for the past three years on World Environment Day. However, Nitish who stepped down as the CM last month following a dismal show of his party in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections, could not make it to Dharhara this year on June 5.
“Following the Dharhara model seems to have become a matter of pride for people in our neighbouring as well as faraway villages. Most villages that are related to us have started planting fruit-bearing trees to celebrate the birth of a girl child,”
Take the case of neighbouring Kathihar district’s Chandwa.
“We have known about the rich tradition of Dharhara for decades, but, unfortunately, it never occurred to us that we could implement this healthy practice too in our own village. We started celebrating the birth of a girl child by planting saplings only four years ago,”
said Chandan Singh, who is married to a Dharhara girl.
Around 66km away from Dharhara, a similar revolution is quietly unfolding at Rahmatpur village of Munger district. The villagers have planted 3,000 saplings so far.
Amit Singh planted 11 mango trees when he was blessed with a baby girl around two-years ago. He planted 10 more recently to celebrate her birthday.
“These fruit-bearing trees will grow up along with my daughter and secure her future. Like a guardian, they will take care of all her needs – from educational to marriage expenses. They are an insurance for a secured future,”
The Dharhara model, also known as the eco-feminism model by experts, has not only helped in balancing the sex ratio in Bihar to a large extent but has also improved the socio-economic condition of the villages that have implemented the model.
According to latest census reports, Bihar’s sex- ratio is 916, way below the national average of 940.
Dharhara’s love for its daughters reflects in the records of the local police, establishing ‘zero crime’ against women.
The Bihar government has even incorporated a chapter on Dharhara glorifying its rich tradition in the Class V text book of the state board to inculcate gender sensitivity among children.
It is noteworthy that at a time when atrocities against women are rampant across the country, here is a village where, there has been absolutely no case of violence against the fairer sex.
“The cycle of life evolves and revolves around women. So if you revere your mother, you cannot possibly kill your daughter in the womb. We care for mother-nature like we care for our daughters and it returns the favour in more ways than one,”
said Vijay carrying his two-year-old daughter in his arms and watering one of the trees that was planted at the time of her birth.