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ContentCELEBRATING GIRL CHILD
Sitting on a chair under a dim light, I started preparing for the speech that I have to deliver tomorrow in the assembly on march 8, International Woman’s Day .The word ‘woman’ reminded me of that trip to Rajasthan a few years back.
Rajasthan is famous for its architectural designs and traditional cultures that it holds .It was on December 1, 2016 that I started my journey. I got into the train in the night which would reach Rajasthan in five days. Although it was a long journey, the excitement of exploring a new city and its traditions restricted me from boredom.
The rays of the scotching sun woke me up from my nap and welcomed me to Rajasthan. Finally I reached there. It was 6th of December at 7.00 am, it seems. From the station I took an auto to go to the nearby bus stand for boarding the bus to Jaipur, inorder to reach my accommodation site. My stay was in the famous resort in Jaipur which was built in the Mughal era depicting the traditional architecture and paintings all around. After taking a small nap and freshening up, I ought to explore.
Jaipur is the capital city of Rajasthan, also known as the pink city for its trademark building colours. According to my plan, I had to visit the city palace complex situated at the centre of its stately street grid. As my craze for shopping increases day by day, I couldn’t resist myself seeing those amazing antiques, shawls with traditional Rajasthan paintings printed over it. The time was already 2.00pm in the evening so I rushed to have lunch and then visited Jantar mantar, an open air astronomical observatory which was built in the 18th century. I was very tired so went back to my room after that.
This was the starting of my 2nd day in Jaipur. I got up and dressed. I ordered some typical Rajasthani cuisine that included dal baati churma, missi roti, gatte ki sabzi and two sweet dishes-ghevar and mawa kachori. Those dishes were just mindblowing, I sware!! Walking through the streets there,I met a lady diving an auto rickshaw. I was so impressed to witness the courage of that lady. Her name is Simmi. I got into her rickhaw and she took me to some of the very intresting destinations in Jaipur includes Hawa mahal(place of winds),Jal mahal which was surrounded by water, amer fort, birla mandir and jaigrah fort. While dropping me back to the resort, I asked her about the story behind a woman riding a rickshaw. She laughed out louder and replied that she would not just stay the reason but will take me to that place that brought this change in her.
The very next day, I was so very excited to visit Simmi’s village that plants future for young girls. We started our journey to her village together in her rickshaw. Her village was at a distance of 1 hour journey from Jaipur.
Piplantri is a village located in Rajasamand district in Rajasthan. She took me to the former sarpanch Shyam Sundar Paliwal who took initiative for that auspicious ritual in remembrance of his daughter Kiran, who died a few years ago. It was so nice to talk to him. He was a man of great thoughts and vision and all above a man of love and humanity. He welcomed me to Piplantri. Sitting near to him, having a coffee in a cup made of clay gave me some good vibes of being there. He started explaining me about that great ritual he started in 2006.
The villagers of Piplantri plant 111 trees every time a girl child is born and the community ensures that those trees survive, attaining fruitation as the girls grow up.To ensure financial security after te birth of a girl child, the villagers contribute Rs.21,000 collectively and take Rs.10,000 from the parents and put in a fixed deposit which can broken when she turns 20.To make sure that the girl child receives proper education ,the villagers make the parents sign an affidavit which also restricts them from marrying her off before she attain the legal age for marriage. This initiative has turned Piplantri village into an oasis.
To keep terminities away from the trees many of which bear fruits, the villagers have planted nearly 2.5 million Alo Vera plants around them. Gradually the villagers realized that aloe vera could be processed and marketed in a variety of ways. So the community now produces and markets aloe vera based products like juice and gel. This is one of the main source of income for the house hold women in Piplantri.
I went around those gardens where those trees were plants. Every trees were named by those girls on whose birth it was planted on. I could feel the cold breeze that touches me passing through the shade of the trees. I never felt this coldness during my stay at Jaipur. Those trees also brought peace in my mind. The sarpanch also granted me the permission to take a look around their alovera industries. I had my lunch with the women working there. I was so over whelmed by the enthusiasm that those ladies hold.I also visited the schools there and had a session with them. The eyes of every girl child had a glazing while telling me about their dreams and their voices hold a pinch of maturity and determination, during the session. I started my journey back to my resort along with Simmi in the evening after saying a goodbye to those people who whole heartedly supported this change and I once again congratulated Mr. Shyam Sundar for bringing this change.
I reached back at my resort late night after having a jam session and a dinner with some of my friends who lives in a town near to Piplantri. Back in my room I had a lot of emotions and thoughts running inside my brain and heart. I thought ‘there was a time when female feticides existed and God knows it still does exits or not. But the journey of the uneducated and orthodox class in PIPLANTRI from that to this would have been not that easy. The journey brought that in Piplantri that no wealth can afford in this world and that is the proud feeling in the hearts of those parents seeing the trees grow along with their daughters brightful career cherishing’. By this time my sleep disturbed my thoughts so I closed my eyes hoping for a good sleep and with a broader smile unlike any other day.
I started my journey back to my city the very next morning and hope I get a chance to visit this splendid place once again in this lifetime.
Back in my room, I got some powerful words to put on to my speech for tomorrow. All thanks to Piplantri and the villagers whose who accepted such a custom whole heartedly and brought a proud feeling in my heart of being a girl child.