It is an unfortunate fact that even now, in our country, the birth of a boy is cause for elation while the arrival of a girl leads to disappointment. However, times are gradually changing and an increasing number of people are warming up to the idea of having a girl child. Dharhara, a small village in Bhagalpur, Bihar sees a girl’s birth as a sign of prosperity and plants a mango tree to mark the occasion. When she is old enough, the girl herself takes care of the tree.
This initiative comes with two advantages — one being the positive change in the mentality of people towards girl children and the other being its environmental benefits. The parents sell the fruits that grow on the trees, saving up for their daughter's education and wedding.
The Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar, has also visited this village. Back in 2010, a girl named Lavi was born the day he visited and he had planted a tree in her name.
A resident of this village, Shyam Sundar Singh, had also planted a tree on the birth of his daughter. According to him, selling the mangoes from these trees can yield an annual income of nearly Rs 2 lakh. He got his daughter married using this very money.
While the crime rate against women is high in many of Bihar's villages, the SP of this district, Shekhar Kumar, says that no case of harassment has emerged from Dharhara. This is also reflected in the sex ratio — there are 957 females for every 1,000 males in this village as compared to 879 females for 1,000 males in Bhagalpur.
Dilip Jha, Superintendent of Post Offices, Bhagalpur Division, says that they have decided to name Dharhara the first Sukanya Village of the province, and are in the process of opening bank accounts for nearly 535 girls.
Dowry and many other crimes against women are prevalent in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which leads many parents to see their girl child as a burden and liability. However, the folks in this village believe otherwise and treat their girls with the respect and care they deserve. Looking at the women empowerment and environmental developments in Dharhara, Nitish Kumar also declared it a model village in 2010.
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