Formation of a Community Watch Group in Ajrawar Village, Kurukshetra, Haryana
The Mahabaratha says that those who die in the holy land of Kurukshetra will attain salvation after death. It is the birthplace of the Bhagavad Gita and the land where the Mahabaratha takes place. Yet this holiness appears to be washed away when one considers the horrid gender distributions in the region. India itself does not have a very good ratio; Haryana is one of the states with the lowest ratios; Kurukshetra district is one of the five lowest districts in Haryana. The sex ratio in the Ajrawar village is 519 girls to 1000 boys – the worst of the worst. Statistically speaking, this is not possible without termination of female children or high mortality rates for infant girls. At least we have the guarantee that those who were never given the right to live have attained salvation….
Center for Social Research (CSR) organized an event on May 20th 2015 in the Ajrawar Village under the government-mandated Beti Bachao Beti Padhao project. The event was attended by over 100 people along with Mr. Kulbeer Malik (Red Cross Society), Mr. Ranjeet Singh (Sarpanch) and Ms. Suman Bala (CDPO). The program began with a small speech from Dr. Mishra of CSR about what the project was and the objectives that have been set. CSR also showcased two films about sex-selective abortions and daughter discrimination. This was followed by a discussion about the two films led by Dr. Mishra where the audience was able to give input and have dialogue. Dr. Mishra focused on the careful attention that one needs to pay to their children in order to bring them up in a non-discriminatory environment. The event involved a lot of audience interaction to better facilitate discussion and understanding. CSR does not believe in a lecture-style approach.
The event was certainly a success. CSR was able to create an atmosphere for learning and critical thinking as this is the only way to change the mindset of people. The audience members in participation left feeling more dignity and pride for their daughters. Although the issue of skewed gender balance ratios cannot disappear overnight, grassroots work at the village level is the first step towards a more healthy community that does not discriminate against women and girls. Perhaps one day, Kurukshetra can proudly be a forerunner in the struggle against feticide and infanticide.
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