A Sarpanch’s Genius way to Discourage Female-Foeticide: “Beti Bachao, Selfie Banao”
A Haryana Village named Bibipur- that literally translates to the land of wives- was grappling with the mother of all ironies – lack of girls, leading to a lack of wives. Hence, the Sarpanch, Sunil Jaglan came up with the mother of all inventive plans, to cope with the gnawing situation – the “Beti Bachao, Selfie Banao” countrywide contest initiated on June 9. And yesterday, in the 9th edition of NaMo’s Mann Ki Baat, the PM, impressed with the initiative, not only afforded it a mention, but also called upon his country to support it generously.
How It All Began:
The northern state of Haryana has one of the worst sex ratios in the country at 879 girls per 1000 boys, which is more than 60 shy of the national average of 940, according to the last 2011 Census.
“Since becoming sarpanch, I have tried to extend my help to causes like female foeticide over the past five years,” says Sunil Jaglan to The News Minute. He launched the nationwide contest in an attempt to change attitudes, and invited and collected selfie-entries of proud fathers with their dear daughters over a period of 14 days. Mr. Sarpanch announced a prize sum of Rs. 2100, a trophy and a certificate for the winner.
Keeping it simple, he accepted entries on Whatsapp through the period; and he received an unprecedented “Zabardast” response. Thus, he took the decision of increasing the number of winning spots to three.
“It was a tough task selecting the winning selfies. The count of selfies kept increasing by the day, and by the end 794 entries were received. Some of these were from other states including Gujarat, MP and UP. There was an encouraging response from Delhi. I even got calls from people who did not have daughters expressing regret that they cannot participate,” he told the Indian Express.
After much deliberation, he decided to confer the three awards to an adorable father-daughter duo selfie of Amar and Palak Dagar from Delhi, a quintessential family portrait of Amit with his wife and daughter Vanshika, from Kurukshetra, and Bhup Singh being caught in a storm of love between his two daughters Tanya and Sara.
Amit, one of the winners, said to Indian Express: “It was nice to see that such an initiative has been taken for daughters. My daughter is five years old. I want to give her the best of education.”
That’s a selfie of the man of the hour himself, with his bundle of joy, to prove how kicked he was about the initiative. He simply had one contention- “South India se ek bhi nahi aayi hai ab tak” (We haven’t got an entry from the south yet), he said to the News Minute, with a heartbroken smile.
Mr. PM decides He loves this Idea:
In his monthly radio address to the nation where he talks about the month that was, he granted a mention to this local contest. “Some days ago, a sarpanch in Haryana’s Biwipur village, Sunil Jaglan, had come up with an interesting idea,” the Prime Minister said. “He started the Selfie With Daughter initiative, under which all fathers had to click selfies with their daughters and post it on social media.” Personally coercing fathers to post selfies with their daughters, he even offered to retweet those with the most heartfelt captions towards the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign.
The hashtag became an international trend minutes after his address, as selfies poured in by the second. This contest making international waves was unprecedented, and Jaglan was awestruck and humbled.
“When I thought about the contest,” said Jaglan to Indian Express, “there were some who told me it was a very small initiative and will not make a difference. After what the PM said the entire nation has been involved.”
“It will give a boost to the work that we are undertaking at our level.”
Cover Image Credit: Aaj.tv