Our Prime Minister’s Beti Bachao Beti Padhao andolan has made no difference to the people or the sex ratio in my village. They continue to live in a bygone era. They are ‘endangering’.
This is a story about a woman living in a village full of men, loosely based on true events.
My parents are the select few from my village in Gujarat who were happy to have a daughter born in the family. That is because my father is a teacher at the village’s school, mostly attended by male students. Since females are treating like animals in my village, I shall say that they are endangering.
“Why should girls go to school? Girls are meant to handle the household, education is a sheer waste of time for them”, says a member of the village’s Panchayat when my father went to them to ask for their help in encouraging the scarce women of our village to get basic education. The other’s simply nod their head in agreement every single time such a statement is made.
When I was born, I was looked upon as a burden by my relatives and neighbours. A burden they were very eager to get rid of. That is why when I was 16, three people came forward with a proposal for my hand in marriage. Thanks, to my father’s guts back then I am still happily unmarried at 20. But also, we no longer can go back to our village.
I am here to share a story about the couple who lived next door when we lived in our village. I was 16 then so I developed a fair sense of differentiating between right and wrong and also had built a very strong will with air an indifference surrounding me about the villager’s opinions about me being the only girl in school.
Due to innumerable infanticides and foeticides in the past, it was very difficult to get the men of our village married. The otherwise orthodox people refused dowry to get a wife and then to get a ‘male heir.’ The same happened to Rajesh, the guy who lived next door.
He was a farmer by profession and was 24 years old. His old parents had one traditional dying wish, ‘to see their grandson playing in their arms’. Yes, that filmy. Where do you think films get their stories from?
They began bride-hunting for him 2 years ago but still did not find a suitable bride as all the women in the village were promised and the only one who wasn’t (me) wasn’t going to get married that soon. Then one day, completely out of the blue, Rajesh came home with a bride. He made sure he walked the street with his bride, wearing garlands and new clothes so that he could show off his ‘achievement’ of finding a woman.
People gathered and congratulated him. They said that the bride was very beautiful and would bear him a handsome son. That’s all she was, a baby producing machine?
His parents were shocked at first that he got married without seeking permission from them but quickly forgave him and were overjoyed. The bride, Savita, was a ‘good daughter-in-law’ who cooked delicious food and ‘served’ the people of the household very well. The only thing that no one except Rajesh knew about her was that he had found her abandoned by her first husband on the outskirts of the village in the middle of the night…
To be continued…
Part 2 can be read by clicking on this link below: