There is a time frame that lies typically in mythological era or say mythological history, whatever gets you convinced to believe the depicted incidents. This was the time when Gods were worshipped and Goddesses were worshipped even more. The moment Gods seemed to have changed their habitat, people became too ordinary to admire the deeply respectable things and their vision became limited to what the eyes could barely see. Eyes see the power of men, respect it! Eyes see the too much modesty and humbleness of women, crush it! There has been not one single country, community or race that started being bias towards women and underestimating their strength. When you’re assumed to have no strength, no potential or inferior why would you be even wanted? Ever since then, existence of girl child and rights to be imparted have been questioned and validated therefore with much effort.
In many parts of India, the birth of a girl child is followed by discrimination, humiliation and oppression at every stage of life. While investing into healthcare, education and growth opportunities for girls it is often scaled looking at the returns and worth. Looking at the ratio only few manage to survive and foster new paths to follow and rest surrender to fate and customs meant to treat them as a helping hand or even unwanted.
From running behind the cattle, to running Marathons..
Every individual taking birth gets the same brain and same heart without asking whether the body is of a girl or a boy. It’s only the upbringing that nurtures and explores to get the outcome to its best or the worst. A huge number of girls are raised like cattle and so their talent is marred in growth years itself. See how a small initiative became a milestone in the life of Rosaline Bankira, just an ordinary girl.
Rosaline Bankira, daughter of Syam Sunder Bankira and Moti Bankira, is currently a student of the sixth standard. She lives with her family in the Patrasahi village of Ranipokri GP, Kaptipada Block, Mayurbanj district, Odisha.
Rosaline had dropped out if school and was engaged in cattle rearing and other household chores. When she used to take the cattle out for grazing, she had to spend a lot of time running behind them to make sure she didn’t lose them. One such day, she sped after a calf that would have otherwise run away and brought it back to the herd.
In the meanwhile, her eldest sister, who was married, took Rosaline with her to enroll her into school. She wanted her younger sister to at least complete her primary schooling. She was admitted in the fifth standard. It was in this Patrasahi school where her ability to run fast was recognized during the period dedicated to extra-curricular activities. She went on to win the 200m and 400 m race in the school sports that year.
She then went on to represent her school at the Block level sports competitions in 2015 and won! Then she participated in the District level Marathon as well as the representative from her school. Rosaline won 4 medals in the athletic events at the district level Champions Trophy and made her school and her village extremely proud.
She says that it is her school where she got the opportunity to test her speed on the running tracks and then went on to achieve this milestone. While she dreams of representing her school at the State Levels now, she has also transformed into a much more confident girl!
There would be many more such stories of a special Ananya, an extraordinary Revti or a shining Mariam. It’s not even limited to villages and underdeveloped towns. Tragedy is that this discrimination prevails in many urban cities and educated families as well.
These facts leave a sad proposition of our country
One in every 5 marriages in the north is a child marriage : 10 million currently married men and 35 million currently married women in the northern belt of India were married as children reveals a detailed analysis of the 2011 census data….. (this includes UP, MP Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, J&K and Punjab)
The Census 2011 data also throws light on the number of child marriages in these states and the figures are not encouraging either. Girls constitute more than 65% of the total figure in all the states
22 children go missing in the national capital everyday.. 7928 children went missing in 2015 of which more than 50% were girls most in the age group of 12-18 yrs. CRY’s on ground experience has shown that these girls are mostly forced into domestic work and commercial sex trade.
Soha Moitra, CRY Regional Director – North says
“Girls by virtue of their gender face discrimination and challenges at every stage of their lives. The deep seated patriarchy combined with poverty keeps them away from many rights and comforts which generally come easily to boys. Be it female foeticide, education, health, early marriage or household responsibilities, girls are usually the first ones to suffer. That is precisely the reason why empowerment of girls is not just necessary but also the need of the hour. We have so many examples of girls who with the right support and guidance have shattered perceptions and stereotypes and have managed to make a mark for themselves despite the odds. We need to work towards a society that treats everyone equally and where girls don’t have to fight for a space that is rightfully theirs”
What is stated here is not essentially a story about someone you just don’t know, because you have a belief that you treat girls at par. But, this International Girls day gives you one reason, one reminder to look within and see whether you really have been able to treat girls at par? Whether you value the talent and potential girls posses and you consider it worth availing an opportunity? Besides, if you see such things around where a girl child is being deprived do you do your best to change it?
Let’s decide to be a part of it and be a part of the change because we are Alive, we Feel, we Think and we can Rationalise.