The story of a girl child is one of survival. Her journey through deprivation begins the day she is born when nobody sings in praise of her arrival.
There is actually no ditty to render the glory of her advent. The folk song ‘Badhai (greeting)’ is but sung on the birth of a male child. Therefore, discrimination against a girl child begins the day she is born.
To get rid of this patriarchal mindset and to protect a girl child, Sarokar, an NGO in Bhopal, has organised a national competition on composing songs in praise of the advent of a girl child. Such a contest, Bitiya ke Janam ke badhai Geet Lekhan Rashtrastariya Pratiyogita, is going to be held for the first time. The NGO has been working for gender equality for many years.
A member of the NGO, Kumud Singh, says her organisation has come to realise a girl child falls prey to discrimination from the day she sees the first ray of the sun. ‘Badhai Geet’ sung on childbirth is only meant for the advent of a male child, she says.
The song charged with words like Ram Janme and Krishna Janme consists of positive feelings, she says.
On the other hand, the songs composed for coming of a female child contain negative sentiments, she says.
“Ye bhabhi kahan per bichhau tori khatiya. Bitiya bhai ki baba ne sun li haathon se chhut gyai lathiya (Sister-in-law where we should put your cot? As the grandfather came to know about the birth of your daughter the stick slipped from his hand),” she adds.
The song does not carry the words like Sita, Radha and Meera, Kumud says. Such a prejudice towards a female child only leads to crime against women, she says. The aim of the competition is to compose a song to welcome her to the world, she says.
Kumud says she organises workshops and street plays to raise awareness about the importance of a girl child. Nevertheless, both workshops and street plays have a limited audience, she says.
As a result of such limitations, the NGO began poetry, photography and easy writing competitions to end gender bias, she says.
According to Kumud, those contests held in small villages helped her grasp people’s view of a girl child. Then those competitions were held across the state, she says.
There are, however, a few people who celebrate the arrival of a girl child. Yet, there is no ditty to portray her coming. Through the competition, the NGO will select a few good limericks to welcome the birth of a female child.
Last date for sending application Oct 18
The contest is open to all. The last date for sending an application is October 18. It may be sent to sarokarzindagigmail.com. An application should contain the name, gender, age, contact number and profession of a contestant. According to Kumud Singh, a member of Sarokar, the results will be declared in phases. In the first phase, the best songs will be selected by girls aged 10 to 25. In the second phase, they will invite popular personalities including the ones from transgender who work for gender equality. Each winner will get a certificate and a chance to perform their song on social media, she says.