Nagda (Ujjain district, Madhya Pradesh): Setting up an example in a gender-biased society, Manoj Rathi, a businessman and chief convener of Grocery Merchant Association, his family took pledge to perform Kanya Daan (a ritual in Hindu wedding where bride’s father hands her over to groom) every year for next 22 years.
The family took the pledge on birth of granddaughter Dhruvi who was born in 2018. Rathi family then decided to bear all the expenses of wedding of a girl every year for next 22 years.
On Sunday, Rathi family performed Kanya Daan ritual of a Brahmin girl Meenakshi, daughter of Jitendra Mehta, a resident of Ujjain. This is the second year when Rathi family did this. Due to lockdown last year, they could not do it.
Many in Nagda commended Rathi family’s decision specially when girls are not treated at par with boys and birth of girl is not welcomed.
Sharing how it started, Rathi said he has four sisters Shakuntala, Trishna, Jamna and Gautami. The youngest sister Gautami is 63 years old. He is the only son in the family. After marriage, they had two sons and no daughter. On January 22, 2018, daughter-in-law Neha gave birth to a girl. Thus a girl was born in family after 60 years and happiness of family knew no bounds.
Son Kunal shared happiness by playing dholak at every relative’s place in city to welcome 'Lakshmi' who came home after 60 years. “We named our granddaughter Dhruvi and decided to oragnise wedding of a girl every year for next 22 years,” Manok Rathi said. On February 17, 2019, Rathi family performed Kanya Daan ritual of a girl for the first time.