Indian villagers greet daughters with fruit treesBy Asia Sentinel May 20, 2012 4:27PM UTC
A way to slow India’s appalling female infanticide rate
A small, nondescript village in Bihar may have found a way to ameliorate the appalling slaughter of baby girls while tackling global warming and climate change at the same time with a simple solution that incorporates tradition as well as knowledge of farming.
The flood-ravaged districts of eastern Bihar, one of India’s most poverty-stricken states, present a scenario of abject poverty and poor development. If the rest of India were any gauge, their daughters should be missing. According to a recent report by Unicef, as many as 50 million girls and women are missing from India’s population because of systematic gender discrimination. There are fewer than 93 women in India for every 100 men in the population, against 105 female births for every 100 males across the rest of the world. Many of India’s girls, between birth and the age of 5, are killed. The UN estimates that 2,000 girls are aborted every day in India.
But the village, Dharhara. is an exception. Some 20 kilometers from the district headquarters of Bhagalpur, the village is one of the greenest pockets of the region. That is due in part to the fact that for years girls have been welcomed into the world with the local community planting at least 10 fruit trees, traditionally mangoes, in celebration. New daughters here are treated as avatars of the Goddess Lakshmi and stand to inherit these fruit trees as they grow up.
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