Am still not sure if this is actually the beginning of the end.. but hopefully girls wont be killed anymore.. and are not abducted or whisked away.. or Matrubhoomi like situations dont happen…
Maligned Haryana comes full circle
Shortage Of Girls Leads To Grooms Providing Material, Financial Help For Brides
Sukhbir Siwach | TNN
Chandigarh: When Bhagu Ram’s wife gave birth to his sixth daughter — all in the hope for that one truant son — he cursed his luck and questioned the unfairness meted out to him by the myriad deities he believed in. Little did he then know that by the time his daughters grew up, girls in Haryana would be in such short supply that it would be a privilege to be the father of six marriageable women.
The creases on 50-year-old Bhagu’s forehead are now laughter lines, especially after his fifth daughter, Pancho, got married recently and that too without having to pay any dowry. That wasn’t all. The father of the anxious bridegroom, in fact, went out of his way to facilitate the union, dishing out material and financial help that reeked of reverse dowry — arranging for a modest function, sweets and providing clothes for the bride. A week back, Bhagu’s fourth daughter, Sina, was married off in similar fashion.
Is this, then, the beginning of a heartening and ironic reverse trend in a feudal heartland that killed daughters and celebrated sons? Is it nature’s answer to humanity’s crime? Perhaps.
Manjeet Singh, a sociologist professor at Punjab University, thinks so.
‘‘There is nothing bad in such reverse trends. It had to happen,’’ he said and added that it will get more pronounced in future.
Jaiwanti Sheokand, director, State Women and Child Development, too sees it as a good development. ‘‘For centuries, grooms took gifts from the bride’s side. If grooms are now helping the family of their brides, it should be seen as a favour that was long in coming,’’ she said. ‘‘Men should feel obliged they are getting married into their communities, all thanks to the women’’, she added.
At 861 women per 1000 men and the state ravaged by considerations based on caste, gotra, religion and ethnicity, it is fast getting difficult to find proper matches in Haryana. Men from here have been known to scout around for ‘‘paid brides’’ in poor states like Tripura and Orissa. TOI had earlier highlighted how in some North-East villages the going rate for such brides started at Rs 25,000.
Now, however, the rescue hatch for girls in Haryana could lie in the very — and rapidly dwindling — sex ratios. A cheerful Bhagu said, ‘‘Bhai mene to mera kam kardiya (Brother, I have performed my duty).’’ It was in the hope of a son that Bhagu, a resident of Gorakhpur, a large village in Fatehabad district of Haryana, produced six daughters. He was ‘‘lucky’’ the seventh time though. But he no longer feels any father of girls should feel so burdened and cursed. ‘‘Waqt badal gaya (Times have changed),’’ he added.
More interestingly, girls are also helping get their brothers married, often to women in the family of their husbands.
Earlier, this ‘‘barter’’ system was limited to the Bishnoi and a few other communities in the state, but is now being adopted even by Jats. Singh believes that this trend will gain more currency in the days to come.