|By - Mridula Chaudhari|
Remember the days you wrote your name on the freshly covered notebook! The feeling of writing our own name fills us with pride. We make sure that our handwriting is the best. Then to read that name, written in our own handwriting, on our own notebook gives us a different high. It gives us a sense of ownership of that particular notebook. If that is so, imagine the ecstasy of the girls, coming from economically weaker background, when they see their name on the nameplate of their own house?
What? Name of a girl child on the nameplate of her house? That sounds a little weird. We are more akin to reading a man’s name on a nameplate. But that is true, a girl child’s name adorns her home, at least in the district of Balod in the state of Chhattisgarh. In this state a district collector, Rajeshsinh Rana of district of Balod has come up with a brave plan. He mounted nameplates on 2700 houses with names of the girl child in their household. With the help of local leaders, Rana, made this brave plan possible.
When the girls saw their own names in white on green background, they were taken by surprise. Until now, a girl child never thought she was such an important person in the household. The feeling of belongingness was never uppermost in her heart. “Oh, so this is my house too”, this could be a feeling she must have experienced.
With male dominating society, only the male members had that privilege until now. Watching their daughter’s name on the nameplate must have been quite a bashing to their ego. But Rana gave them no choice. The male members of Chhattisgarh had to abide by the orders and had to do so willingly and happily too.
What next now? Will Vasudha’s name on the nameplate be enough? Will she get respect? Will she at least be heard? Will her opinion matter to other family members? Will she be allowed to study in school as long as she wishes? There are these and many more questions.
What’s in a name? She must be heard and given the power to make decisions, at least for herself. She should be empowered to handle herself independently when she grows up. Hearth and family should not be the end of her life. She should be given opportunities and education to handle herself.
Though this is the first step initiated by Rana, the next steps need to be taken by the girl’s mother. If the mother can stand by her daughter, nobody can take undue advantage of her daughter. The father and brother will also follow suit. Women should support their counterpart and the world can be a much better place to live in. The mother will have to stand by her daughter and they both need to fight for their rights together.
We need more of such Ranas not just in Chhattisgarh but in other states as well. It is a path breaking action no doubt which makes the writing on the wall very clear now.