Sixteen-year-old Ishita Uppal’s mission against female foeticide was flagged off by Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on November 19, 2009.
Three years on, the teenager has not lost focus and is fighting for the cause with the support of Haryana and the Chandigarh administration. The Class X student educates the youth through lectures and documentaries, which strike a chord among her ilk.
On Friday, Ishita was at Guru Gobind Singh College for Women, Sector 26, to deliver one such lecture.
“It’s ironical that girls are not allowed to be born in a country where they are worshipped,” says Ishita, who was stirred by the issue of foeticide when she was only in Class V.
“I remember reading a news report about a newborn girl found dead. I was too young to understand the reason behind such a gory act, but the incident ignited something in me to change the shameful scenario,” says Ishita, a student of Little Flower Convent School in Panchkula.
“I started posing questions to my father seeking answers to this social malady. It was in Class VII, after gathering facts about skewed sex ratio and reasons attached to the social crime, that I decided to raise my voice against it,” says the young girl who claims to be an ‘ambassador’ of the fight against foeticide and also runs campaign on social networking sites such as Facebook.
Ishita’s parents, Meena Kumari and Captain Deepak Uppal, also started Jagriti Mission Ishita Foundation in 2010. The trio, through this foundation, want to recruit young volunteers from the tricity to fight the evil.
“We tie up with various colleges and schools. I conduct seminars and show documentaries there. My aim is to target youth,” says Ishita.
“At times people, even women are skeptical. They say, ‘chhotti hai, kya kar payegi’ (she is too young, what difference can she make), but I never lose patience and temper. I smile it away,” smiles Ishita, whose doll ‘silky’ accompanies her everywhere.
“Silky is 11 years old, I love her and in my mission, she is the symbol of a girl child.”
On a parting note, Ishita has a ‘request’ for the grown ups: “Men should not feel pressurised by the society, especially their parents, to have a son; To women, I would say, even if no one supports you, fight tooth and nail for your unborn child.”