Various district authorities in Haryana will celebrate Lohri for the girl child on Tuesday, but it was the city-based National Integration Forum of Artists and Activists (NIFAA) which pioneered the trend nine years ago.
In 2006, NIFAA had first celebrated Lohri for the new-born girls with a message against female foeticide and till last year, it has given appreciation certificates to nearly 2 lakh families for breaking the social norm wherein the festival was celebrated on the birth of males only.
“Our maiden ‘Lohri for girls’ function was held at Guru Harkishan Public School at Sector 13 extension in Karnal. In 2006, 117 parents had celebrated the festivity for their daughters. Our social initiative received impressive response and we organised similar functions in other districts. In 2013, a total of one lakh families had joined us in the Lohri functions held in various districts,” Pritpal Singh Pannu, chairman of NIFAA, told HT on the eve of its 10th Lohri celebrations.
The social initiative was well received and several dignitaries and celebrities, including a state governor, film maker and social activist Mahesh Bhatt and Satish Kaushik had participated in the Lohri functions in the past.
On Tuesday, governor Kaptan Singh Solanki and several legislators are scheduled to participate at the Lohri function being organised by NIFAA at the Dyal Singh College here.
Pannu said that it was heartening to see that a small step taken in Karnal towards paying due respect to daughters in the family was adopted by the state government.
“No reform is possible without an active support of all sections of the society. NIFAA is spreading a message against skewed sex ratio caused by female foeticide. We do not claim that things have changed drastically but we are contributing our bit for this serious issue,” he said.
Pannu clarified that no official funds were ever used in such functions.
“Our organisation does not accept any grant from any government agency and Lohri and other social activities are organised with the help of like-minded individuals. For tomorrow’s functions too, the NIFAA members have pooled money and no government fund is involved in it,” said Pannu while adding that presence of luminaries helps in spreading a message more powerfully.