Seven girls who lit their mother's funeral pyre have earned praise from people in Bhilwara for breaking the tradition in the state's male-dominated society.
The girls carried their mother Kanchan Devi's body to the cremation ground on December 31 and lit her pyre, an act that is performed by male kin of the dead, usually the eldest son.
A large number of people gathered at the home of Susheela, Pushpa, Lata, Manju, Komal, Hemlata and Mamta in Azaad Nagar area in Bhilwara to praise the girls as their family observed the ritual of teey ki baithak, which is held on the third day after the death of a person.
Hemlata said, "There was a gathering of more than 500 people and many of them were not even our relatives. People are appreciating our effort despite the fact that our society is known for evils like female foeticide."
Commenting on the decision by the sisters to light their mother's pyre, Hemlata said, "Our parents brought us up in an atmosphere where we were given the same facilities and rights they would have given to a male child. My mother treated us like sons.
"When she died on Sunday we knew there would be some who would protest our move, yet we were determined to light her pyre."
Hemlata said the family had received calls from people in other parts of the country and the United States who praised them for their courage.
"We live in a society where girls are considered a burden and boys an asset, yet our parents gave us everything. I think our move will send out a message to change the mentality of our male-dominated society."