In a state where the child sex ratio has been one of the worst in the country and has not shown much improvement despite official campaigns, a fancy idea of a selfie-with-daughters contest held by the panchayat of small village Bibipur, just about 10-km off Jind city, has had many families excited.
“As many as 794 entries came in from different parts of country – most of them from Delhi and villages in the vicinity of Jind -- for selfie-with-daughters contest organised by Bibipur village panchayat in Jind district,” said an excited village sarpanch Sunil Jaglan, the brain behind the contest, who received the selflies on WhatsApp on Friday.
Informing about the winners, he said, “Palak Dagar, daughter of Amar Dagar of New Delhi, Vanshika, daughter of Amit, Kurukshetra and Tanya and Sara, daughters of Bhup Singh, from Jind, got the trophy, certificate and Rs 2,100 cash prize.”
The Bibipur village panchayat has taken a few steps to improve the skewed sex ratio in the past too, as it was this panchayat in 2012 which took a resolution against female feticide and was subsequently feted at national and state levels.
Despite the excitement, there are several social activists who look askance at such initiatives, terming the same as just a fad or a short-cut to fame without an effective way to correct gender imbalance. Santosh Dahiya, chairperson of the Haryana Sarv Khap Mahapanchayat, minces no words in opining that “need of the hour was to consistently work at the grass-root level – meaning family and schools – instead of holding one-time stage programmes”.
However, Jaglan counters such arguments by saying that it was his small way of contributing to the efforts being made by the government and other agencies to save the girl child.
The child sex ratio in Haryana is 879 girls per 1,000 boys -- Mahendragarh being the worst at 745 in the state – while the sex ratio in Jind is 890 girls per 1,000 boys, still better than many districts.