During ‘Kanyavandanam’ in Haridaspur village.(HT Photo)
During ‘Kanyavandanam’ in Haridaspur village.(HT Photo)

This Telangana village celebrates birth of girl child with festive fervour

  • Haridaspur, a small village in Kondapur block, about 70 km from Hyderabad, celebrates birth of every girl child.
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 09:31 AM IST

From musical processions to distributing sweets and rewarding parents with cash incentives— this is how a village in Telangana’s Sangareddy district celebrates the birth of a girl child.

Welcome to Haridaspur, a small village in Kondapur block, about 70 km from Hyderabad, where every girl childbirth is an occasion for celebration. The village panchayat, supported by youths and students, takes out procession beating drums and distributes sweets to all residents. At night, the panchayat building is illuminated with colourful lights and the parents of the newborn are given a small cash incentive.

“We celebrate the births of girl children, who bring good omen for all of us. It is our way to ensure every girl child feels empowered and respected,” Haridaspur village panchayat secretary Rohit Kulkarni said.

The panchayat also opens a bank account under the Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana (SSY) scheme in the name of every girl child with an initial deposit of 1,000.

SSY is a scheme launched in 2015 as part of the central government’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao initiative. The scheme enables guardians to open a savings account for their girl child, below 10 years of age, with an authorised commercial bank or a post office branch and the amount deposited fetches an interest of 8.4 per cent, which is exempted from tax.

With just around 300 families and a population of 1,100, Haridaspur shot to the limelight when authorities of Lord Venkateshwara Swamy temple at Chilkur on the outskirts of Hyderabad, visited the village on February 21 to perform “Kanyavandanam” (worshipping girl children). The head priest of the temple, C S Rangarajan, performed the rituals by applying turmeric and vermillion on the feet of girl children, something that is routine during the worship of goddess Maha Lakshmi.

On how the girl childbirth celebrations started, Kulkarni shared the story of one Nagesh’s family. Kulkarni said Nagesh’s wife Satyavathi had given birth to a gild child for the third time. “They were hoping for a boy. It was then, we decided to start a campaign to celebrate girl children,” he said.

Later, the gram panchayat passed a resolution stating that the village would celebrate the birth of all girl children. “In the last one year, eight girls have been born in the village and we celebrated each one of them with participation from the entire village,” he said.

The panchayat decided to open bank accounts in the name of all newborn girls and also those below 10 years, under Sukanya Samruddhi Yojana.

“The panchayat has paid an initial deposit of 1,000 in the name of each child. Initially, we pooled money from our pockets, but later, we have received donations from several individuals. One Samaritan donated 50,000 and we instantly opened 50 accounts,” the panchayat secretary said.

On the day of “Kanyavandanam” programme, an activist from the Brahmin Welfare Trust, donated 5,000. “Now, all the 60-odd girls in Haridaspur have bank accounts in their names,” Kulkarni said.

“We were worried how to bring up the third girl child, as we are very poor. But the sarpanch and secretary gave us a lot of moral support. They also got our daughters enrolled in SSY scheme,” Satyavathi said.

The story of Haridaspur inspired the neighbouring Eddu Mailaram village to adopt the same resolution. “We will also celebrate girl child birth in our village,” Eddu Mailaram sarpanch Malla Reddy said.

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