Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lohri for girls receives appreciation

Anilesh S Mahajan TNN
13th January, 2008, Times of India, Chandigarh Edition
Chandigarh: Fazilka, situated near the Indo-Pak border, has put itself at the heart of the battle against female foeticide. On Friday the town celebrated a collective Lohri for more than 100 newborn girls. The folk festival of Punjab is usually celebrated for newborn boys only. While this reflects on the inherent patriarchic nature of the society in the state, the celebration for girls can be seen as an attempt to reform the mindset that works against them. The celebrations, organized by a local tabloid Sarhad Kesri have now received the appreciation of two women who hail from the town and have been successful in different spheres of life. Padmashree award winning singer Pushpa Hans and Maharashtra IG (crime) Meera Chadha Borwankar told TOI in separate communications that they were moved by the report regarding the celebration they read in the electronic version of the newspaper's Chandigarh edition. The celebration in Fazilka had the town's who's who taking part. This was a first of its kind celebration in the state organized without government help. Rakesh Nagpal, the organizer of the event said he was happy that two of the successful women from the town had appreciated the effort. Punjab has been criticized globally for its skewed sex ratio. The government has started acting against the evil of female foeticide but has not been very successful. "I still remember my days at my home there. My town has a history of supporting girls. The people there will not allow the menace of female foeticide to prevail," said Pushpa Hans. She is a noted Punjabi singer considered a living legend. She added that her area is known more for successful women than men. Be it Noorjahan, Reshma or Mandira Bedi. "I am sure that my town is proud of its girls," she said. Meanwhile, Meera Chadha Borwankar said she was proud of the efforts being made in her hometown. She stated that it was only because of her hometown's culture that both she and her sister, who is senior income tax officer had made it big. "We are ready to make any contribution needed to spread the message for saving the girl child," she said. It is high time that we wake up and stop female foeticide and killing of newborn girls, she said.

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