Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Horse riding bride makes a brave statement and a step to end female foeticide

Bride & unbridled courage
Bhiwani girl gallops over stereotypes,village celebrates, blesses Monica
Geetanjali Gayatri/Shiv Sharma/TNS

Bhiwani/Chandigarh, May 4
Kaparwas, today, erupted into celebration as a decked-up Monica stepped out of her modest house in the village this evening to trot into history. Attired in a red and blue suit, wearing a pagri on her head and a garland of currency notes around her neck, mehandi adorning her arms and hands, she mounted the horse to break the age-long tradition of limiting “ghurcharhi” to the groom-to-be.

As an elated crowd broke into thunderous applause to mark this new beginning, where a bride-to-be undertook a “nikasi”, (going around the village to share the happiness of her marriage), hope of better days for girls seemed writ large on the faces of those who came to watch the “spectacle”.

There were people in the procession and people hanging out of windows, those on terraces and others on treetops who watched this Class 12 dropout, all of 22-years, send out the message that determined women were second to none and the sky was the limit for those wanting to be catalysts of change.

As the procession of friends, relatives and well-wishers trailed behind and alongside Monica’s horse, her brothers on either side, proud of their sister’s dare, danced and rejoiced with the others that made up the crowd, all through the “journey” to the village temple.

On the way, villagers offered her money as a token of their love while at other homes Monica stopped to accept glasses of milk offered to her. Her friends, also a part of the procession, found it difficult to contain their happiness. They were proud that one of them had pulled off an act which would go a long way in heralding a new thinking in the village. With news of her initiative having spread, the procession comprised of a number of people from neighbouring villages who merely came to witness the “ghurcharhii” by the bride-to-be.

At the village temple, Monica and many other newly-weds pledged not to indulge in female foeticide before the crowd broke into another song-and-dance round.

Like 70-year-old Chhanno put it, “I wish this had happened 50 years ago. Women just may have got the respect and place in society they deserved. I am so glad somebody had the courage to do this.”

From the same village, Lakshmi who recently got married said that she would make sure her daughter, if she had one, undertook a “ghurcharhi” at the time of her marriage. Forty year-old Ramrati and her other friends who are looking forward to tomorrow’s marriage ceremony, said in unison, “There is not a single villager who is frowning upon Monica’s decision or her family’s support. In fact, this initiative has united everybody, making every villager a part of this marriage. It is a day to remember for each one of us.”

Monica, too, is over-whelmed with all the support her initiative has generated. “I was expecting people to come out of their homes to see me but this kind of support where everybody has been blessing me is indeed heady,” she said.

Tomorrow, her groom-to-be, a computer engineer from Bhariwas, will undertake a “ghurcharhd” before coming to her village for the marriage ceremony

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