By Priyanka Chakraborty:

Every morning one dreads to open the newspaper for it inevitably contains news of infanticide, foeticide, rape, women being oppressed and so on. In a country where bad news always fills up the first page and good news is no news, the village republics always take us by surprise. Rajasthan’s Piplantri village, in Rajsamand District, has been practising its own indigenous brand of eco-feminism. It is one such concept where sustainable development and promotion of the status of women occur simultaneously.

For several years now, this village has been trying to save every girl child along with increasing the number of trees. This practise has not only been successfully implemented but achieved spectacular results. In this village, every time a girl child is born, 111 tress are planted. Villagers ensure that the tree is able to bear fruits as the girl grows up, which is symbolic to a woman’s role in the society. On an average, 60 girls are born every year in the village, as per the former village sarpanch Shyam Sundar Paliwal who led this initiative in memory of his deceased daughter, Kiran.

piplantri village

It has been six years since eco-feminism has been implemented. This has resulted in planting of over a quarter million trees like neem, sheesam, and mango. In spite of this initiative achieving spectacular results, there are still some parents who are reluctant to accept the girl child. Such families are identified by the village panchayat, the local school principle and aganwadi members. A sum of 21,000 rupees is collected from the village community and that of 10,000 rupees is collected from the girl’s father. This entire amount of 31,000 rupees is put in a fixed deposit with a maturity period of 20 years. The family is made to sign an affidavit confirming that they will not marry off the child before her legal age, send her to school and also take care of the plant, planted in her name.

This village pays respect to its dead by planting 11 trees for every deceased member. The village eco-feminism did not merely stop at planting trees. To protect the trees from being infested with termites, the villagers planted over two and a half millions aloe vera plants around the trees. They soon realized that aloe vera has a certain commercial value and it can be used as a means of economic development as well. So to further empower women, experts were invited who trained them to turn aloe vera into commercially viable products. Now, women sell pickles, jams, gel and so on made of aloe vera.

The village also has a website and a studio recorded anthem. In a state like Rajasthan, which is considered to be one of the backward areas in terms of sex ratio or development in general, Piplantri is a silver lining in the cloud. The story at some level seems to be bordering on fiction to our “bad news” infested minds. It strengthens our beliefs in grass root democracy and makes us want to act and fight for lost causes.

Comments
Harvey Specter
Posted at 10:42 pm December 14, 2013
Jitendra Ladha
Reply
Author

Very Good initiative for Gram Swaraj. It is model & motivational works for all Gram Panchayats of India. ek teer se kai Shikar.

Harvey Specter
Posted at 11:58 am July 15, 2013
Raj
Reply
Author

What’s the point of this? I mean even symbolically? Planting trees is great, but why should it be connected to the birth of the girl child? Because it naturally begs the question, what about male children? Should we cut a tree when a boy is born?
And they are supposed to send her to school and not marry off early, so big deal they sign that affidavit. It’s the freaking law!It really doesn’t matter if they sign or not, they can’t marry her off early nor can they abuse her by denying her education.
But why does the affidavit include the tree? What’s going on?

Harvey Specter
Posted at 3:45 pm July 14, 2013
Nigamananda Tripathy
Reply
Author

Excellent,
As a tree make earth a heaven to live by fulfilling majority of our needs so is a girl child who after become a mother will make a family a heaven to live.by her affection.so the combination between them is excellent.

    Harvey Specter
    Posted at 11:59 am July 15, 2013
    Raj
    Reply
    Author

    Maybe that girl could be better off not becoming her mother and waste her life in breeding, and instead pursue her career, hopes and dreams?

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