They don't mourn the birth of girls

They don't mourn the birth of girls


Chamar Mangta families in Maharajganj district of Uttar Pradesh.T

hey are considered to be the most backward as they are illiterate and live in the open and survive on their meager incomes as labourers. But they can put to shame people from superior socio-economic segments, especially in Uttar Pradesh.

They celebrate the birth of a girl child unlike many others in their state, who kill them even before they are born.

Situated in a remote area in Uttar Pradesh’s Maharajganj district, about 260 km from here, this hamlet of ‘Chamar Mangta’ (a backward caste) does not mourn the birth of girls. Instead it erupts in joy.

Says Kisnawati, pradhan of the village, “It has been like this for decades...
we have no idea... the entire village celebrates whenever a girl child is born in a family”. Kisanwati, who belongs to the same caste, added “If a male child is born there is no celebration”.

Girls better than boys 

The residents of the hamlet have no idea from where their ancestors had migrated and for how long hey were following this tradition. “For us girls are better than boys”, remarked Natthe, another member of the community.

He said: “Even while bringing up girls they get more attention than boys. Natthe said “Of course, like in other communities, the girls perform domestic chores and the men folk discharge other duties”.

Reverse dowry

Although the dowry system does prevail in their community as well but it is exactly the opposite of what is followed elsewhere. “The dowry is paid to the family of the bride by the groom's family and not the other way around”, said Ram Lakhan, a senior member of the community.

Interestingly the expenditure on the wedding function is also borne by the groom’s family.

“It is unfortunate that in some communities, people kill girls even before they are born”, quipped Kisnawati when told about the rising incidence of female foeticide cases in UP and some other states in the country.

 “How could any one do a thing like that... girls are so lovely”, the illiterate pradhan said.
In a state where the number of women per thousand males has taken a sharp dip in the past few years, these comments should come as an eye opener for those indulging in female foeticide.

The sex ration in UP in 1991 stood at 927 females per thousand males but it went down to 916:1000 in 2001. In the 2005 however it registered a sharp decrease and stood at 898 per thousand males. In some districts of western UP, the number of women per thousand males stood at below 850.

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