May 18, 2011
By Prabhakar Kumar
Bhagalpur: India has the worst record in South Asia when it comes to the sex ratio. Its 914 girls for every 1000 boys under the age of six. But in one village in Bihar, it's a privilege to be a girl.
Being a girl child is a privilege in Dhahra village of Bhagalpur, Bihar. For every girl born, villagers plant 10 mango trees. The result, this is the greenest stretch in Bhagalpur, with over 20,000 mango trees in and around the village. The male: female sex ratio is also the best in the region.
Villager of Dhahra Nirmala Devi says, "There are two benefits of planting trees. One, we sell the fruits of the tree to make money for the girl’s marriage and secondly it help environment."
For generations in India, girl children have been treated as incarnations of Goddess Lakshmi, known as the goddess of wealth. All those mango trees have added to the village’s prosperity.
Villager Vijay singh says, "It's a tradition of planting ten trees at the birth of girl child."
Dhahra has caught the attention of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, who planted a tree himself, and ensured a girls' school has been built. Treating the girl child as god's blessing & trees as bank deposits is a message that has now fast spread to other parts of the state as well.
The biggest celebration in this remote village of Bihar begins when a girl child is born. The birth of each girl child is marked with the plantation of minimum 10 mango trees, which not only adds to the greenery around and to their family income but it also comes very handy when it's the time to marry these girls.