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To save the girl child, the Golden Temple lends its shade

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source: http://www.indianexpress.com/story/353008.html

To save the girl child, the Golden Temple lends its shade

Harpreet Bajwa - The Indian Express

Posted online: Monday, August 25, 2008

Chandigarh, August 24

It's a unique message: save the girl child, save the environment. And it’s originating from the holiest Sikh shrine, in a state with one of the lowest sex ratios in the country.

Beginning August 27, all women devotees at Amritsar’s Golden Temple will be given a sapling free of cost to be planted back home. Called Nanhi Chaanh (small shade), the ingenious scheme will put the force of faith behind the need to spread sensitivity towards the girl child and environment. The last Census in 2001 put Punjab’s sex ratio at 874:1000.

Under the scheme, to be made a permanent feature during the months of February and August which are plantation months, all the estimated 30,000 women devotees visiting the Golden Temple daily shall be given a sapling of one of the varieties of trees mentioned in the Guru Granth Sahib.

Guru Nanak Dev was quoted as having said in 1499 that “It is a woman who keeps the race going and we should not consider her condemned or cursed, when from woman are born leaders and rulers.â€

The scheme, which is a joint initiative of the Punjab Government, SGPC and Impact Group of companies, aims to spread this message, as well as underline that both the girl child and environment need nurture and care. The saplings would be dispersed in special boxes designed to allow in light and air.

The Punjab Forest Department would provide the saplings, and already 50,000 have been procured. This year saplings of neem tree would be given, subsequently more varieties would be distributed.

Explaining the rationale behind the scheme, Harpal Singh, Chairman of the Ranbaxy Group and Impact Group of Companies, said: “Mothers and trees are givers. They provide us so many things without expecting anything in return.â€

He said that in the first year they would would spend Rs 25 lakh on the programme. They have proposed to the SGPC to extend it to other gurdwaras as well. “This scheme is also being launched by us at several other religious places, including Ajmer Sharif.â€

SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, who described female foeticide “a major cause of concernâ€, said other gurdwaras could be roped in. “Earlier too a hukumnama was issued by the Akal Takht which condemned this hideous and reprehensible practice,†he pointed out.

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About time these "leaders" addressed this age old issue.

"SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar, who described female foeticide “a major cause of concernâ€"

It's a little more than a major cause for concern, its a damn right henious, evil and dispicable act of cruelty and murder - the worst. They need to outright condemn it continuously and address and correct the causes through condemnation and re-education, rather than just saying it's a cause for concern.

I hope they will follow on from from this exercise and it's not just another one off publicity/popularity/PR stunt

One thing they need to concentrate on is the flourishing business of baby scans and abortions/aka legalised baby murder.

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Sorry for being a bit negative here but how will planting a sapling make people aware of " save the girl child " ?

I personally believe they need to organise events where people are educated , provide material to read stating opportunities for women , current women leaders , etc...

The money could be spent more wisely.

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Its verse 9 in the 4. chapter of Prem Sumarag regarding marriage:

Whatever both the bridgegrooms people and the bride's have been able to afford(as gifts) should be accepted with courtesy and (with expressions of) pleasure. Relatives on both sides should be affable and should offer compliments. Let them refrain from gossip, demonstrating outwardly the benevolence that they should feel in their hearts. They should neither mock nor reproach any (who are present).

anyone who speaks disparagingly of anyone else should be expelled from the gathering. Let him be readmitted only after he offers a humble apology. Thereafter he will taunt nobody. If that Sikh has learn his lesson, take him back with forgiveness. Do this in the case of anyone who desists from criticising or mocking others.

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I think this practice will stop with our generation, as we are more educated... ..

Education hasn't stopped people asking for dowry in the past. It will stop when we begin to follow Guru Ji's teachings rather than dubious traditions.

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Personally I think that until Khalsa Raaj is established all over the world casteism and dowry will remain prevalent. No amount of education or awareness can destroy these two evils which are as integrally part of us as white on rice.

Even when India was under Buddhism before Shankar Acharya was born, casteism remained despite Indian society following Buddhist doctrines which reject casteism.

Within our Panth, casteism and dowry is very much prevalent. Only Sikhs with Jatha or group affiliations have been saved from these evils, but our mainstream Sikh society is following casteism and dowry traditions.

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