Even as newspapers around India reported on various acts of violence meted out to girls and women, Thursday was ‘celebrated’ as daughters’ day. The Central government India has launched a social media campaign to celebrate daughters, daughters-in-law and granddaughters this week and observed a Daughter’s Day yesterday (August 11).
The campaign is part of the government’s “Beti bachao, beti padhao” (Save daughter, educate daughter) programme to check female feticide, improve sex ratio and educate girls across the country. Ironically, the slogan now being promoted by the government of India, was coined by Mahila Samakhya, India’s ‘greatest grassroots women’s movement’ over the past 25 years. The Modi Government, which flaunts the slogan, cut off funding to the Mahila Samakhya Programme, effectively shutting it down and throwing some 15 lakh women into uncertainty.
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi herself tweeted a photograph with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter using the hashtag #BBBP DaughtersWeek. “We are asking people to celebrate the young women and girls in their lives,” Mrs Gandhi told BBC News.
She called on others to post photographs with their daughters, daughters-in-law and granddaughters on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms using the same hashtag.In the first few days of the launch of the campaign, Mrs Gandhi has retweeted dozens of photos sent by people to her.
Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Mann Ki Baat radio address, had asked fathers across the country to take selfies with their daughters. The selfies were then retweeted by Mr Modi, reported the Economic Times.
“It’s all hype and hulla” said a clueless man in the street when approached by our reporter. The attitude of the village population cannot change by posting selfies. “the fact is, as long as there will be caste and dowry, there will be the thought that daughters are a liability.”
A professor at Patna Women’s College said, ” Daughter’s day? Every day of the year is my daughter’s day. Why make it just one day or one week? ”
Despite laws that ban expectant parents from running tests to determine the gender of unborn children, female feticide remains a common practice in parts of India, where a preference for sons runs deep, reported Reuters. Girls are often seen as a liability, with families having to dig deep for a substantial dowry to ensure a desirable match.
India’s traditionally male-dominated culture (like the rest of South Asia, with a few exceptions) views sons as assets – breadwinners who will provide for the family, carry on the family name, and perform the last rites for their parents, an important ritual in many faiths.