The "village republic " - Piplantri Village ;
The state - southern Rajasthan's Rajsamand district ;
The cause - saving the girl child and ...How !!!
The villagers of Piplantri village have for a little short of a decade been saving the girl children of their panchayat and increasing the green cover at the same time.
Over the last six years the villagers of Piplantri "village republic" have been quietly practicing its own, home-grown brand of Eco-Feminism !! Here, the villagers plant a 111 tress every time a girl is born and the community ensures that these trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up.
The villagers have managed to plant over a quarter of a million trees on the village's grazing commons -- neem, mango, sheesham, amla among many others.
This tradition was introduced by the former sarpanch Shyam Sundar Paliwal in memory of his daughter Kiran, who passed away at a very young age.
On an average about 60 girls are born every year in this village and about half of these parents are reluctant to accept a girl.
This initiative, apart from planting 111 tress every time a girl is born, is spearheaded by the village committee comprising the village school principal along with the panchayat and Anganwadi members collects Rs. 21,000 from the village residents and Rs.10,000 from the girl's father and this sum of Rs. 31,000 is made into a fixed deposit for the girl, with a maturity period of 20 years.
But heres the meat in this pie .. these parents sign an affidavit promising that they would not marry her off before the legal age, send her to school regularly and take care of the trees planted in her name !!
This village of 8,000 did not just stop at planting trees and greening their commons. To prevent these trees from being infested with termite, the residents planted over two and a half million Aloe vera plants around them. Now these trees, especially the Aloe vera, are a source of livelihood for several residents.
The villagers also plant 11 trees whenever a family member dies.
India's "village republics" have time and again astonished us with their forward thinking, morally righteous & self- sufficient ways of living in this contrasting country with her "oh-so rapidly rash" pace of 'development'... its time to realise how great we Indians really are - despite everything !!