Patna: For the
daughters of Bihar's Dharhara village, whose pledge to mother
nature has made the place a green haven, a fitting gift is on the
way from the state government - a residential school and a
children's development centre.
Dharhara, the small village 230 km east of Patna in Bhagalpur
district, made big news a long time back when its families decided
to plant fruit trees, including mango and litchi, to celebrate the
birth of every girl child born there.
The practice is for every family to plant at least 10 trees
whenever a girl child is born. It has paid off well as Dharhara
now makes other villages turn green with its own greenery.
The state government has decided to show its appreciation by
presenting the village with a Kilkari Bal Kendra and a Kasturba
Gandhi Balika residential school to encourage the remarkable
commitment to society and nature, officials said.
Kilkari, under the human resources development (HRD) department,
works to promote creative learning among children in the state.
Anjani Kumar Singh, principal secretary of the HRD department,
said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will personally gift the school
and the children's centre to the daughters of Dharhara village
"Nitish Kumar will inaugurate a Kilkari Bal Kendra and will lay
the foundation stone of a Kasturba Gandhi Balika residential
school," Singh told IANS.
Dharhara village impressed Nitish Kumar last year with its
initiative, which symbolises the empowerment of women and the
protection of the environment in a unique way.
The chief minister had then lauded the village and dubbed it a
role model for other villages in Bihar and also in other states.
Kumar said then that the novel initiative served the twin purpose
of environment conservation and promotion of gender equality.
During his visit to the village, the chief minister will also gift
toys to Lavi Kumari and another girl.
Last year in June, during his visit to Dharhara, Kumar had planted
a tree to mark the birth of Lavi Kumari, born to the proud parents
Saurabh Singh and Priyanka Devi.
The HRD official said that the chief minister last month asked him
to plan something to gift the daughters of Dharhara village.
"The education department proposed to set up a Kilkari Bal Kendra
to help children learn painting, music and other arts and crafts,"
According to Kilkari officials, the Bal Kendra in Dharhara village
will be the first outside the urban centres in Bihar.
"A team of top officials from the HRD department and Kilkari
visited Dharhara early this month in connection with the launch of
the centre," an official said.
Dharhara is one of the few villages in Bihar with primary, middle
and high schools running.
"The Bal Kendra will be set up in the middle school and will train
children in music, painting, yoga and arts and crafts," an
Munna Singh, a middle-aged villager, said that it was an age-old
practice in the village to celebrate and greet the birth of a girl
by planting at least 10 fruit-bearing trees.
"We treat a girl child as the incarnation of goddess Lakshmi (the
Hindu goddess of wealth)," he said.
According to Manhu Devi, another villager, all families in
Dharhara, without any social or economic divide, have been
"This has made our village uniquely green and happy," she said.
At present there are over 20,000 fruit-bearing trees in Dharhara.
The fruit trees have also helped the villagers economically,
bringing them considerable earnings.
"The fruit trees are like bank deposits to them. It also keeps the
environment rich," Munna Singh said.
(Imran Khan can
be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)