Patna: There's a
village in Bihar that is greener than many others. For, it
celebrates the birth of girl children by planting saplings. And
now Dharhara is counting the number of girls born and the trees
planted in the last 100 years -- in a symbolic move against female
"We have been collecting information about every girl child born
in the village to compile the genealogical table. It is a matter
of pride for us that Dharhara village has become a role model for
gender equality," Nagender Singh, a village resident, told IANS.
Another villager, Ramesh Prasad, in his mid-40s, said the decision
to compile the data reaffirms "our commitment of happiness towards
the birth of the girl child in the village".
Dharhara, a small village in Bhagalpur district, got worldwide
attention a few years back for its unique tradition.
"We don't feel sorry when a girl is born; instead we celebrate by
planting a tree. All villagers are helping in compiling the data
to count the number of girl children born and trees planted on
their birth. We are trying to obtain the genealogical table of all
families," he said.
Nagender Singh says by compiling the data, they could also
possibly ascertain as to when the tradition of planting saplings
on the birth of every child started.
"It will be a documentation to establish the tradition of
protecting the girl child and we will count trees planted till
now, a valuable green resource of the village," he said.
Prasad says according to the practice, every family in the village
plants at least 10 trees whenever a girl is born. The practice has
paid off well as Dharhara now makes other villages look pale in
comparison to its greenery.
The village impressed Chief Minister 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 lauded the village and dubbed it as a role
model for other villages.
Nitish Kumar again visited Dharhara June 5 this year and said the
tradition establishes that the girl child is not a liability.
"Planting of saplings on the birth of a girl child, if adopted by
others, could help Bihar increase its green cover," the chief
He also gifted the village a Kilkari Bal Kendra and a Kasturba
Gandhi Balika residential school to encourage its remarkable
commitment to society and nature, officials said.
It is estimated that there are over 20,000 trees in the village.
The fruit trees have helped the village economically, bringing it
"The fruit trees are like bank deposits. It also keeps the
environment rich," said Munna Singh, a middle-aged villager.
"We treat a girl child as the incarnation of goddess Lakshmi (the
Hindu goddess of wealth)," he added.
At 933, the state's child sex ratio is better than the national
average of 914, but has come down from the 981 figure the state
registered 30 years ago.
(Imran Khan can be