The village of Piplantri in Rajsamand district in Rajasthan State, India was once dry and there was huge deforestation in the area. It was infamous aborting or abandoning baby girls because of the burden of marriage dowries on poor families.
The birth of a girl has considered a burden until the day the village head’s daughter died of dehydration. In her memory, the grieving father planted a tree. Then it had become a tradition to plant 111 sapling trees in the name of the born baby girl. But why exactly 111? well, the number 111 is believed in the Indian culture to bring success, and that’s the sentiment on which the practice was founded.
When a female is born, village individuals band collectively to raise a type of “trust” for the girl. The parents contribute one-third of the sum of 31,000 Rupees, equal to $500, and the cash is set aside as a 20-year fund for the girl. This ensures that she will by no means be regarded as a financial burden for her parents. In return, the parents of the newborn sign a contract promising to take care of the trees, send their daughters to school, and not marry her off before legal age. The tradition of planting trees to welcome the birth of female children in Piplantri appears to absolutely reject these historic prejudices, fostering hope that attitudes towards women can change.
Another tradition that has become associated with the trees is Raksha Bandhan. Initially, Raksha Bandhan, also Rakshabandhan is popular, traditionally Hindu, annual rite, or ceremony, which is central to a festival of the same name, celebrated in India, Nepal, and other parts of the Indian subcontinent. On this day, sisters of all ages tie a talisman, or amulet, called the rakhi, around the wrists of their brothers, symbolically protecting them, receiving a gift in return, and traditionally investing the brothers with a share of the responsibility of their potential care.
In Piplantri village, girls tie Rakhi around their trees on the day of Rakshabandhan and vow to take responsibility after their
A quarter of a million trees have been planted in Piplantri. Villagers credit the harmony that this tradition has brought to their community with a dramatic drop in crime. Not to point out their renewed adoration of little girls.
In a country that still favours the birth of a son, Piplantri village in Rajasthan not only embraces daughters but has created a tradition that benefits both the local people and the planet. This endearing village makes a conscious effort to save girl children and the green cover at the same time, by planting 111 trees every time a girl is born. A brilliant exercise in eco-feminism, this should inspire India and the rest of the world.