Lohri, the fire within by Ravneet Sangha


Lohri, the fire within: every day countless children are born, some make it, some live and some die and some are killed. It is the sad, brutal truth that we face, ignore and shove under the carpet to be socially correct, as the constant drive to have a son is the driving force in all the procreation in this country. Trust me that am the reason behind every birth! I came to know about the birth of a young baby girl who when she was born, her mother also died in childbirth and she was shunned and scorned by the family members. They were all upset, saddened and just didn’t want the additional burden of bringing up a baby girl who was going to be a burden, a strain on them and then the extra burden of dowry, marriage and so forth. So she was left there to die outside the house swaddled in her birth clothes. After the cremation of the mother, when two days had passed, someone remembered the infant baby girl and he or she decided to bury her too.

When they looked for her, and found her in her clothes outside in the verandah, she was still alive, as no one had cut her umbilical cord. She had survived and was alive. It was as if God had saved her and later a couple that didn’t have a daughter adopted her and now she has become a professor of English, imparting knowledge to many more. What a strange circle of life. We try to kill and nature has its unique way of saving its own.

In recent years, we have started celebrating Lohri for a girl child and awareness is there, it is small, gradual but the festivities eclipse it for a boy child. No one asked to be born, no one chose his or her sex or the gender, who are we to discriminate so openly?

Why is the mindset not changing? You might say oh no things have changed; it’s not like this anymore, so how is the ratio so skewed still? Someone, somewhere here is still doing this. Is it like the One who must not be named?  I mean it’s all prevalent but we turn a blind eye, or a cold shoulder and look the other way.

A lot of initiatives are undertaken to save the girl child, to make her feel safe and secure. I just genuinely feel that we all need to collectively come together and not do the drawing room armchair conversations.

In fact, procrastination is our middle name .We will mull, think, delay, discuss, decide, argue, fight and succumb to social pressures that are so engrained in our souls with invisible writing that we go back to our patriarchal roots.

Till we don’t set an example, make it safe for her, don’t give her equal rights and stop treating her a burden and have different set of rules and do’s and don’ts for her this rot is going to continue.

Collectively, lets stop the rot as now its seeped into the foundations of society and what we were known for once is I am afraid going to be lost in the pages of Lonely Planet.

India is synonymous for color, bonhomie, festivities, ancient civilization and the Vedas, yoga, we have given the world so much but we are reduced to this downward spiral and I haven’t even started with politics yet!

 However, it’s the start of a new month , sangrand is on the 14th and I always have hope for a better ,newer day and may the fire burn bright in all of us.

Happy lohri.

NB: In India, in 2011 there were 943 females per 1000 of males. In the United Kingdom, there were a 1000 females per every 960 males.