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Posted at: Jan 4, 2018, 12:38 AM; last updated: Jan 4, 2018, 12:38 AM (IST)

When a granny broke a stereotype

When a granny broke a stereotype

Rajan Kapoor

The other day, my college celebrated Achievers’ Day. The limelight was, naturally, cornered by children who had achieved distinctions in exams and extra-curricular activities. This Achiever's Day was different. It coincided with the culmination of a week-long Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao programme my college did in collaboration with the local administration in Nakodar. 

To lend a meaningful flavour to the show, the lady principal of a neighbouring institution was invited as the chief guest. She delivered a highly motivated speech in which she underlined the need for the fair sex to resist pressure whenever denied equal rights. Her tale of an amputee who had successfully created a slot for herself in the world of painting drew thunderous applause. At the end of the speech, the principal was besieged by a swarm of girls who shoved one another to take her autograph. The commotion clearly showed that her message had especially touched the heart of girls. 

A week later, a girl student and her grandmother came over and asked me for the contact number of the lady principal. Slightly confused by the request, I asked the girl why she needed the number. What she told me was both thrilling and eye-popping. The girl said the she had shared the principal’s motivating story had with her granny who was delighted by its message. Two days later, the entire family had gone to the shrine of goddess Chintpurni for the tonsuring ceremony of the girl’s brother’s son. The hair on her nephew’s head was shaved off and a turban tied around his head. The turban was symbolic. It discreetly bestowed `sardari' upon the boy.  But, no such treatment was given to the girl. 

Her granny took it as an offence and insult to the girl child. Breaking the centuries-old web of stereotype that denied ‘sardari’ to a girl child and unabashedly tagged her as ‘paraaya dhan’ (private property), the granny put her foot down and got a 'pagri' tied around the head of her granddaughter too. And, through a loud proclamation, she bequeathed half of her property to the girl, the other half going to her brother. When she was asked  what prompted her to take that ‘extreme’ step, she responded in a very coolly that she had changed her notion about girls after listening to the tale of fortitude of the girl, who despite being an amputee had made it to the top. A girl could do all that a boy was capable of doing, she remarked. 

The story was indeed motivating but the motivating force was the lady principal. This was what the student told me. Awestruck, I dialed the principal's number and made the brave granny share her experience with her ‘real’ motivator.


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