Woman sarpanch lifts the 'ghoonghat' - Fusion - WeRIndia

Woman sarpanch lifts the ‘ghoonghat’

Woman sarpanch lifts the ‘ghoonghat’

A village that ranks among the bottom in the gender ratio list, with 877 females for 1000 males is Chappar, Jind District, Haryana. The women are expected to veil their faces, and few are encouraged to study.

But today, there is a radical change everywhere. When you walk into the village, you can see the faces of most women here! Strangely, not many wear the ‘ghoonghat’ anymore. In fact, most female newborns are welcomed with joy and even sweets! And sent to school later.

How did this amazing change take place? How did so many women in Chappar manage to remove veils from their faces, their lives and their freedoms?

They—and indeed we—-can thank its sarpanch, or Panchayati head, Neelam. This 31-year-old became the Panchayati head because she wanted to bring in a small revolution. She did it, with effort and time.


Recalling her own progress, she said that after her marriage to Sohan Lal, she was asked to don a veil, which used to “suffocate” her. She couldn’t even speak in front of her family members. When she became the sarpanch, her village and even the family tried to stop her from changing things. Yet she refused to back out, and eventually had her way.

She now not only mingles with other male members, villager elders and officers, but can also address her husband, Sohan Lal, by his first name. It happened with her husband’s support, so that today, she is able to do as she wants.

However, making people aware about modern issues was more difficult. She started a drive to spread awareness about women’s rights, dowry and female foeticide. Gradually, she was the voice of the village women. Other women too confirmed that they are getting involved in diverse affairs and issues in the village.

Not everyone agrees with her views, of course. Some women, who are still mired in traditional rules and regulations of the society, confirm that they will never get rid of the ‘ghoonghat’, which has veiled women for centuries.

 Chappar, Jind District, Haryana.

 

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