Recently, Himmatpura, a small village in Bathinda district of Punjab, took a different step towards empowering the women in their village. The 350 residents of the village, reversed the state-wide trend of displaying the male member’s name on the House Number plates and now, proudly adorn their houses with the names, mobile numbers of the female members of the house along with a slogan, that would evoke neighbours.
Though Himmatpura might be the first village in Punjab to show respect to their women in this fashion, this idea originated in BaIbipur village of Haryana in July 2015. Punjab Health Department states that as of 2016-17, Bathinda district’s sex ration is 888, that makes it a district with fifth lowest in the state. Residents of Himmatpura engage in farming. The landholding of an average townsman ranges between 4 and 20 acres. Bathinda might be a district with one of the lowest sex ratio, Himmatpura has a different story to tell. Among the village’s population, 55% are women, where the 6-member Panchayat is led by a woman along side of two other female members of the Panchayat.
In order to support the women community of their village and motivate them to success in all faces of life, the village Gram Sabha announced to change the nameplates in the village. A member of The Panchayat, Roop Singh, contributed INR 10,000 to help the villagers prepare new nameplates. The Panchayat has devised a corpus fund for women from where it will gift INR 5,100 to every woman in the village on her wedding and INR 1,100 on the birth of a girl child. This tradition has begun since Lohri. The Panchayat has also decided to reward every native girl who excels in any aspect of life, especially sports or education.
Sarpanch Malkit Kaur, with the help of additional deputy commissioner Shena Aggarwal has been actively working in assuring that even the men of Himmatpura accept and support the suggested changes.
Sarpanch Malkit Kaur told TOI, “Even a small step such as displaying the names of female members on the houses reaffirms the confidence of village women. Along with this, we are also safeguarding our daughters by encouraging them to study and get higher education and even a college degree. Behind all this, we have just one motive, we want our daughters to be independent. The village also witnessed an election for the first time since its inception in 1997, when it was separated from Mehraj.”
The native residents seem thrilled with the recent changes. “This has boosted our confidence and now we feel equipped. For the first time, women have received such importance in this very patriarchal society. Instead of created hurdles, the men in our community have welcomed and fully supported the new system.”
Prajwala Ghate | TOC
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