“Celebrating my granddaughter Shivangi’s birthday is a time for me to celebrate all my daughters and to show them how much they mean to me. I had eight children and six of them were daughters. In my village, it was a matter of shame and concern to have so many girls. Most people would marry them off young to get rid of that responsibility. I moved to Lucknow 20 years ago after my husband’s health deteriorated. I had to send my daughters, then as young as 8 or 10, to work. My earnings were not enough to provide the bare necessities after I had taken care of my husband’s medical expenses.
All my daughters are married now, and have a much better life than they did growing up. I do wish that they did not have to face the struggles that stole their childhood. My sons are grown up today and earn for the family, but my daughters were my pillars of strength during the hardest days, both emotionally and financially. For me, the birth of a female child was not a misfortune or a financial burden.
Shivangi is my first grandchild and despite our humble financial condition, I celebrate her birthday with enthusiasm. We prepare a feast for close friends and relatives and after the meal we all sing and dance late into the night. I have been holding this celebration for four years now. In the beginning a lot of people used to find it strange that I would celebrate the life of a girl-child but now they appreciate me for this.
One of my employers also attends the celebration regularly and brings a gift. Some of them even say that in our country where even affluent families look down upon the birth of a female child as a financial burden, this is a very good step in changing people’s mindset towards female children.
That is all good to to hear, although I simply want to make sure that my granddaughter never goes through what my daughters had to. By the time I started this family tradition, our financial situation had improved. I am happy that people are noticing and appreciating us. Even though I could not prevent my daughters from having to work when they were little girls, I can now dream of a better future for my granddaughter”