While the majority is still discussing on how to deal with problems of declining sex ratio, violence against women and shrinking greenery, here is a man who has found a novel way to sensitize people on all of them.
‘Shloka Beti Garden’ is taking shape speedily in Udaipur which would be perhaps the first of its kind in the country. Unlike other gardens, this one would be a platform where parents would rejoice the birth of their girl child. Daughter’s birth would be celebrated here at the expense of the Siddha Peeth which would arrange for rituals like yagya, hawan and prasad to invoke blessings for the infants.
To welcome the daughters as avatars of mother nature and godesses like Lakshmi, Durga and Saraswati, the parents and relatives would be made to plant trees of therapeutic values. The project is the brainchild of Devendra Agrawal, founder of Maa Bhagwati Vikas Sansthan, an NGO, which has been working ardently for the cause of saving abandoned infants especially girls for nine years now in Udaipur.
Agrawal is also the man behind the set up of Divya Mother Milk Bank, the first of its kind not only in Rajasthan but North India. After the success of the bank in Udaipur, Agrawal has been appointed as the state advisor for project envisaging set up of milk banks, one in each district by this year.
“The construction of the garden is ongoing on a vast land of 2 acres at Tiger Hill in Badi area. The estimated budget is around Rs 1 crore which is being met by public contribution and charity. The garden would be ready for dedication within six months,” Devendra Agrawal said. “Our society is prejudiced and people still have priorities for sons. At Beti Garden we aim to make people realize that there is no difference between them. Girls should be welcomed with dignity and love,” he added.
The Siddha Peeth would charge no money for the rituals, chants and prasad, however, if anyone would like to offer an ‘Annaprasadam’ it would be made available at nominal price. Agarawal’s cradle project that started in April 2007 has received 138 babies so far who were saved due to their safe abandonment in cradles.