In a country where male children are still favored over females, Piplantri village of 8,000 in Rajasthan offers a refreshing and modern perspective. The endearing village embraces its daughters and has even created a tradition that benefits both the local people and the planet every time a girl is born.
To save its daughters and create a greener planet, the community of Piplantri village plants 111 trees every time a girl comes into the world and the community ensures these trees survive, attaining fruition as the girls grow up. On an average 60 girls are born here every year, according to the village’s former sarpanch Shyam Sundar Paliwal. Over the last six years, people here have managed to plant over a quarter million trees on the village’s grazing commons- inlcuding neem, sheesham, mango, Amla among others.
The reason behind this tradition? To ensure that an increase in human population will never come at a cost to the environment. It’s an eco-friendly tradition that is literally helping to ensure a greener future with each new generation – how brilliant!
Below are some beautiful photos of the community upholding this tradition:
As a female child is born, the village gathers to plant 111 trees.
Village residents collect 21,000 Rupees between themselves and 10,000 Rupees from the girl’s parent’s. The total sum of 31,000 Rupees (equivalent to $497.51 USD) is made into a 20-year fixed deposit for the girl.
Parents are legally bound by a signed affidavit stating that their daughter will receive proper education. The affadavit also mandates that the girl should be married only after she reaches the legal age, and the trees planted after her birth must be correctly looked after.
The community works together to ensure the trees survive, attaining fruition as the girl blossoms into womanhood.
They villagers don’t just plant the trees – they care for them diligently as well. The trees are protected from termites and have aloe vera planted around them.
And the trees – especially the aloe vera plants – are now a source of livelihood for several residents. “Gradually, we realized that aloevera could be processed and marketed in a variety of ways. So we invited some experts and asked them to train our women. Now residents make and market aloevera products like juice, gel, pickle etc,” says Mr. Paliwal.
Shyam Sundar Paliwal, the village’s former leader, first suggested this tradition in honor of his daughter who passed away at a young age. In the past 6 years, over a quarter of a million trees have been planted.
The village panchayat, which has a studio-recorded anthem and a website of its own, has completely banned alcohol, open grazing of animals and cutting of trees. The villagers also say there has not been any police cases for the past 7-8 years!
People also plant 11 trees whenever a family member dies.