New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) Sunil Jaglan, a Haryana village headman whose online drive for the girl child went viral on Twitter after Prime Minister Narendra Modi endorsed it, is now determined to take it to the nomadic tribes so that they can spread the message to other parts of the state and beyond.
An inspired Jaglan, 33, the sarpanch of Bibipur village in Jind district, some 120 km from the national capital, has a string of other ideas to spread awareness about the rights of the girl child.
He started a campaign that said: “Dadi chahegi toh beti aayegi.” (A daughter needs the support of her grandmother). He organised a women’s maha-panchayat.
After his selfies with daughter programme found mention in Modi’s radio address to the nation “Mann ki Baat”, Jaglan now wants to reach out to the people who do not own cell phones.
“We are looking for ghumantaran jaatiyan (nomadic tribes). We will help them take selfies if they don’t have a phone and will post it online,” Jaglan told IANS over phone from his village.
He says his efforts are aimed at working for the protection and education of the girl child and women rights.
The website of Haryana government’s department for the welfare of Scheduled Castes and backward classes has identified 20 nomadic tribes for educational facilities.
“We have coined another slogan: Bahu do, vote lo,” he said and explained that political leaders who campaign for votes will have to convince the electorate on what steps they will take for women’s rights.
Jaglan, who describes himself as “one of the most regular listeners” of “Mann ki Baat”, was surprised when Modi in his radio address praised his efforts.
“You can say it was my sixth sense. I posted on that day (June 28) on Facebook that we would listen to Modiji’s address,” Jaglan said.
“It was quite unbelievable for us that the prime minister would talk about our initiative. A smile crossed my face when I heard it,” Jaglan told IANS.
He had announced the drive on June 9 in his village in a state which is notorious for having one of the most skewed sex ratios in the country.
According to the 2011 Census, there are 879 women to 1,000 men in the state. The national average is marginally better at 940 females per 1,000 males.
Elected as the headman of the village with a population of some 5,000 people, Jaglan holds multiple degrees, namely, a B.Sc., M.Sc., M.A. and M.C.A.
“I am an educationist. I keep thinking of ways to use the social media to take my message to the people,” Jaglan told IANS.
The eldest of four children, Jaglan said he was motivated to help the girl child from a young age. His father is a retired school teacher and the family ensured that all his three younger sisters are well educated.
The birth of his elder daughter in 2010 was a turning point in his life as it reinforced his determination to work for the cause of the girl child.
“I am very close to both my daughters. I feel the birth of a daughter should be celebrated as the birth of a son is,” he said.
He says his work has gradually improved the sex ratio in his village. In 2013, 51 girls were born in the village compared to 47 boys. Their number was the same the following year, while this year has seen the birth of 15 boys and 19 girls so far, Jaglan said.
He is confident of reaching out to more people with his initiatives coupled with the use of technology.
He claims to have responded to over 300 RTI applications ever since he assumed office.
Jaglan says people have increasingly become interested in his “hi-tech” village and that he has scanned some 3,000 pages of work-related documents which can be sent via email.
(Priyanka can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)