The Telegraph
Sunday , December 11 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Tableau honour for hamlet

Patna, Dec. 10: Lawmakers striving to stop female foeticide can make Dharhara a model village for all in the country to take a few lessons from.

For ages, the residents of Dharhara, a remote village in the hinterland of Bhagalpur, have been planting 10 fruit-bearing trees to celebrate the birth of a girl.

The state government has now decided to showcase the custom as a theme of its tableau during the Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26.

“This a matter of great pride for us that our tableau would be on the roll for the fifth consecutive time. Our theme, which is a combination of women empowerment and environment protection, has been cleared by the expert committee of defence ministry,” information and public relations department minister Brishan Patel told reporters here.

A Sohar (local song) would accompany the tableau for a few seconds.

Patel, who expressed concern over global warming following indiscriminate felling of trees and female foeticide, said the custom of Dharhara must be promoted nationally. This would provide honour to women, besides protecting the environment.

Department secretary Rajesh Bhushan said getting nominated for tableau was not an easy task as out of 28 states, about 10 get a chance to showcase their culture and tradition.

“We wanted to present Dharhara village as a role model on the national-level and hence the state government sent this as a theme to the expert committee of defence ministry which cleared the tableau,” Bhushan said.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar, during his Vishwas Yatra last year, had hailed the Dharhara villagers’ initiatives for protecting the women and the environment. The villagers’ concern for the girl child and environment needed publicity across the country and the world, Kumar had said.

The village came into the limelight in 2010 for the first time when it was reported that the families plant a minimum of 10 fruit-bearing trees whenever a girl child is born.

Dharhara village, having a population of 4,547 with a sex ratio of 1000:871, is spread across 1,200 acres. Of this, 400 acres are fully covered with fruit-bearing trees, including 10,000 mango, 4,000 litchi, 1,000 lime, jackfruit and wood apple each, 500 guava, 200 blackberry and others.

Patel said the chief minister believes that one day Dharhara will lead the nation in women empowerment and environment conservation.