Modi Ji, Bachao!
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao!
Initial funding of Rs 100 crore – and a vow to create awareness for educating and empowering the girl child – is how Narendra Modi kickstarted his social scheme. Three years on, the phrase has been used over and over again by the Prime Minister and other leaders of his party – but where is our girl child today?
Perhaps the meaning of “beti bachao” got lost in the repetition. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report, there has been an 82 percent increase in the number of cases of rape in 2016 – just a year after the scheme was launched.
Perhaps “beti bachao” became reduced to merely a call to prevent female foeticide... and even that hasn’t been followed wholeheartedly – the same NCRB data showed that there has been a dip of only 10 percent in female foeticide from 2014 to 2015.
Perhaps “beti bachao” always meant that only some daughters could be saved, and many others were never included because they had the wrong religion. Take Kathua, where PM Modi’s party leaders felt it appropriate to back the Hindu Ekta Sena as it marched in support of the rape-accused.
Perhaps “beti bachao” only meant that our daughters can be saved so long as their perpetrators aren’t also their legislators. Take Unnao, where it took a rape survivor several years and a dead father to be noticed by the law.
Perhaps the only time we’ll hear a sincere “beti bachao” is when it’s used to coax the government out of its morbid silence on the daily rapes scarring our psyches.
Or perhaps “beti bachao” are the only two words we have left to remind the government of its shamelessly broken promises.
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