In most Indian villages, a boy is the preferred gender, and the birth of a daughter was considered a burden. However, in the village of Piplantri, villagers carry out a unique ritual when a baby girl is being born. The ritual involves planting 111 trees are planted in the honor of a baby girl being born.
The tradition was first suggested by the village’s former leader, Shyam Sundar Paliwal, in honor of his daughter who passed away at a young age. The tradition of planting trees to welcome the birth of female children in Piplantri seems to completely reject these historical constraints, in the hope that attitudes towards men can change.
When a girl is born, village members join together to raise a ‘trust’ for the girl. The parents contribute one-third of the sum of Rs 31,000, equivalent to $500, and the money is set aside as a 20 year fund for the girl. This ensures that she will never be considered a financial burden for her parents. In return for this trust, the parents sign a legal affidavit that states that the daughter will only be married after she reaches the age of 18 and has received a proper education. The affidavit also states that the 111 trees must be taken care of.
Not only does this tradition deeply appreciated females in the village, but it also instills a remarkable sense of environmental protection. Gehrilal Balai, a father who planted 111 saplings last year, that he felt the same happiness in looking after the saplings as lulling his daughter to sleep. Over the last six years, as the population there has increased, villagers in Piplantri have planted nearly a quarter million trees – a welcoming forest for the community’s youngest members, offering a bit of shade for their brighter future.