Beautiful deep eyes with serenity of the sea,
Reflection of the sky’s on a bright and sunny day,
My little hand in yours, my protector and my guide,
Don’t walk too fast granddad for I am by your side.
– Sinead Harris
Next month its going to be 4 years since my Granddad who is – My Hero – since childhood passed away. In all these years not even once I felt he is gone away, he is always beside, guiding me to be affectionate, adventurous , benign, to have warm place in heart for all and a story teller like him.
Going down memory lane my Granddad was soft spoken, affectionate, benign, punctual and a story teller to village kids as well as for his grandchildren. I have seen him since the time where he was going quite comfortable with his old age in partially bald grey hair, wrinkled face, brittle bones, and stick to support him walking. One who was always ready to share his travels, adventures, helping nature experiences and world’s daily NEWS. Being in Indian British Army he has travelled widely to parts of Europe, Middle East, East Africa, North Africa, West Africa and neighboring nations to India. Main occupation of my ancestors was farming but because of unpredicted droughts, heavy rains, famine he has to take up job.
After he retired from Indian British Army he joined another job Imperial Tobacco Company of India , so he often tells us ways of British people’s functioning. He along with my grandmother supported big family including his father a widow sister and their nine children. He had three sons and six daughter, he tried to educate all his three sons to maximum of his capability and daughters were married as soon grooms found for them, not a single thought was given to educate them irrespective of the fact two of his daughter got scholarship to continue their studies. Out of three of his sons, only his eldest son reached up to University level which bought reforms in the family belief system. Others took up farming as main occupation and joined armed services.
After his eldest son’s marriage, family was blessed with first Grandchild and a GIRL Child. First child that too a girl child in an Rajput family (where patriarch system exists) was total unwelcome, a shock and a hard reality to face by my grandparents. Granddaughter’s birth supposedly was complete blow for them who were eagerly waiting for a grandson’s as a heir, for large piece of land they owed.
And now started his love and pretention of not to show love relationship for his granddaughter, son and daughter In law. It was impossible for him to dislike most beautiful and precious gifts of god… ..a GIRL. Society norms and invincible ambition for a boy child to our age-old belief may have imposed a lot of pressure for him for masking his love for his granddaughter but her innocent smile, tenderness , twinkle in eyes, were enough to forgot all hatred for a girl child.
Then few years later they were blessed with another child and again a girl, who was utterly unwelcome and could have been thrown out from the house if his Son didn’t stood for her. Third consecutive girl child was not even thought about. In ignorance Grandparents repeatedly made to feel, told how guilty and how much failure their daughter in law has bought to the family. In my perception abuses were more of my grandparents own internal insecurities than for their Daughter In Law. Deep inside they were worried for their children, for expenses involved in raising a girl child, their educations, no income generation, protection required for them, their marriage and dowry involved in it, going against society norms for strong desire for a boy child to our age-old belief systems, large piece of agricultural land and hier for running ancestral name. Earlier, they were not aware, and not enlightened enough to understand the power of Supreme the one who has blessed them with such beautiful creation has already plans for them.
His second son who was not well educated had wonderful farming skills. Because of his tall, sporty, tough farming personality he easily get through armed services. After his marriage he was too blessed with two daughters. By this time my grandparents have learned to live with the hard fact of living with five granddaughters. The message of Almighty was understood by them, though they still longed for a grandson.
Most of villagers may be sympathetic to my grandfather. Three families beside our neighborhood always gavetough time, pressurizing him, humiliated his family more than once. All, these three families has each of 7-8 daughters for want of a boy. I’m not sure I should thank such families for contributing to curb widening difference in Indian male female ratio or question them for disgracing their daughters to make them understand they were unwanted child in family.
Because of going for girls decision he had bitter relation with his both sons but see the maturity of Indian family system neither my granddad bought his bitterness to his grandchildren nor our parents , uncle ,aunt had anything bitter for their parents , parents in Law. Our Grandparents has given us unconditional love, kindness, patience, humor, comfort, lessons of life, due to which we all granddaughters could face world of boys petty easily.
His youngest son was too close to his mother, who would never expect to disregard his mother’s wish had tremendous pressure to fulfill his parents wish. After his marriage, whole village people, relatives, his parents were ready to support in any ill practice to have a Boy in family. By that time Indian market was flooded with all latest technique for sex determination techniques like biopsy, sonograms, ultrasounds, scan tests and amniocenteses to detect foetal abnormalities. Unfortunately, these tests were used as a tool by number of Indian families to detect the sex of the child that is yet to born. But Like his elder brothers commitment to bought reforms in the society/family belief system, he stood against everyone. He was too blessed with two daughters.
Facing all odds, shocks, curses, guilts with their family’s constant support…..Those seven unwanted granddaughters grew up to as grown up humans as any Grandson would have grown and created niche for themselves…. Today beside being helpers in ancestral farming occupation they are Software Engineer, Lecturer, Associate Scientist, Pharmacist, soon going to be Pharmacist and youngest of all doing good in studies..And out of seven granddaughters 3 granddaughter remain toppers throughout.
My granddad who initially was ashamed of telling he don’t have any Grandson was proud to have such a peculiar Rajput family who set example before masses. To EMBRACE GIRL Child. And a family to set example among masses who fought against society norm to have boy child, female feticide and dowry (two daughters married in family were married without any dowry). Though my extended family members may have faced lots of hardship, humiliation, bitterness, I would like to say our family is a role model for all India who consider Girl as Second Sex.
Next month it’s going to be 4th death anniversary of my Granddad and with all my 6 sisters I salute my youngest Uncle, Aunt, elder Uncle, Aunt and my parents to make attitudinal shift for saying -My Grandfather wanted a …. Grandson!..My Grandfather was proud to have Granddaughters.
It is ironical Indian worship Goddesses like Durga, Kali, Laxmi, Saraswati which are various Avatars of women but on other hand kill a girl child even before she is born. According to census 933 girls over 1000 is an alarming number of missing daughters and warning to save girl child. I urge to nation please understand this…if creator is killed, humane race will be in danger.
To Save Humans Race, Save Girls.