To the surprise of their grooms and the guests, two brides in Jind town of Haryana added two more `pheras' (circumambulation of the sacred fire) to the traditional seven at their wedding pledging to save their `daughters' and trees.
The couples took the `pheras' with the promise to their respective partners that they would do their best to save the environment and work against female foeticide.
In place of gold or silver ornaments, the brides took 11 different plants as ‘dowry’ from their parents to their new home.
22-year-old bride Chanchal Sain told :I want to make more and more people aware of the imbalance we’re creating in the world by killing our daughters and polluting our environment.I’m happy that my partner took the vow when I suggested.
Surender Singh, her husband, said :I had no idea about Chanchal’s plan.But after we took the nine pheras, everybody in the ‘baraat’ congratulated us with even more enthusiasm.
Chanchal’s cousin Damini, a student of BCom first year, also took the pledge to save the girl child and the environment.
The cousins got the inspiration for the move from Chanchal’s father, Jagdeep Singh.
42-year-old Jagdeep, a teacher in Chandigarh, has been associated with environmental campaigns for 25 years.
Haryana is known to have a skewed sex ratio.
In the 2011 census, the state was placed at the bottom, with just 834 girls per 1,000 boys in the 0-6 age group.
The overall sex ratio in Haryana was 879 women per 1,000 men, against the national ratio of 943 women per 1,000 men.
All India Democratic Women’s Association state president Shakuntala Jakhar welcomed the couple’s initiative.
Jakhar said:The participation of more and more youths in the campaign to save our girls would change the mindset of people towards women.