A woman has been going around Chirawa town of Jhunjhunu district, Rajasthan, in a horse-carriage to lead a procession of a pre-wedding ritual of ‘Bandori’. Traditionally, a man is supposed to perform this ritual, however, Gargi Ahlawat, an MBA from UK, has been going around the areas of Jhunjunu to try to push for gender equality.
Ahlawat, daughter of Jhunjhunu MP, Santosh Ahlawat, wants people to treat their daughters as equal to their sons. This act is widely appreciated by residents of the rural area. "People in rural and semi-rural areas can be influenced by action but not by articles in newspapers or TV shows. My mother is campaigning for 'Beti Bacho, Beti Padhao'. This action coming from the daughter of an MP can set an example for others to follow. A woman riding a horse carriage for the ritual is bound to be noticed and followed by other families soon," said Gargi to The Times of India.
Courtesy: The Times Of India
'Bandori' is rarely practiced in today’s times and is slightly different from the traditional of 'Bindoli', which is another famous ritual in North India. "As the bindoli tradition says that relatives invite both the groom and the bride for a feast before the marriage. So the groom has the privilege of riding a horse till their house after the feast. I have changed the ritual by riding a horse till my house or a temple," said Gargi.
Gargi will marry Delhi-based Kushal in Udaipur on February 8. Gargi’s mother Santosh Ahlawat says that changing gender stereotypes are crucial in today’s time. "My district had skewed sex ratio which I fought like a warrior. Things have improved a lot in the last few years as awareness has increased with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's focus on 'Beti Bachao' campaign. I am happy that my daughter has taken the initiative forward," said Ahlawat.