A recent wedding in Haryana has proved to be a great step towards girls’ education. Just before taking the pheras, the bride asked the groom to pledge something to her. She asked him to promise that he would fund the education for 11 girls before they would complete their marriage rituals.
This wedding took place between Poonam, the daughter of a teacher from Bilawal village in Bhiwani, and Sandeep Kumar, from Jhajjar. The bride’s request stunned everyone present there as it was quite unusual for her to do. Everyone waited to hear what the groom’s response would be, and sighs of relief were heard when the groom agreed to her request. All the guests present at the wedding raised their hands as witnesses to the groom’s pledge.
Poonam is a postgraduate from a local government college, and she has been an associate of a local social worker called Sanjay Ramphal. Sanjay was present at this wedding, and he says:
When Poonam was asked what the inspiration behind her request was, she said she had heard about the eight phera. This eight phera had been introduced in Bhiwani by a Red Cross official a few years ago. She told the Times of India that this phera was a pledge by the couple not to participate in female foeticide (killing the fetus when it is a female). She says that:
“I know that most campaigns rarely see success. Keeping this in mind, I wanted to do something challenging and something that will really change some lives.”
At the wedding, Poonam explained her idea to the guests by saying that she had been giving her husband hints about the resolve that she wanted him to take. She also said that she told him she would reveal this resolve to him at the correct time. She decided to make him pledge to educate girl children because Sandeep runs a coaching center.
“It is different as nobody takes such a pledge, and certainly not on the wedding day. It is challenging because I will have to be an equal partner in ensuring that the pledge is fulfilled.”
Rajdeep Phogat, who is Dadris MLA (Minister of Legislative Assembly), had attended this wedding. He has gone ahead and praised the initiative that Poonam took:
“This is an exemplary initiative, and we wish all success to the couple. Such incidents make us proud as well. We, too, need to learn from their pledge.”