Jaipur: Residents of Chirawa town in Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan were in for a pleasant surprise to see a bride sitting in a horse-drawn carriage and leading the procession for a pre-wedding ritual of 'Bandori'.
In order to spread the message that daughters are in no way inferior to sons, Gargi Ahlawat, an MBA from UK has been going around in different localities in Jhunjhunu in the horse carriage for the last three days.
Gargi is the daughter of Jhunjhunu MP Santosh Ahlawat and her reversal of the popular ritual has received wide acceptance.
"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.
'Bandori' is one of the less-practiced rituals now and is slightly different from the traditional 'bindoli' which is a popular pre-wedding 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 is set to marry Delhi-based Kushal in Udaipur on February 8 followed by a reception in Delhi on February 10.
Santosh Ahlawat, Gargi's mother, stressed on the importance of changing the patriarchal mindset of the society to bring about the elimination of gender divide.
"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 's focus on 'Beti Bachao' campaign. I am happy that my daughter has taken the initiative forward," she said....