‘Wadhaai Hoye Munda Hoya Hai (Congratulations, it’s a boy)!’, is an expression that rings in the air whenever a boy is born in Punjabi families. The occasion is marked with celebrations and exchange of sweets. But in the case of a girl child, such a celebration is rare.
Rajvinder Khaira (30), a UK-based lawyer, wanted to change this. Her campaign, ‘Pink Ladoo’, was born out of the need to generate awareness gender discrimination and the need to end it.
“My parents were perfectly happy when my younger sister was born. But some in my extended family actually cried,” Khaira told The Indian Express over phone. “I couldn’t believe it. I was only 10. But when my brother was born two years later, it was a celebration. All this happened in England, imagine the mindset of Punjabi families in India!”
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Each year, on January 13, Punjabi families, who have been blessed with a boy child, celebrate Lohri with grandeur. Yellow-coloured ladoos are exchanged and is the hallmark of congratulation.
The ‘Pink Ladoo’ campaign is just what its name suggests – distribute pink ladoos for the girl child. “It is just not about a ladoo that is pink. It is about ending gender discrimination in South Asian countries, especially India. We want to change the way people react when a girl is born. It is about creating a new custom of distributing ladoos even when girls are born, not only boys,” said Khaira.
Punjabi artist turned Aam Aadmi Party leader Jassi Jasraj, whose wife gave birth to their second daughter in Canada in October last year, supports the campaign, said, “In Punjab where Lohri means celebration for boys only … We want to end this. Is should be Lohri for Her too. I distributed ladoos when my daughter was born.”
At the ‘Her Lohri’ celebrations held in Nottingham on Sunday by Punjabi community, Pink Ladoos were distributed along with books spreading awareness against female foeticide.
“Currently the campaign is across the UK, where South Asian sweet shops have agreed to supply pink ladoos to their customers. The campaign will also be going live across Australia in March and across Canada in May. In India, Chandigarh and Gujarat is where we have started and looking for ambassadors in other states,” said Khaira.