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Every culture has its own traditions surrounding the birth of a child. While we celebrate newborn girls by sending pink dresses and dolls, in the village of Piplantri in Rajasthan, India, they celebrate by planting 111 trees.

That’s right, every time a little girl is born in Piplantri, 111 trees are planted in her honor!

In most Indian villages, the birth of a daughter was historically considered a burden for a family. Rural villages operate on the dowry system which contributes to the high cost of marriage for households with daughters. As a result, daughters were often regarded as lesser than their male counterparts and many were married before they reached the age of 18; few received a proper education.

Violence against women derived from these attitudes is still a heated topic in India. The documentary “India’s Daughters,” was recently banned due to its upfront portrayal of rape and abuse in the country.

In juxtaposition, the tradition of planting trees to welcome the birth of female children in Piplantri seems to completely reject these historical constraints, fostering hope that attitudes towards women can change.

This amazing custom was started by former village leader Shyam Sundar Paliwal to honor his daughter who passed away when she was young. Although Paliwal no longer serves as the village’s leader, the tradition has continued nonetheless.

When a girl is born, village members band together to raise a sort of “trust” for the girl. The parents contribute one-third of the sum of 31,000 Rupees, equivalent to $500, and the money is set aside as a 20-year fund for the girl. This ensures that she will never be considered a financial burden for her parents.

This Amazing Village in India Plants 111 Trees Everytime a Little Girl is Born

In return for this trust, the parents sign a legal affidavit that states that the daughter will only be married after she reaches the age of 18 and has received a proper education. The affidavit states that the 111 trees must be taken care of as well.

This Amazing Village in India Plants 111 Trees Everytime a Little Girl is Born

It’s a clever little catch, but the practice of planting trees in conjunction with the birth of a child actually works to ensure that the local environment will be able to support the ever growing population. 

This Amazing Village in India Plants 111 Trees Everytime a Little Girl is Born

Not only does this beautiful tradition foster a deep appreciation for females in the village, but it also instills a remarkable sense of environmental stewardship. 

Gehrilal Balai, a father who planted 111 saplings last year, told Hindustan Times that he felt the same happiness in looking after the saplings as lulling his daughter to sleep. 

This Amazing Village in India Plants 111 Trees Everytime a Little Girl is Born

The trees become a symbol for the baby girl and the villagers work just as hard to protect the trees from termites, by planting aloe vera, as they do the girls from all the hardships of life. 

This Amazing Village in India Plants 111 Trees Everytime a Little Girl is Born

Seeing the intimate connection between the social health and environmental health of the village, Paliwal’s tradition has created a truly sustainable future for community members. 

This Amazing Village in India Plants 111 Trees Everytime a Little Girl is Born

Over the course of the past six years, a quarter of a million trees have been planted in Piplantri. Villagers credit the harmony that this tradition has brought to their community with the dramatic drop in crime. Not to mention their renewed adoration of little girls.
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When we see the connection between social issues and look to their environmental roots, we can find unique and incredible solutions to the world’s modern problems. You might not think that something as insignificant as a sapling could change the world, but remember, that sapling will one day grow into an enormous tree.

All image source: Piplantri.com

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311 comments on “This Amazing Village in India Plants 111 Trees Every Time a Little Girl is Born”

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Orta Elizabeth
4 Months Ago

Mohd Shahid " When we see the connection between social issues and look to their environmental roots, we can find unique and incredible solutions to the world’s modern problems. You might not think that something as insignificant as a sapling could change the world, but remember, that sapling will one day grow into an enormous tree."


Reply
Maria Matura
4 Months Ago

Wonderful costume


Reply
Jerree Pillai
4 Months Ago

Amazing people.


Reply
Frank Drolet
4 Months Ago

CNN is gonna shame them for sexism, why don’t you do it for boy and transgender too?


Reply
Abbey Franssen-Stewart
4 Months Ago

Celeste Lymn


Reply
Ho Aghayani
4 Months Ago

113 is not a better idea


Reply
Vivienne Saunders
4 Months Ago

Niamh Cowley Sinéad Cowley


Reply
Bee Nash-Milton
5 Months Ago

Planting the trees is a beautful way to show love for the new being but the other part of it dowry system needs to be eliminated.


Reply
soulshadow55
30 Dec 2017

"In juxtaposition, the tradition of planting trees to welcome the birth of female children in Piplantri seems to completely reject these historical constraints, fostering hope that attitudes towards women can change." It looks like they started this project as an attempt to eliminate the dowry system.



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