The road to India’s ‘Epic’ Issue
Media associated with this campaign
Overview of this campaign
India’s ‘epic’ Issue
The Ramayana is an ancient Indian epic poem which narrates the struggle of the divine prince Rama to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana. Till date, every year we burn the effigy of Ravana symbolizing the victory of good over evil.
Paradoxically, it’s the same country with 915 girls to 1000 boys. Multiply that to a scale of 1.2 billion, to estimate how many million baby girls are exterminated every year: poisoned, buried alive, abandoned or, most often, just scooped out of the womb. An estimated 6 million girls were aborted in India over the past decade by couples determined to have a son. The practice is more widespread among wealthier, educated families, who are able to afford the required prenatal tests/medical interventions.
Our PM appealed, “We should protect the Sita of our home and stop discriminating between girls and boys. How many Sitas will we kill in the womb?”
Dainik Jagran set afoot on the long road to creating an equal world for ‘half of humanity’. The challenge was doing it in a society where economics and hunger drive decisions, and the girl child was a dispensable commodity. In times where rhetoric took over genuine intent, where gender wasn’t anybody’s priority, where economic growth only strengthened prejudices against the girl child, it was time we stirred the conscience of Indians. What if we gave the girl child a vehicle to express herself and talk to India directly? After all, she had every right to a life with dignity. It was a significant leap of faith when we handed over the editorial reins of the newspaper to 8 girl children across 8 cities on 11th Oct – International Day of the Girl Child. Specific objectives of this unique plan were to:
- Lend a 1st person voice on the gender issue
- Demonstrate a view of the world from a girl’s perspective
Not sell more copies, but propel Dainik Jagran as an agenda-setting newspaper
Results for this campaign
We invited 10 girls across 8 different cities to be part of the newsroom and be the Guest Editor for the day on 11th Oct – the occasion being the International Day of the Girl Child. This day was marked by the UN to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. It focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights. If effectively supported during the adolescent years, girls have the potential to change the world – both as the empowered girls of today and as tomorrow’s workers, mothers, entrepreneurs, mentors, household heads, and political leaders. An investment in realizing the power of adolescent girls upholds their rights today and promises a more equitable and prosperous future.
The girls trained in our newsrooms and had discussions with the Editorial Teams, and created a newspaper from their point view. On 11th October, our readers woke up to a newspaper which spoke about an issue often dusted under the carpet. It was a newspaper that stirred the collective conscience of millions of Indians.
1.16 mn copies of the newspaper edited by girls were out in the market on 11th October .
We demonstrated a larger intent on the gender issue in India. We created a platform for the girls to directly voice their opinion on the world. It was a uniquely fulfilling experiment to see the “subject” becoming the “spokesperson”. It gave the girls a certain sense of empowerment. It amplified their voice. It sent out a signal that investing in the girl child is investing in peace and prosperity. It brought to light the truth that India chooses to ignore – that economic growth does not automatically mean gender justice.
Yes, we know the change will not happen overnight, but the longest, arduous of journeys begin with a 1st step – and we knew we were on the right path.