Years ago, Natu Parmar was unable to fulfill her dream of arriving on horseback to her wedding due to fear of a negative reaction from the upper castes in her village. He set a perfect example of female empowerment by having his daughter sit not on a horse but on an elephant during her wedding procession.
This Friday, he not only kept his promise but went even further by getting his 23-year-old daughter, Bharti, out of her pre-wedding procession sitting on an elephant. This procession was a strong message to society.
The elephant, decorated in bright colors, was called from Ahmedabad. The animal had banners that read “Let the child teach” and “Give the girl rights”. There was also a picture of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar who went on to convey the message of equal rights for all regardless of caste and gender.
While even today an FIR is recorded every month for a pre-wedding procession led by a Dalit, one can only wonder what the situation would be two decades ago? At the time of his marriage, Natu Parmar was refused by the elders to take the procession and it was then that he decided he would not allow this to happen to his children.
Parmar was earlier in the news for staging a protest at the collector’s office with a cow carcass while opposing the Una flogging incident in 2016. He has an NGO called Navnirman Trust which works for the cause of the Dalits and the service of sick cows. The trust also has a museum in which the plastic consumed by the cows has been kept, so that by reducing the use of plastic we can spread the message of protecting cows.
Bharti is currently working as a General Nurse at Limdi General Hospital with a degree in Nursing and Midwifery. Parmar has two sons aged 19 and 21 who, like their older sister, are trained in nursing. “Boys put their mother’s name in their school records instead of their father’s, to convey the message of female empowerment,” Parmar said.
Bharti’s in-laws are also aware of Parmar’s love for Bharti and her elaborate statement. Parmar said: “Police permission is required to use the elephant, but no police protection was taken at the event. If the people cannot live freely even after 75 years of independence, when can we claim their rights?
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