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#SelfieWithDaughter Campaign : Why I Believe It’s Not Enough

Posted: July 7, 2015
 Will #SelfieWith Daughter campaign on social media really help the plight of India women? The writer does not think so and this is why!
A few days back, Indian twitterati went ablaze when our PM started the #IncredibleIndia campaign. Everyone who wanted a piece of the pie shared pictures to prove the point that India really is incredible. Getting re-tweeted by the Prime Minister suddenly became the new show-off-quotient. #IncredibleIndia trended for a few days and maybe even helped the country to be better placed on the world’s tourism map after all the negative publicity about India being unsafe for women (which,I am not denying).
Now, #IncredibleIndia is something I completely support and I hope that it resurrects the lost interest of the international traveller in our nation. Some things are relatively easier to rectify and in such cases Social Media can prove a huge boom to spread the word.

But, there are things that need much more attention than armchair-resolutions. The state of women in this nation is one out of many grave issues which need real activism and not just a social-media trend. A #SelfieWithDaughter won’t make India safe for women, or control female infanticide, or stop dowry deaths or keep a check on domestic violence. These are issues which have been neglected by our leaders since time immemorial and my #AchcheDin will come only when these issues are taken seriously instead of just starting campaigns and not digging deeper.

These are issues that are not skin deep, these are beliefs that are rooted into the bloodstream of our nation. Also, given the attention span of people these days, it is futile to invest in something that’ll be as easily forgotten as it got trending. It would have made better news if the PM did something real to support one single girl child in any way. That would have created a larger impact and a bigger news to influence people, if that was the thought behind starting a selfie-campaign. Armchair-campaigns won’t resolve the twisted mindsets of those who might post a #SelfieWithDaughter due to being a Modi-Bhakt but will still believe that she is #ParayaDhan.

As much as I support Gay rights, I don’t need a rainbow colored profile picture to show that.

As much as I support Gay rights, I don’t need a rainbow colored profile picture to show that. I wrote my heart out for Jyoti Singh Pandey, not once but a number of times without reducing myself to a black circle on Facebook. My support for the Indian Cricket Team is regardless of the fact that my blood is red ( I don’t bleed blue, and nor does anyone else)

#SelfieWithDaughter is nothing more but another such thing for me. It’s just a campaign which will trend for a while and die a natural death. Unlike many daughters who were burnt alive for dowry or killed in the womb. Sigh.

I fail to understand why we don’t accept that there are things which are clearly wrong with the nation. Why do we glamorize hollow initiatives instead of pushing for bigger reforms? Why do we want to settle for the mediocrity of accepting whatever little is available instead of asking for what really is needed? Why are we happy that a campaign as shallow as #SelfieWithDaughter is trending instead of worrying why there are no real ground-level initiatives to change the way the nation treats its women? One that might not be a real issue, but still bothers me – Why are Sakshi Maharaj and the ones with similar thought process still allowed to speak and spread venom against women but a documentary which only reinforced the reality of #IndiasDaughters is banned?

Maybe, I should wait and watch if there’s more to #SelfieWithDaughter than just what is trending.

Maybe, I should wait and watch if there’s more to #SelfieWithDaughter than just what is trending. There’s little hope, though. Little, because a few months back, PM Modi urged people to plant five trees when a daughter is born. It’s a noble thing to do, but then cutting those trees off to sell the timber to be able to fund her wedding – how 21st-century is that? Interestingly, he doesn’t ask people to do the same for funding a boy’s wedding, because, well, you know why!


Picture Credits- Narendra Modi for PM – Page on Facebook

 #SelfieWithDaughter created a fair share of controversies and Ms Shruti Seth  came into limelight after a lull in her acting career. Her open letter to the PM brought her into the centre of political attention. It all could easily be a stunt to grab some publicity, but I would still defend her right to free speech. Even before she (or her PR team) uttered those words, #SelfieWithDaugher made no sense to me as a woman who is at the crossroads of a freedom struggle with her own nation.

India, as a whole needs to wake up from slumber right now. It’s already too late for minimal actions like selfies to work. It’s time for real action now or else we’ll lose a war. Today, some states like Haryana have such a skewed sex ratio that there are no brides for their boys. Tomorrow, this might be the country’s plight and the worst nightmare of India’s parents might come true. Then, people might remember their #SelfieWithDaughter and hope those girls were treated with a little respect.

Mother daughter selfie image via Shutterstock

First published at the author’s blog

A software engineer, a realist, and a cribber by the day. A chef, a writer,

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  1. 🙂 totally agree with you.

  2. “creating awareness” and “reforms” are not one, they are not the same.

    Creating awareness is to induce a change in the mindset of the people which, cannot be achieved by way of laws or reforms. Change in the mindset is more difficult, esp when it is deep rooted as in the case of such issues, it cannot be brought forth in a day, certainly cannot be accomplished with police or guns.

    Before slamming Modi because of this selfie-with-daughter campaign, how many people know that it was not “invented” by Modi?
    It was a humble attempt by a panchayat head of a remote village in Haryana, a state with skewed up gender ratio.

    Modi, only promoted the campaign.

    I see humility in Modi, a great leader in him, for having taking up the idea from another, a lower rung leader and promoting it for the pure merit of the scheme.

    For those who claim that the selfie is not a plan, lament that it is not a reform to help women, do they know that Modi had launched a “Sukanya Samridhi Yojna” earlier this year – a reform to help girl children. It was a tangible scheme, which you are looking for. There are many more such “reforms” which is being brought about, for the benefit of the girl child, for the benefit and safety of women.

    And, there are some “creating awareness” campaign too like this “selfie with daughter” – to open up the mind of people, to change the perspective, to bring about a change in the way a daughter is looked at. And rest assured, this campaign it is not costing crores, it is not going to eat up the tax payer’s money.

    Sometimes, even a lie can help. If a woman is told, saffron is good for her own digestion, for her health, not many would be interested to take. As women we tend to give least thought to our own welfare. So, we were(are) told, “saffron” would make your child “fair” and lo, all pregnant women take it dutifully.
    If people begin grow trees for timber, it is fine too. Think about the benefit of the green that they would bring in for the country, atleast for 20 years until the marriage happens? And how many of those trees would actually be cut down for the marriage expenses? May be they would not have to be. May be some of them would survive even longer. May be the rain that the green brings in would make the farmer so prosperous that the trees wouldnt have to be cut down for his expenses.

    Planting and nurturing trees, for whatever reason, is good. Let it happen.

    In my humble opinion, Modi, is just talking the language which people can understand, which they can relate to. He is operating at multiple levels, attempting to bring about a wholesome change. If some of the levels seem meaningless to some, it is fine. The awareness has begun, the change will happen.

    • I’m so glad you wrote this M. it echoes my thoughts perfectly. it’s a trend these days to slam just about anything, be it Deepika’s video or Selfie With Daughter campaign. People don’t bother putting their minds to the intent behind initiatives like these.

      The fact, actually, is that these armchair critics don’t trouble themselves with reading on the reforms/ bills; they just jump at the first public campaign they see.

  3. All this while the ‘baba’ friend of the ‘great leader’ is selling son-bearing medicines !

    So much for ‘beti-bachao’!

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