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Devda village set to welcome 2nd baraat in 120 yrs

The Times of India

Vimal Bhatia | TNN

Jaisalmer: It’s a proud moment not just for Panna Singh’s family but for the entire Devda village. For, on Tuesday it will welcome a ‘baraat’ — only the second time in 120 years. Panna Singh’s daughter Shagun Kanwar will wed Shailendra Singh at this Rajput village, Devda, which had earned notoriety for the very high incidence of female infanticide.

The only other time a ‘baraat’ came to Devda was in 1998, when Shagun’s cousin Jayant Kanwar became the first girl to get married in over a century in this village. ‘‘We have the distinction of being the only family to have got two of their girls married. On Tuesday, my daughter will be married to Shailendra Singh of Bikaner who works with the tourism department. It’s a proud moment for us,’’ said Panna Singh.

There’s a centuries old reprehensible custom in these parts of killing the girl child. It was almost an act of revolt by Inder Singh Bhati and his wife who, 29 years ago, decided against the wishes of the community that their baby girl will live. While everybody else around them killed their daughters, the Bhatis, who had lost 3 sons before Jayant’s birth, could not bring themselves to follow the bizarre village ritual with infant girls. ‘‘I don’t remember what we were thinking but it was my wife who took the decision. I supported her,’’ recalls Inder Singh

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