Betigiri, actions for the well-being of the girl child, is an everyday practice, a habit. And like all practices and habits – it starts with a thought. The thought that all children are to be treated equally – girls and boys. In many parts of the world, including India, girl children are not given the same resources, opportunities and rights. Societies, and the people living in them, go out of their way to block the path of growth for the girl child; denying them proper nutrition, caring and love, denying them education, play, and a childhood or a human life.
We believe that the girl child must be protected. How? We can use Betigiri. It provides the tools a person can use at home, office, school or community to ensure the well-being of a girl child. It is difficult to change entrenched beliefs, norms, values, some argue. But they have to be changed because we are taking about our own children. To change, we have to challenge our beliefs, norms and values. And what better than our own conscience to question our existing beliefs? Betigiri is about all about our conscience. Let our conscience guide our actions and what better method to awaken the conscience than to have conversations about it with people.
After all, providing a girl child with a decent life is not a question of being traditional or modern – it is about being human.
Saving and protecting a girl child is a complex, multi-dimensional issue that is difficult to do; but we we believe it has to be done because these are our own daughters we are talking about. And therefore despite all difficulties, in the spirit of Gandhigiri we introduce the communication concept of “Betigiri,” which means acting and behaving in ways that protect, honor and respect the girl child and empathy towards the girl child.
‘Betigiri’, refers to everyday actions that can help to save and protect the girl. Beti stands for daughter in Hindi. The suffix – giri – has an implied component of actions or acting towards something or behaving like someone or something.
Betigiri can be understood in relation to a similar term called ‘Gandhigiri’, which refers to bringing into daily practice and use the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi (including non-violence, and speaking the truth).
Betigiri connects everyday language with everyday actions. The language creates a language of positive action or actions to protect the girl child. It provides a language of not remaining silent on such an important issue or in various situations that affect the girl or daughter negatively. It is designed to enter popular lexicon and anyone – male or female – can use it.
Betigiri provides an operational and do-able set of everyday behaviors and practices for the “Beti Bachao” (Save the girl child) program.