India celebrates Daughter's Day

Mrs Gandhi (right) tweeted this photo of herself with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter to mark Daughter's Day. The social media campaign is part of the "Save daughter, educate daughter" programme.
Mrs Gandhi (right) tweeted this photo of herself with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter to mark Daughter's Day. The social media campaign is part of the "Save daughter, educate daughter" programme.PHOTO: MANEKA GANDHI/TWITTER

NEW DELHI • India has launched a social media campaign to celebrate daughters, daughters-in-law and granddaughters this week and observed a Daughter's Day yesterday.

The campaign is part of the government's "Beti bachao, beti padhao" (Save daughter, educate daughter) programme to check female feticide, improve sex ratio and educate girls across the country.

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi herself tweeted a photograph with her daughter-in-law and granddaughter using the hashtag #BBBP DaughtersWeek.

"We are asking people to celebrate the young women and girls in their lives," Mrs Gandhi told BBC News.

She called on others to post photographs with their daughters, daughters-in-law and granddaughters on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms using the same hashtag.

In the first few days of the launch of the campaign, Mrs Gandhi has retweeted dozens of photos sent by people to her.

Last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Mann Ki Baat radio address, had asked fathers across the country to take selfies with their daughters. The selfies were then retweeted by Mr Modi, reported the Economic Times.

Despite laws that ban expectant parents from running tests to determine the gender of unborn children, female feticide remains a common practice in parts of India, where a preference for sons runs deep, reported Reuters.

India's traditionally male-dominated culture views sons as assets - breadwinners who will provide for the family, carry on the family name, and perform the last rites for their parents, an important ritual in many faiths.

Girls, however, are often seen as a liability, with families having to dig deep for a substantial dowry to ensure a desirable match.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2016, with the headline 'India celebrates Daughter's Day'. Print Edition | Subscribe