Among many positive things about the Indian population for the first time, the census of India 2011 has once again highlighted the grim reality of female infanticide in India. The census results for children age 6 and younger count 914 females to every 1,000 males: a number that's declined from 927 to 1,000 in 2001 and is at its lowest since India gained independence. Comparing the number of girls actually born to the number that would have been born under a normal ratio suggests that "600,000 Indian girls go missing every year," the Economist reports. In fact, going by the estimates, in the past twenty years, India has seen 10 million female lives lost to abortion and sex selection.
A Cheshire based, businessman and NRI, Kulwant Singh Dhaliwal, originally hailing from Bir Raoke village in Moga district(Punjab) is one individual who has single handedly turned around things and has at least changed the face of his village back in India. It’s now owing to his efforts that for the last six years the number of girls born in his village has been constantly outnumbering boys in the whole of Punjab.
Dhaliwal, who has also bagged the Humanitarian Award, awarded by the British government is besides a successful businessman, is a man who leads by example. He definitely practices what he preaches. He has adopted the school-going girls of his village and meets all cost of their education and clothes. "I told them (to Girls parents) I would look after your daughters, I would pay for the education and health care, I would ensure that they had jobs and when the time came I would get them married off,” he said.
According to Dhaliwal, Indians living in the UK are also to be blamed for this as they prefer going back to India to find brides for their sons. "We go back and ask for too much money in dowry payments. We should not ask for anything at all. In fact we should be using our own money to help these families, not crippling them with debt," felt Mr Dhaliwal.
In February this year, he together with Mike Rudkin, MD, north-west region (UK) of the company manufacturing the Mercedes car, has collected one million pounds for cancer patients by walking three days from the western coastline to the eastern coastline of Britain and earlier, in December 2009, he raised £1,00,000 for cancer patients by organising a similar show at Manchester in the UK.
Dhaliwal, a Roko Moving Cancer Ambassador and also a true role model for the Punjabi community in the UK and in Punjab feels that NRI can do a lot for such causes. He said the NRIs settled in the UK, the US, Canada and other developed nations could do a lot for their country but it’s regrettable that they were not using their potential to contribute to such causes. “If every Indian living in and outside who is a privileged one if takes responsibly to provide moral support, education, self employment skills and medical facilities to the underprivileged people of India then plight of these under privileged can be improved”, he says.
His charity, Sant Singh Dhaliwal Trust (named after his father) which has been active for such causes since 1991, runs on the philosophy that all people deserve the chance to healthy and productive lives. Dhaliwal truly believes that education holds the key to many issues faced by the common man. “Our core belief is that giving money to poor doesn’t solve the purpose; in spite giving education, employment and medical facilities provides scope for development and improvement in living standards for many future generations of the underprivileged people.” And this is the reason why his Trust wishes to do more on developmental issues ranging from formal and non formal education for children, women and youth, vocational training, micro credit, community participation, health care, environment and family counselling etc. When asked on what motivates him for such causes, he says the ultimate peace and satisfaction which he gets in his heart is the most rewarding aspect of contributing for such causes.
The one issue close to Dhaliwal’s agenda is the eradication of Cancer. He has been organising a free mammography test for women in his native village and would like to do more to increase its awareness so that people take extra care to detect it early on when it’s curable. Dhaliwal feels that govt has also to play its role in this and it should come up with stringent laws on environmental degradation and excessive use of pesticides and fertilisers to tackle the scourge of cancer, besides ensuring clean potable water in cities, towns, villages and other settlements. His trust now plans to raise money for cancer patients of the Malwa belt in Punjab.