“What kind of a doctor I am if I think about money over saving lives?” believes Dr Ganesh who has done the deliveries of more than 2430 girls for free to date. Dr Ganesh Rakh started a small hospital named Medicare Hospital in Pune in 2007 but he didn’t know that he will be raising his voice against female foeticide and infanticide and his campaign would go such a long way.
In the national census of 2011, it came out that there were only 914 females for every 1000 males in the 0-6 years age range. The female child population in the same age group was 75.84 million in 2011.
“Whenever a pregnant woman used to come to the hospital for delivery, all her relatives would come with the hope of a boy. The biggest challenge for me as a doctor was to tell her family that they’d had a baby girl,” told Dr Ganesh.
He further said that “If it was a boy, they’d celebrate by distributing sweets all around but if the baby girl was born, the mother would cry, and relatives would leave the hospital in disappointment. Some families used to even ask for discounts.”
Amazed by these incidents, Dr Ganesh, on 3rd January 2012, started a movement called “Beti Bachao Janandolan” and announced free birth delivery whenever a girl child would take birth in his hospital.
“We decided not to charge any fee if a girl was born. Just like any family used to celebrate when a boy was born, we decided to celebrate a girl’s birth at the hospital,” shared Dr Ganesh.
The Success of Beti Bachao Janandolan
Although Dr Ganesh’s family and hospital staff didn’t support his loss-making campaign, he didn’t step back. On the first day of the campaign when he celebrated the birth of a girl child in the hospital, everyone called him crazy but Dr Ganesh knew what he was doing was for the greater good.
“I know this movement means losing out on money but I have lived in poverty so I know how to manage with less money. I didn’t pay any heed to the negative feedback when it was launched. I wanted to save lives and I did that. And will continue to do,” said Dr Ganesh with affirmation.
In the 11 years of Beti Bachao Janandolan’s journey, the movement has reached not only India but also several other countries. 4 lakhs+ private doctors from all over the world, 13 thousand social organisations and 25+ lakhs volunteers are associated with the movement.
Besides that, many pharmacists, pathological labs, and people from diverse backgrounds like lawyers and teachers have also joined the movement and are contributing their part.
Dr Ganesh is well-supported by his wife Trupti, daughter Tanisha and son Adhiraj.
“Ajmer Dargah, famous pilgrimages and religious sects have also participated in the movement. We are now reaching other countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Turkmenistan, and many Arab countries,” told Dr Ganesh.
Happiness All Around
When Dr Ganesh started this movement 11 years back, people joked about it but today it is receiving recognition all around the world.
Dr Ganesh has received quite a lot recognition but he gains real recognition when new parents celebrate the birth of their girl child.
Most of the families have preferred ‘Ghar ka Chirag’ over ‘Ghar Ki Laxmi’ but with the dedicated efforts of Dr Ganesh Rakh, the situation is changing. We hope that Dr Ganesh with the support of thousands of volunteers keeps bringing a sea change in people’s attitudes.