Women are rubbing shoulders with men in every field. They are flying fighter planes, heading multinational companies, writing best-selling novels and so on and so forth. But do all women get such opportunities? Female foeticide is still rampant in India and a 10-year old girl is married off even before she can explore her adolescent years. It is 2017, but the girl child is still deprived of her basic rights. To fight injustice done to young girls, United Nations Organisation since 2012 has been observing October 11 as International Day of the Girl Child. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls’ empowerment and fulfillment of human rights.
“Girls are pearls!” exclaims Philip Lazarus, musician, music teacher and a father of three girls, who, along with vocalist and lawyer Lasya Vyakaranam, has created an inspiring music video titled Be Proud You Are A Girl Child on YouTube. The video features beautiful faces of girls laughing, playing, studying and crying from different ethnicities, cultures and social backgrounds.
The lyrics, which have been written by Lazarus, describe the girls as ‘a garden full of flowers,’ and urges people to be proud of having a girl child and girls to be proud of themselves. Navaz D’cruz, a video editor and website designer, has helped create the visuals for the song.
Says Lazarus, “I had written the song in the ’80s and it has often been performed at school choirs and orchestra performances. However over the years, a few changes have been to the lyrics to suit the present times. To keep it realistic and simple, I haven’t added much of instruments, so the music is soothing and soft.” The only instruments used are the basic guitars and keyboard. The music has a chord progression with a rock and blues feel, which goes up in the first half and heightens in the chorus.
Women/ girl empowerment is at a crawling stage, feels Lazarus. “The idea of giving importance to a girl child and treat her as equal is happening at a snail’s pace. Families in certain areas of the country are yet to accept that girls and boys are equal. Although we can see a slight change in the mindset and people getting progressive, the older generation — parents and grandparents — have to realise the importance of empowering the girl child,” he points out.
Vyakaranam, who has belted out the song, says that in order to bring about women empowerment, awareness is a must. “People are not aware of the problems plaguing society. Besides, youngsters are busy with their own lives and problems. But they need to look beyond themselves and ask why girls are not given the same privileges as boys. I have been raised in a loving family where men and women are treated equally but not everyone has access to such environments. We need to talk about a girl child’s rights and why a male child is preferred to a female child and so on. We are trying to bring about awareness through our song,” says the young artist with D’cruze adding, “Every girl can rise, bloom and shine, we just need to give them the opportunity.”