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Gul teams up with UT Health dept to spread word against femicide

Her NGO, The Col Shamsher Singh Foundation, will convince women to say no to female foeticide

The non-governmental organisation (NGO) headed by actor Gul Panag has tied up with the UT Administration to monitor the ultrasound centres in Chandigarh and convince pregnant women not to go in for female foeticide.

Talking to Chandigarh Newsline, Gul said her NGO ‘The Col Shamsher Singh Foundation’ will take the addresses of these women from these centres. “We will work in tandem with the UT Health Department. Our volunteers will go to the homes of these women and generate awareness against female foeticide. We will keep the complete data base and follow-up on the pregnancies of these women. Our aim is that to eradicate this discrimination against the girl child, though we know that we have a long way to go,” she said.

The NGO, named after her grandfather, is spreading similar awareness in her home district Fatehgarh Sahib. Gul calls herself “the girl from Mahadian who happened to make it big”. More than her professional life, she is passionate about the work being done by the foundation, of which she is the driving force. She has just returned from a week-long awareness and signature campaign in Fatehgarh Sahib against female foeticide.

Gul speaks chaste Punjabi, and along with the volunteers of her foundation, she parked herself at a local gurdwara in the township, urging people to pledge that they will not discriminate against their daughters or kill female foetuses.

“I know all these signatures do not mean that these people will not indulge in female foeticide now,” Gul admits. “But even if a plant the seed of the idea in them, the work will begin,” she says with hope.

Gul says she is coming to her home district every month now, to work on major local issues like gender equality and awareness against drug addiction.

“Punjab in general and Fatehgarh Sahib district in particular has the lowest sex ratio in the country. Female foeticide here is amongst the highest in the world. In addition, we have a major problem — drug addiction, which is consuming the Punjabi youth in large numbers. Our foundation is now working with established NGOs to address these issues in Punjab,” she points out.

Gul, who is soon going to England, has decided to meet the activists of Khalsa Aid, which has done much on the social front.

“I have found that at both the national and international level, people want to join hands and work for good causes. I am happy that I am able to reach out to these people and form a link to the grassroot level, where change must come about,” she says. The district administration of Fatehgarh Sahib, Gul says, has been very cooperative.

At the national level, Gul says the foundation wants to encourage school students to work for improving the environment.

“We are tying up with schools and colleges across India to build a movement of students interested in the environment. We recently conducted a survey, and found that nine out of ten students believe that something needs to be done about the environment,” she points out.

On the professional front, Gul has three films up for release soon, including one from the Subhash Ghai banner and the other from the Pritish Nandy group.

“I will start work on a new film in August. I view my job as an opportunity to get a platform to make people hear what I have to say, that’s a much greater role to play for me. My professional life gives me a platform to reach people, change and influence them.

For me, that will be far greater contribution than running around trees, singing songs,” she signs off.

Source: Indian Express

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