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Needless to add, this largesse is being funded from the public coffers and is driven more by the cynical urge to score cheap political points than promote cricket as a sport.There is absolutely no reason why this should go unchallenged, not the least because it makes a mockery of the concept of the Government as the custodian of public wealth and resources to be used for the greater good in a republic as opposed to the abhorrent neo-feudalism we are witnessing with Chief Ministers mimicking the zamindar in Satyajit Ray's Jalsaghar.They must also stand up to State Governments which think nothing of wasting public resources to titillate the masses and thus hope to make political capital out of what is seemingly a benign effort to reward our star cricketers.Thirteen-years-ago when Gulab Kanwar married Banne Singh in a remote village in Rajasthan, her wedding made it to the front pages of national dailies.

Laws relating to pre-natal sex determination tests, infanticide, foeticide, dowry (the Deora 'tradition' started because the poor Rajputs could not afford the customary kilo of gold to be given in dowry) must be enforced with a vengeance if we wish to see change.

By the time, Ms Kanwar was old enough to marry in 1998 and the village was preparing to welcome a groom for the first time in six generations, there were reportedly five girls in the village (today, the number has gone up to 13 girls but they are all below the age of 14) that was home to at least 150 Rajput families at the time.

The event was considered to be a landmark in the village's shameful history of female infanticide and some even cautiously hailed the wedding as a sign of changing times and evolving values.

But when Ms Kanwar was born, her father who at the time was mourning for his son who had died two weeks ago, defied village norms and chose to protect his daughter.

Soon his uncle and brother too followed in his footsteps and let their little girls stay alive.

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