Nanhi kali(the tender bud)I too want to blossom:Female Infanticide


girl-child1The village was slowly waking up to yet another day. The birds had left their nest in search of the early worm and one could hear the bells in the temple on a distant hillock.

Very few people were out at this time. Two figures emerged from behind a cluster of houses and started walking hurriedly towards the thick fields full of wheat crop ready to cut.

They had a mission. They were going to commit a crime no one will know of. A little bundle slept peacefully in the arms of one of them.
On reaching a specific spot near the canal, they unwrapped the bundle and mercilessly held the little baby girl’s head under water till the helpless infant stopped struggling to breath.

They pulled it out and quickly buried her in the previously selected makeshift grave. This was the second girl they had buried in three years.

washing their sinful body in the silent canal water, they returned and vanished behind the rows and rows of houses.

Nothing stirred, even the air became still, as it witnessed this gruesome act of murder.

“Female infanticide is the intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of females.”

What we are up against is a deeply ingrained patriarchal attitude to which even the medical profession and the women, who in spite of being the victims, unthinkingly subscribe to.

What is the future of womanhood in the land where the girl child is killed using every possible means by her own family especially her own father, brother and in many cases even mother. Many a times they are simply not allowed to be born.

According to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) up to 50 million girls and women are missing from India’ s population as a result of systematic gender discrimination in India. In most countries in the world, there are approximately 105 female births for every 100 males.

In India, there are less than 93 women for every 100 men in the population. The accepted reason for such a disparity is the practice of female infanticide in India.

Five million girls were eliminated between 1986 and 2001 because of fetal sex determination done by unethical medical professionals. The rate of extermination continues to increase after census 2001.

The practice is taking an alarming proportions and is shockingly common in even rural areas where people do not normally have access to sex determination facilities.

The family waits until the mother gives birth, and when they find out that a daughter is born, they go ahead and kill the baby by adopting various means such as strangling the baby, giving her poison, dumping her in a garbage bin, drowning her, burying her alive, or suffocating her with pillows etc.

Many a times female foeticide is the easy and simple way out for those male child hungry couples. Sometimes Barbaric methods are used to kill the fetus, endangering even the mother’s life.

What is disturbing is that female infanticide is not considered a big crime and rarely do culprits get convicted. Surprisingly, Sex-selective abortion are not always forced upon by husbands and in-laws , they are often done in consensus by the mother.. Since she is the one who has given birth to the unwanted female, it is her who must do away with it. She is forced to do so at times, and willingly does so at others since she herself desires a male child for various age old reasons rooted in our society.

A research was conducted to analyze the patterns of female foeticide and infanticide in China, India, and other countries in Southeast Asia. ( I searched the net to discover this and I am quoting )

The report concludes:

“( The magnitude of the phenomena of female foeticide and girl infanticide in India, China and other parts of Asia has reached a critical level creating a worldwide demographic imbalance with, in turn, drastic economic and social consequences. Over 100 million women are now missing in Asia which will result in a 12 to 15 percent excess of young men in the next twenty years.

[...]

It will take generations to change people’s mindset but the situation worldwide is so dramatic that we cannot afford to wait any longer. It is imperative that the International community calls on the governments and all actors responsible for this human and demographic tragedy to enact laws and take urgent measures to fight these violence and discrimination which, by denying the first basic right of all – the right to life – denies all other human rights. )”

What are the causes of 10,000,000 female infants killed in the past 20 years in India.

1. We need a son to carry our family name , to ensure continuity of our family line.

2. A son is needed to perform the last rites so our souls will attain peace.

3. A girl means expense as we will have to pay dowry and get her married.

4. We need a son to take care of us in old age while a daughter goes away to another house after marriage.

5. I need a son to complete my family.

When I look at these reasons, which mainly people give for wanting a male child, I wonder what kind of family line they want to continue, with what value system. won’t it be better if it finished then and there. and if every one thought the way they do where is the DIL going to come to carry forward the esteemed family name?

How many sons take care of their old parents in reality is a question to ponder. Look at the old age homes where mothers and fathers spend their last few years trying to hide the vacant dreams in their eyes.

Why not educate the girl child and make her self sufficient. It is known that you educate a girl child , you educated a family.

Why not oppose the dowry system and take law seriously. For it is one of the main reasons for female foeticide and infanticide. We should stop programming the girl child from the moment it is born to accept the so called Indian values, customs and rituals. Is it not needed to end the need for dowry itself instead of finding shortcut solutions to this evil practice?

We should stop the discrimination at home where the girl is underfed and her share is snatched to feed the good for nothing brother. The girls are advised and taught to stay indoors, learn to cook and wash, clean and sew for they have to go to another house after marriage.

She is not sent to school as education is considered a taboo for her and of no use to her as she is that unpaid slave who has to just birth children and slog for her husband and other members of the family.

She is snubbed and frowned upon if she dares to talk of her dreams, aspirations or in some cases abuse from the hands of family males.

This is our country where women are seen as images of Goddess.

What hypocrites we are?

We invoke our scripts and religion when it suits us and do what is convenient for us when it suits us.

We do rituals and offerings, go on pilgrimage to various Devi temples and abuse the woman of our house, kill the unborn daughter, ill treat the one who survives and sell her to some good for nothing hand pecked boy .

For their entire life most of the women live chained in the hollow bonds of being a daughter, sister, wife, mother and die every moment fulfilling the demands of that relationship.

Somewhere their essence, their identity is lost and they mutely take on the wrath of the hypocrite society.

I think the time has come for a collective uprising against the murder of the very essence of womanhood. To bring the change and to be the change.

This is a NaBloPoMo post for today

(image courtesy Google. All credits to rightful owners )