I had drafted this post a while ago, but somehow I delayed it as I felt I still had some fine points to add to it. And by some strange co-incidence, I saw the first episode of the show ‘Satyamev Jayate’ before publishing this. So it made it easier for me to add the points which I had left earlier in writing this piece.
While reading the latest anthropological data of India (for my upcoming exams), I wasn’t at all surprised to find the child sex ratio dip further to a mere 914. Ok, the gender of a baby is based on a 50-50 probability. But such a vast gender difference cannot be attributed to probability alone. And as we all know, female feticide is the main reason for this appalling sex ratio.
Thinking of it, I wondered why do people even consider such a crime for the want of a male child. And after going through my observations of people and some absolutely ridiculous mindsets throughout my life, I could list the following reasons for the prevalence of female feticide in India.
- The want of a male child to continue the so called ‘vansh’.
- A male child would ensure more earning hands in a family with low economic background.
- A male child would ensure that the parents are cared for in their old age.
- A female child would require saving money all life for her wedding. That includes the dowry to be given along with.
- Even before the marriage of a female child and forever after that, her parents and family would have to live a life of humbleness and humility in relation to her husband and his family.
- A female child would require taking extra care regarding the family’s honor and respect.
- Ladies under the influence of some unsaid comparative competition between themselves take pride in their daughter-in-laws having a male child.
- Women themselves want a male child under some delusion of it being a sort of redemption in the eyes of their husband and in-laws.
Here is what I feel about each of the above points I mentioned.
- Pedigree. Do people actually know about their ancestors four or five generations ago ? If they don’t even know whose family tree they are so keen to expand, what’s this big issue about the family lineage ?
- Yes, that does hold true for some (if not most) underprivileged families. But I’ve seen it usually backfiring. I can recount at least half a dozen cases which have two or more male children (who were obviously expected to help in the family’s earnings), but still, they are the ones who do nothing while the girl children of the family are burdened with the family’s earnings. If that’s the case, then shouldn’t it be the other way round ? Having more girl children to increase the family’s earnings. But either way, it’s simply ridiculous.
- Does a son always ensure taking care of his old parents when they get old ? Don’t we find sons at war to grab the parents’ property instead of taking care of them ? Not that it is a generalization, but how can it be a surety and a reason to want a male son too ?
- That is one of the main reasons for female feticide in most of India. As soon as a girl is born, her parents start worrying about saving money for her wedding. And if she is the second or third girl child, then the very aim of the parents’ life becomes that to marry off their daughters. And the dowry included actually seems to be the price they have to pay to marry off their daughters. That’s why I’ve always felt that the very concept of a wedding should be discarded. A wedding is the ultimate ghastly event (for a girl’s parents/family) for which the girl suffers all her life before and then all her life after.
- Something utterly preposterous I’ve seen and experienced is that how the girl’s parents and family treat her husband and in-laws with folded hands and bowed heads as if they were something divine just because they are their daughter’s in-laws. I’ve seen fathers of girls who were getting married tolerate absolute rogue-ness from the groom’s family before, during and after the wedding. What advantage exactly does being a groom or his family have over that of the bride ? Why should only the girl’s family bear all the expenses of the wedding and not divide it equally between the two families ? Why does a girl’s family feel helpless even after the girl being subjected to torture after her marriage ? What exactly is this outrageous mindset so strongly built in Indian families ?
- A girl’s family is always tensed about their family’s ‘honor’ that is idiotically related to their girl and her life. In India, a family’s so called honor and respect is ascertained by how their daughter lives her life. What she does. How she dresses. Whom she befriends. Where she goes. But the same family wouldn’t have a care in the world if they have a son. No matter what he does in his life, it never concerns the honor of the family.
- It is not just the males of the society, but even the highly educated females who go berserk for want of a male child in their family. A lady would want the extreme love and respect from her son, but would never allow him to do the same with his wife. Recently, in my very close acquaintance, I came to know of a case where a reputed lady doctor forced her son to torture his newly wed wife to unbelievable extent so that she wouldn’t be able to pursue her higher education. I guess such females want a son so that in future they are in a position to torture another helpless female through their sadist fantasies.
- This one, though sounding absolutely ghastly, is actually true in most cases where young women yearn for a male child in order to get into the good books of their husband and in-laws. Being a female themselves, they don’t even think about the fact that they are ridiculing their own self. Women who disown their daughters just because they wanted a son should not have the right to motherhood. One can’t abuse motherhood once and enjoy it another time.
And I wouldn’t forget the role of doctors in carrying out such a ghastly crime as female feticide. Considering that most gynaecologists in India are females, it is absolutely shocking how females can themselves be so heartless while murdering unborn females. Being from the Med field myself, I hope that such criminals be brought to justice soon.
We all are so worked up against corruption in India recently. But is monetary corruption all that we can care for ? Is anyone concerned about this act of corruption at the level of one’s soul that has been happening since long and still carrying on freely ? Would we come forward together in a war against female feticide just as people did in the war against corruption ?
I have my doubts…
(Image courtesy : Google Images)