Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Female Foeticide and it's repercussions

Here's another of the essays that I wrote. I would really like your feedback on this one:

Guru Nanak Dev Ji once said:
Why do we call her bad, she who gave birth to kings?
This can be considered to be a very poignant question considering the time and scenario. It is widely known that when Guru Ji put forth his views regarding the condition of women in the society, he was well aware of their plight having seen a lot of discrimination against women during his travels in all four directions (more popularly known as ‘udasis’).However, a sad point to note here is that even today after many years of societal evolution, this question still stares glaringly into our faces.

It is a common conception that the status of women in our society has improved manifolds over the past hundreds of years and this in many ways can be corroborated to be the truth; but is it? Every other day we get to hear numerous stories of a girl child abandoned in a garbage bin, a mother killing the foetus knowing the child will be a girl or selling the girl for a few rupees. Therefore, in such a situation it becomes imperative to ask the parents: have they themselves forgotten who gave them life? It was their MOTHER who brought them on this earth, the Mother who once herself was a girl child. If SHE had been aborted in the foetus, they would not be born on this planet either!

There are several reasons that are always enumerated with respect to the skewed sex ratio in Indian society. The main reason that has been stressed upon (particularly in the northern parts of the country) is the widespread practice of female foeticide. An important aspect with respect to this is the high standard of living prevalent in the region. There is no monetary constraint and as a result, sex determination tests have become rampant in every nook and cranny. The very doctors who take an oath to protect lives; indulge in this heinous crime of murdering the foetus in the womb. At the same time, it is important to consider that this act is condoned not only by the father and other family members but by the mother as well-the same mother who herself was once a girl child.

Another reason for this practice can be found in the Indian societal norms, customs and traditions. Indian society is such in which the birth of an ‘heir’ to carry forward the family name is considered very imperative and girls are normally classed as ‘liabilities’ to their parents. The common thought process is that the girls have to ultimately be married off and ‘such a huge responsibility for a lifetime’ is best left unassumed. There have been instances where parents abort a female foetus in spite of already having an ‘heir’ in their households and the reason for this is of course the ‘liability’ factor. The unhappy reality is that this evil is more common in rich, cultivated and educated part of the society as many would not believe. The so called ‘cream’ of the society indulges in such a low-down practice is indeed astonishing but again the reason is longing for an heir. It is the heir after all who has to carry forward the well established businesses in the society!

The consequences of all these actions have already started manifesting themselves. The most recent example of this is the shortage of brides in many villages of Rajasthan and Haryana. The news item pertaining to this clearly stated that Haryana locals are forced to look for brides in states like Kerala where the sex ratio is favourable to females. Until recently Kerala and Puducherry are the only two areas having favourable sex ratio of over 1000 females per 1000 males in the country. The national average for this is 972 females per thousand males (2001 census figures). Thus, an imbalance has already started becoming apparent in our society. Another major consequence of indulging in female foeticide is the adverse effect on the health of the mother. Abortion in itself is very risky and to deliberately abort the foetus just because it is a female breathing in the womb would of course prove detrimental to the mother’s health. According to a survey carried out by a private agency, almost 25% of women willingly acknowledged to have carried out female foeticide and according to medical experts a women who has undergone more than 3 abortions even runs the risk of losing her fertility or worse still her life. Sadly, in India women being ignorant of this fact continue to abort the girl foetus in their unending quest for a male child even if they have to undergo numerous abortions.

Many experts have sat together and discussed various ways to solve this problem but no solution yet seems to be forthcoming. In spite of the various acts like the PNDT ACTS that are propagated by the government, the practice of female foeticide still continues unabated. The only solution that seems forthcoming is to convince people by educating them, organising various seminars and advertising through different media channels from time to time. The need of the hour is for the people to realize the demerits of indulging in such activities particularly in the long run. The legacy that we leave posterity is going to leave a lasting imprint even if WE depart from this planet. The cry of the girl child should not go unattended for long; else the entire human race will suffer:
Why did you kill me, mama and papa?
Wasn’t I your own flesh?
Flesh of your flesh, blood of your blood?
Why did you kill me mom and dad-
I would too have liked to bring
love and laughter to your home…..
love and laughter to your home……


How do we know said...

nice post here on this subject, and i like the way you have brought the historical perspective without talking down too much.

You write well.

Anonymous said...

Thank u very much:)