“You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”.
– Jawaharlal Nehru-
In India, goddesses are revered. But, only as idols to be worshipped in the form of Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth), Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge), and Sita (ideal consort of Shri Ram). Once in a way, the form of Durga (killer of evil) or Vaishnodevi (remover of obstacles) puts fear in the Indian male. But that’s about it all.
Despite ‘India Poised’ and ‘India Shining’ 21st century slogans, the country has a shameful record of girl-boy ratio all over the country. Even in educated urban areas where every facility is available, the selective sex tests, female infanticide through pre-natal diagnostics tests families want boys and not girls.
Even today, the stark reality of the ratio of 927-1000 (girl-boy) cannot be ignored. It is staring at the nation, as it claims economy is growing. It is hardly surprising that in North Indian states like Madhya Pradesh, UP, Punjab and Bihar, girls barely have a chance to get born. The womb becomes a tomb for many girls. Census taken for decade of 1991-2001 show the number of female infanticide increased in urban areas of north India. In New Delhi alone the number of middle class homes aborting the female foetus was appalling.
Girl child infanticide in india : In early seventies, prenatal tests to detect abnormalities in the unborn child were introduced in India. But these tests are used more to determine the sex of the child. Educated families have the dilemma of bringing up the girl child even today. The Hindu blessing, ‘May you be a mother of 100 sons’ rings true in every bride’s ears when she is married.
It is when the bride is unable to give the male heir; she is sometimes forced to a life of embarrassment. Pathetic !
Influence of films where the birth of the boy is celebrated with much fervour is an example of India’s social life. There is no incentive for the girl being born. All the comforts, medicine, healthcare, nutrition and luxuries are reserved for the boys. The girl’s status is second class in urban and rural areas in India.
Girl child at risk in india : A girl child is susceptible to sexual violence very early in life. The threat comes from the girl’s family and relatives. Many of the rape cases against girls registered in India are under the age of ten. The sex ratio has also declined as every sixth female death is purposely due to gender bias. Nearly three lakh of girls die every year.
The clinical tests amniocentesis and biopsy reserved for detecting abnormalities are being misused for identifying the gender of the foetus. In small towns and cities girls are being murdered quietly. In 1996, Kuruppayee an unknown woman in Tamil Nadu was the first to be convicted for female infanticide.
Her husband was let of despite abetment. She had strangled her fifth girl child after birth as the husband’s family wanted a son. Despite the conviction female foetuses are aborted. Can one still say India is shining? If there are no girls how will she become a mother of a hundred sons?
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