Saturday, February 21, 2009

The missing girl child....

Meet Chutki.....go here to see her playing to her heart's content.
She will steal your heart.....I guarantee you that.....
Just don't steal her life......and all that is rightfully hers...

Another Chutki could have been someone's daughter....
But she was killed before she was even born...

This Chutki too,is a product of someone's imagination,an animation on the computer ,nothing more...
For,she too ,battles to come into this world....
She is fighting to be born...
To be someone's daughter..
A family that will not just love her but make her feel cherished too.... much has been written about them...
Here in India,daughters ,those of us who were lucky enough to be born, are fighting a battle so that daughters continue to be born in the years to come..

In this land, where women have been blessed since ages with ''सौ पुत्रवती भव ''(May you be blessed with a hundred sons) ......the battle ..nay, the war becomes even tougher..

But it is not just about the girls who are being killed even as we speak,still in the womb,not allowed even a glimpse of this world.Not even a breath.

It is also about those girls who are killed immediately after they are born.Female infanticide they call it.
If ,however ,the girl is lucky enough to escape these two hells,then she has more lying in wait for her.'
Malnutrition,a bias towards her, and preferential treatment for her brothers,'dowry death 'awaits her after she gets married.
These are the missing women of India.

This is the tale of a society so grotesque,one that worships millions of goddesses everyday and yet murders its daughters without even a qualm.

Human populations in most countries have a natural gender ratio of about a 100 men to 105 women.In 1986, based on an average expected ratio for third world countries (which was slightly reduced from that for developed countries), the Nobel Laureate, Dr. Amartya Sen, calculated that approximately 37 million women were “missing” from India. These were women who should have been part of the population but could not be accounted for.

The term “missing,” first used by Dr. Sen actually means eliminated.

The elimination however continued, even escalated. Now, 22 years later, it is estimated about 50 Million Women have been systematically purged from India’s population, targeted only because they were female. This is perhaps what makes it one of the worst genocides in human history. And it is silent. And ongoing. The causes of this elimination are primarily female foeticide, female infanticide and dowry murders.
because to call them simply deaths absolves the 'murderers' of all blame.
All the three links above are videos.
Information courtesy-

Click here to sign the petition.

According to the UNFPA, some startling and shocking facts have come to light.

-A national decline from 945 to 927 in the number of girls per 1,000 boys aged 0-6 between 1991 and 2001.
-A "grave" situation in states like Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, where the ratio has “drastically declined” to fewer than 800 girls for every 1,000 boys.
-A low child sex ratio in certain districts, including the South West District of Delhi, which are "amongst the most prosperous in the country".
-Infact , a most disturbing fact has come to light.It has been found that even with increasing education, the practice of female foeticide has increased rather than decreased.Clearly education on its own is not of much use if it is also not followed by a change in mindsets.

The sex ratio in India is one of the most pathetic ones in the world.

Click on the picture to enlarge it

The technique of ultrasound was developed so as to be able to monitor the health of the foetus.But in India,the technique started being used more and more ,for determining the sex of the foetus.

-Indian laws prohibit sex selection.Prenatal determination of sex through ultrasound is also illegal in India. These laws are instituted to combat the prevalent practice of sex-selective abortion
-In India, the payment of a dowry was prohibited in 1961 under Indian civil law and subsequently by Sections 304B and 498a of the Indian Penal Code were enacted to make it easier for the wife to seek redress from potential harassment by the husband's family.

Why then do we see this skewed sex ratio today?
Lets look at the statistics.
71000 children are born in India everyday.Out of these,only 31000 are girls.
In a recent survey,it was found that urban areas reported more cases of female foeticide than rural ones.

In Punjab ,the number of eligible females is so low that men have no one left to marry.
They now have to head towards the states of Kerala and Tamilnadu to look for brides.
In Madhya pradesh, the ratio of females per 1000 males stands at 815,in Rajasthan it is 859,in Himachal Pradesh it is 789,in Haryana it stands at 780.

And what of our religious texts?What do they say on the matter?
Manusmriti states clearly,''She is a true wife who has borne a son.”
Atharva Veda is even more categorical when it states,“The birth of a girl grant elsewhere, here grant a son.”
''Even dharamputra, the Hindu practice of lighting a parent's funeral pyre, requires that rite to be initiated by a son in order for that parent to ascend to heaven. ''
''Hindu personal law is the key driving factor for son preference as it privileges Hindu males with economic, spiritual, political, and social advantages not equally accorded to Hindu females.''
''Although Hindu law officially provides daughters with equal access to property under the Hindu Succession Act of 1956, that law is easily superceded by several edicts of Hindu religious law. ''
''For example, a woman's access to property is dependent on her father's consent, whereas all Hindu sons have indisputable access to family property. Hindu law also notes that married women have absolutely no rights to reside on family property after marriage.
Information Courtesy

A son is looked up to as a 'protector' of his parents in their old age.
Whereas a daughter is looked upon as a burden,as someone who needs to be protected.
Sons are seen as someone who will bring money and riches,while daughters are looked at as those who will drain the family resources in the form of 'dowry',yet another ugly and hideous practice prevalent in India.
In other words ,daughters are seen as a liability.

Is it any wonder then that this mindset is so deeply ingrained in India and its people since generations?

Despite having a law against dowry in place,the number of dowry deaths are increasing day by day.It is estimated that a dowry death occurs in India every 93 minutes.

Of what use are such laws ,if they are not enforced with complete 'State will' ?
Laws in India have just remained on paper,mere words that seek to make a mockery of the very objectives of the Constitution of India.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), particularly the crux of Article 1 states that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”

But that equality is missing in India.
It is this wish for sons that has resulted in this severely skewed sex ration that we see in India today.
In an independent paper,the Centre for advocacy and research has warned of the consequences that this increasing female foeticide will lead to.
It warns that there will be more violent attacks on women.Women will be forced to be the wife of more than one man.

In a country ,where the woman looks towards the man for making every little decision in her life,where she has no rights over her own body,where she is constantly berated, even divorced or worse burnt ,all because she cannot produce a heir, a 'waaris' to carry the 'khaandaan' it any wonder that she wishes for a son?
In a country, which is pre dominantly patriarchal in nature,women have always been treated as second class citizens.Women have very little or no say in matters that affect them.

A country, where feminism has not even been understood properly in all its connotations let alone be applied...and already it has been shunned...discarded like so much garbage.
Women are breaking new barriers everyday.Reaching yet new milestones.Flying higher than ever before.
Those who have been fortunate enough to be born that is.

pic courtesy

They will fight for all that is ours.....
They will heal...
They will teach new generations.....
They will be carers,nurturers,doctors,lawyers,soldiers,professors....
They will keep this world safe for those not yet born....

But first, just let them be born.....

In a country ,where blessings for sons have been present since ages and where none exist for daughters,it is time that we made some...
So,next time gather up your courage,challenge some old ,deeply entrenched dogmas and give a blessing from your heart...
''सौ पुत्रीवती भव ''
''May you be blessed with a hundred daughters''

Believe me,no one will be as grateful as the one for whom you have spoken...

Imagine a world without the girl child....or are we already close to making this a horrendous reality?

Female Foeticide:-Consequences:A video

Look at them ....'laadli'make them feel it too.. Why wouldn't one want them..Don't they steal your heart ever so stealthily?

Join hands ...we need all the hearts to think as one more than ever before....

1. Matrubhoomi : a nation without women
Director: Manish Jha
May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons: A Journey Among the Women of India
-Elisabeth Bummiler

For critique of the book ,
go here
Daughters of India : Art and Identity -Stephen P. Hyler(Take a peek into the lives of Indian women across different cultures,different regions)
3. Anees Jung-. Unveiling India: A Woman's Journey.
4.'Bride Burning' Alive and Well in India: Police Say Every Two Hours a Woman Is Killed Over Dowry,'-Gayle Young
5.Reproductive and Sexual Rights: A Feminist Perspective,” - Sonia and Rosalind Petchesky Correa

Chutki's picture courtesy


ves21 said...

You could add the film
Matrbhumi (by Manish Jha, about 5 years ago) to the above list...Tough film

nice post

Indyeah said...

@Ves21 Thank you for the suggestion. Matrubhoomi is the most hard hitting film on this subject .
It paints a very grim picture of a world where there would be no women left.Will add the movie too.Thank you so much.

Winnie the poohi said...

Hey! I just wanted to share a poem written by a friend.. It is simple and yet so hard hitting...

White is the cord that held the baby
The mother’s life, sails to her baby
The cord is cut, the baby cries
Her mother smiles, her mother cries

A smile is born, a tear is born,
with lie of a life, truth of death is born,
the nurses cry, a girl is born

father cries, the grandmother cries,
all the glitter breaks and dies…

the mother screams, the mother’s sad
and in her body, a mother is dead
she fights with herself a little while
she tries to put a brazen smile..

“I admit I am no use, no use at all
I admit I am guilty of this gory crime
Still I ask for a wish fulfilled
let me see her for one last time

Usha Pisharody said...

This is another heartbreaking and hard hitting post, Indyeah! Indeed the term Missing Persons, to denote women, the female gender so meticulously eliminated is apt.

A well researched, and heart in there piece of writing this is. And that is why it moves!

Thanks for the eye opener!

R.K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R.K. said...

I personally feel satisfied that i am an agnostic and do not follow any religion, though i m born Hindu and do rituals to satisfy my parents which i dont feel bad about.

The inequalities in the world in all forms, be it rich or poor, white or black, boy or girl, make me think that human beings are successively loosing their abilities to think upon their on.

I find myself fortunate enough to be born in a family where both me and my sister are treated equally as far as the grants in all forms are concerned. Necessity of girls in our society is something i reached as a conclusion to the understandings and thinking about world till now.

The alarming sex ratio in urban areas suggests that there is a serious problem with our education system, i feel that education system is useless unless it is unable to imbibe the basic thinking abilities in the people.

Regarding the non implementation of laws, i would like to say that we need more responsible citizens as much as responsible politicians. People have learnt the blame game in which government is the main target. But the doctors who do these acts, and the policemen who hide these happenings or dont care about them, are also citizens of india, which should better understand their responsibilities, or at least duties.

I wonder what it takes to change the mindset of any person, even a single one !

Solilo said...

An eye opener post on the plight of girl child in South Asia. There is a reason why sonogram is banned and still people find out the gender by hook or crook and abort the female fetus even when it is risky.

People talk about male child taking forward the tradition but how many actually even remember their great grandfather’s name? What tradition are we talking about then?

It is time for this generation to bring all chutkis into the world.

Indyeah said...

@Winnie:-thats a heartbreaking poem Winnie...
and it happens the 'shining' India of today...what kind of a society are we living in?
Thank you for sharing the poem Winnie...

Indyeah said...

@Usha:-thank you was just hard to search for the facts...not becasue there were very few of them...but because there was a deluge of facts on India and its 'missing' or rather 'eliminated' is such a horrific reality that one is beyond shock too...
thank you for your words because I know ,as one who learns and teaches you are doing a fine job indeed with the next generation...

Indyeah said...

@RK:-Completely understand what you are saying...the problem however is not just with Hinduism...though yes Hinduism has its share of evils too...the problem is with the mindsets that are prevailing in it any religion,any community..mindsets that.have been prevailing since generations in fact...

Every religion has those rituals and rites that must be discarded ,so inhuman and horrific they are...

The solution lies in accepting that there could be some elements in one's religion that are of a nature that cannot be called remotely human....that one's religion is not the end all that its not infallible..

Education is a way through which people can be made to realize this ...

As you say,indeed you as all of us too were and are fortunate enough to be born in homes that looked forward to the birth of a daughter...
we were the daughters who were lucky enough to be born ...

Yes,the problem to some extent can be with the education system....however you and I are products of the same education system so I think complete blame cannot lie at that door..

no..the real problem is with the mindsets of people whether they are educated or not...

One may find an illiterate couple fawning over their daughter and on the other hand
a highly educated,financially well off couple searching for ways to abort a female foetus...

yes,non implementation of laws,doctors who are a blot on their profession are all a part of this..and yes,blaming the government does not solve anything..

however blaming the government is necessary because they are indeed accountable for all that they do or dont do..thats why we elected them...

What can we do as responsible citizens?
-Something as simple as ensuring that daughters are not discriminated against..
-that they get equal opportunities in every sphere
-that we finance a girls education..
-we talk to the maids and the other women who come into contact with us everyday and try to get them to see the other side of the picture...
-that we speak out and file an FIR or atleast inform the police when we see a doctor carrying out this heinous crime..whether of female foeticide or female infanticide or even a test to find out the gender..

lets come up with some more concrete steps so that a conprehensive actionable list can be made...

In the end,all of us can do our bit and hope that everyone else is doing theirs too..

Indyeah said...

@Solilo:-Thank you Solilo

''People talk about male child taking forward the tradition but how many actually even remember their great grandfather’s name? What tradition are we talking about then?''

What an absolutely amazing and thought provoking point you have made!Exactly!!And yet this is what the most sane people do not understand...
What an irony that you have presented Solilo!

Yes, this generation must do it..for who will otherwise?As you say lets bring all the chutkis in the world..:)thank you Solilo...
just the thought of so many homes being blessed with 'chutkis' makes me smile in happiness....

R.K. said...

Thanks for the reply Indyeah. But i would still like to put the largest part of blame on education system . Though we are also the products of same education system, but as i mentioned, i reached the necessity of equality by myself, i guess so did u. Our so called education said nothing about it.

Also i would like to share a post at one of the blogs which i follow. Please have a look at this :

Indyeah said...

@RK:-You are welcome RK.

If looked at that way,it does seem fair to some extent to blame the education system which has fostered this kind of a gender based thinking..Remember the school textbooks where the girl or the woman in a story would always be shown doing some 'feminine/womanly' work? Yes, you definitely are right.

The education system has done nothing much to revolutionise the way we think nor has any effort been made to change the gender stereotypes so visible in textbooks..

But some new changes have been made ,though only in the mainstream NCERT texbooks, not the other books.

Hopefully with some of the new textbooks being introduced a change will come about..

I have taken a peek at the social studies texbooks for 6th ,9th and 10th (I can only speak for them here)
they seem to have been given a complete overhaul.

Lets see how far this new postive change goes.

The problem in India is that textbooks are more often than not bogged down with political/religious agendas..all of which depends upon which party is in power.

The issues of gender are lost in this mayhem.

Have taken a look at the link you provided.yes,seems rather ironic that one has separate rituals for a girl and separate for a boy.Though I have to confess that I had no such knowledge of a ritual for the birth of a baby girl.I didnt believe that any existed.

But the point is why have separate rituals at all?Why not just pray and have rituals(if one has to)for a healthy baby?Period.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts RK.It helps to know more and discuss this.As well as rack our brains as to how we can take this Please do keep dropping in with your ideas .

R.K. said...

The motive of providing that post was just to highlight the wide horizons of the text in a religion.
I feel that people would do whatever they want to , under their own perceptions; religion is just something that can be used sometimes as an excuse, and this is what we are witnessing all around in different forms.

hitch writer said...

geeee when did this blog start ??

I never knew it existed... Just came in today .. whew let me read now..

Indyeah said...

@hitchwriter:-Welcome..:)We have been here for some time..Glad you dropped in..

Varunavi said...

Excellect post,shocked to see the figures.

rauf said...

i am old and i am tired of fighting indyeah.
Surprisingly most of the time i had to fight with women on this issue. it is women who are obsessed with having sons. This doesn't mean men are innocent.

i have been fighting for them on one hand and i am fighting with them on the other.

Kislay said...

I think soon , if we don't do enough about , Nature shall strike back in an attempt to restore the balance . It sounds crazy , but I seriously think it is possible .

Winnie the poohi said...

Rauf said it.. Its both the women n men against whom we have to fight.. *sigh*

Btw that poem.. it was written by a guy.. such sensitivity from men make me believe that it is indeed possible that one day there would be no inequality!

Indian Home Maker said...

I was just reading Nita's post about moral policing, and I found this so true.
"Rest assured that the moral culture vultures will never protest against street molestation because they are more scandalised, shocked and outraged if a woman consents, rather than if she is forced. Can you imagine them dragging out boys and men who are teasing and molesting women from a public bus, dragging them out by the hair, pushing and punching them? I can’t."

Indyeah said...

@Varunavi:- Thank you..yes,I was shocked too when I started searching for them...The reality hits home all of a sudden.....

@Rauf:-''i have been fighting for them on one hand and i am fighting with them on the other.''
yes, a most ironical situation isnt it?

yes, men and women both are at fault here...because how can these things happen without the knowledge /consent/approval of a woman,a mother?a 'janani'?

So,yes women and men are equally to blame...
like the figures above say its the SOCIETY that is to blame...not any particular gender...

Indyeah said...

@rauf:-''old and tired of fighting'' but fighting still ,I hope and pray...
infact I know..

@Kislay:-Nature will have a most uphill battle too, if that ever happens..because we humans can make anyone despair with our actions...

Indyeah said...

Winnie:-yes,Rauf is right ,for ,it is the society together as a whole to be blamed is it not?

''written by a guy''
..thanks for sharing that it makes me hope too..:)because I now look at the words from a new perspective,we need more such men...

@IHM:-''the moral culture vultures will never protest against street molestation because they are more scandalised, shocked and outraged if a woman consents, rather than if she is forced''

yes IHM, read that post and it made me despair and wonder ...wonder at the hypocrisy of some people who unfortunately are called a part of this very same society that you and I live in..

yes,even I cant imagine them dragging out boys for eveteasing ,molesting...because this attitude that a male is infallible/always right ,atleast when it comes to standing in comparison against a female in India,this attitude is present from birth..

from the first cries of a baby boy,he is cosseted,pampered...
(and this is not a generalisation)rather how India behaves as a majority...I accept that some positive exceptions are there...

men are positioned at a different level in this patriarchal society of ours...

so women being harassed?nah!!doesnt deserve a second thought according to these kind of 'men'

rauf said...

'Zanani' is the word, Indyeah,

i am very uncomfortable calling you Indyeah. i feel i am talking to a map of India.

'Zan' is aurat, woman. pronounced (Zun, Fun) Zanana is the area of the house where men visitors are not allowed.

Indyeah said...

I meant जननी , you meant ज़नानी,
different words,same spelling in english:)
You can call me Abhi if you would like to .Though never thought of myself as the map of India:)

rauf said...

Thank you Abhi

pardon my ignorance, what is janani ?
please don't think i am being humble i am never humble, i am a big mouth, but its true Abhi, and my ignorance is baffling and things don't go into my head easily.

Indyeah said...

@Rauf:-you are most welcome Rauf:)

जननी is a sanskrit word,which literally translated means 'one who gives birth' or in other words a 'mother',

For example,here's something that a friend shared which is in sanskrit and has this word too,

'जननी जन्मभुमिश्चा, स्वर्गादपि गरीयसी '
Janani Janmabhoomischa, swargadapi gariyasi...

(mother and motherland are above the heavens(gods))

rauf said...

Thank you once again Abhi. i am not ashamed, my teachers are as young as 6 and people who who have played my mother in my life range from 6 to 80, i am constantly under their scrutiny, they and my sisters have made me a pampered brat.

Anonymous said...

It is terrible that women are discriminated against in our country. The only solution to change the mindset of people is education. To prevent discrimination of the girl child, please vote for this online petition.