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....
Daughters....so 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- http://50millionmissing.wordpress.com/
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 http://www.sawnet.org/articles/Son_preference.html
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' forward......is 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 www.bharat-rakshak.com/.../Article35.html
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
1.May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons: A Journey Among the Women of India
For critique of the book ,go here
2.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 http://www.womeninanimation.in/blog/?page_id=2