Saturday, July 30, 2011

Indian parents who do not want girls

A friend of mine sent me two B.B.C links the other day. One is on India's increasing female foeticide by Dr.Sabu George and the other on West's role in it by Soutik Biswas.






According to the first, female foeticide is a flourishing business in India run by its esteemed medical fraternity.  By law, abortion is illegal there after 12 weeks and sex determination test before 14 weeks of pregnancy.  So it is only the question of will and determination from the government to implement it. But according to experts government is not doing that and hence the business flourishes.  Mothers are subjected to abuse and threat in case they refuse abortion by in-laws and husbands. From the cultural point of view Indian families prefer boys over girls for fear of dowry is one reason behind this.  


The second link brings in a second dimension, that the West by promoting sex-selection as a means of birth control is playing an influential role in it. Biswas bases his arguments on the recent book published by award-winning Mara Hvistendahl, 'Unnatural Selection'.The trend has started so since 1970.


According to a widely quoted 2005 estimate, writes Biswas, since then amniocentesis test and ultrasound scans have killed 160 million girls in Asia alone before they were born.




It was inspired by the west's paranoid population control movement during the Cold War, he writes based on Hvistendahl, that feared 'more hungry babies would grow up and turn to communism'.


As a result counties like India, China and Korea has a skewed male-female ratio now.


The way the influential U.S experts propagated sex selection in their academic papers and government sponsored seminars is termed by  Hvistendahl as ' a disturbed sort of technological sexism'.




The article further points out the more responsible and compulsive roles played by the US, the World Bank, the Rockfeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation in setting the scientific stage for promoting the idea of 'foetal sex determination' of a child and then aborting it if it is a female 'in the name of population control'.


India's prestigious All India Institute of Medical Science played in the role of being an accessory in the whole process.


Now the important question is while all these were happening, why was the public not alerted to its possible future disaster. Biswas writes, until the Indian feminists groups started campaigning against female foeticide in the 1970s it went unhindered.  Means the greed of the medical professionals that tangoed with the discriminative cultural preference to boys that killed millions of girls went unquestioned for all these years.  It is a shame on the Indians and on the Indian governments in particular.


It is a fallacy that all Indians prefer boys over girls.  The pregnant mothers certainly cannot let easily to shear away a part of her. 


And whose culture is that by the way? There was no mention practice of dowry and girl killing in the subcontinent during vedic times. A girl's worth was not determined by the money or gold she was negotiated for. Also patriarchy cannot be blamed for it. There are evidences that Indus Valley civilization was based on patriarchy, but no dowry practice existed then. 


So dowry is a practice seemingly brought over to India from elsewhere or is a modern creation, so it is pointless to blame Indian culture for it.


Indian government outlawed dowry in 1961. But few marriages take place even in 2011, without the dowry transfer from the girl's family to the boy's family with no exception of a state or a society. Marriage is now an alliance to clinch a dowry deal.  So a family needs a boy to carry on with that clinching.


Indian families


It is an issue of every Indian in every family. That the girls once married away do not play a role in taking care of the parents is because they are trained like that. In families where girls are given responsibility it does not happen. So why can't we have a try like that and break away from this evil dowry system to save our girls.


Discriminating children in terms of what they give back to parents is selfishness from the side of the parents and they will be judged by children for that. There is no guarantee that boys take care of parents either. Those who do, in most cases take it simply as a duty and not out of love. The sufferings of the senior citizens is certainly an issue there. Simply because they keep boys they are not taken care of in the olden days.


So my point is that there is no point in blaming the western evil capitalism and the academics those who play pimp to it, alone for what is happening in India. It is the responsibility of the Indian government to take care of its citizens from becoming prey cut throat capitalism. And there should be civic bodies other than the NGOs who have a genuine concern to what is happening around. We all have a responsibility towards that.