Saturday, 2 April 2011

Is "SHE " a curse?

Between the hullabaloo of the Cricket World cup and the Men in Blue performing extraordinarily... one news item that would otherwise have made the headlines of every single news channel and print media have got lost in translation. I am talking about the miserable child sex ratio of our nation which has dropped from 927 in the year 2001 to 914 in 2011. What does this mean? From whatever I could gather from the Net and the print media is that... based on the provisional Census data for 2011, there are in the age group of 0-6 yrs, 914 girl child for every 1000 boy child.
This shows a tremendous increase in female infanticide. A nation that boasts itself to be the 3rd most growing economy with a Purchasing Power Parity to be 2nd in the world, such a woeful state of affairs is indeed shocking. India has a Lady President at helm, a lady is the chairperson of our ruling coalition govt, one of the most populous and the largest state of India has a lady Chief Minster... and the most densely populated state in our country is rooting for another lady Chief Minster... so how come in a nation so dominated by the fair sex, does her counterpart in the infancy of their lives face such discrimination? It is indeed a question which, not our policy makers, but we the common people, have to answer.
The provisional Census figures show starkly the north south divide. The three worst performing states are Haryana (830 female child/1000 male child), Punjab (846/1000 machild) and J&K (859/1000 male child). Among the states which have shown an improvement over the the data of 2001 are the states of Punjab which showed a steady increase of over a 48 point while Haryana has an 11 point increase from 2001. But it is J&K which has shown a steady decline in child sex ratio, decreasing by 82 points. It is followed by Maharashtra which shows the next biggest decline in child sex ratio.
The grim story behind gritty numbers are that the girl child is not welcome in the families of the young, prosperous India. The three states that have been mentioned aforesaid are among the three having a high per capita income. Even Maharashtra which is the most industrially advanced state of India does no longer want a girl child. Notice that many "low income " states of the nation like Orrissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh haven't made it to the list. Also the seven north east states are actually heading the list of states with higher female sex ratio.
The overall Female sex ratio has undergone a change for the better, there are now 940 females per 1000 males in India as compared to 933 females/1000 males a decade ago. But this does not take away the fact that actually more and more girl child are dying a faster death at their birth than the ones who get to live.
Coming to a horrendous fact, some years ago, an Indo Canadian Scientist reported in "the Lancet" that pre natal selection and selective abortion were causing a loss of 500,000 girls in India a year. Scientists say that most economically well off nations have a more than equal sex ratio and a country with higher GDP and a poor sex ratio is an anomaly.
This problem is one of the many which no law can actually solve, the right to give birth to a child actually depends on the parents, no matter if the apex court considers abortion as murder. I just ask one question, are girls so bad that they don't even have a right to see the light of the day. Abortion is a criminal act in out law, but now it has been proved that only the more well off are going for it, paying huge sums of money for the dastardly act. I ask young mothers and fathers, the literacy rate of India, in the new census figures is a lofty 74.6%, how could any of you stand this? A girl child is as good, if not better than her male counterpart, so why this discrimination? Sadly in India, they are not even given a chance to prove their worthiness. The absence of the girl child will definately be felt, if not now then 10 years later, and then the society will pay a hefty price. Maybe we deserve this, for we are all guilty of murder.


Sayak said...

Discrimination against the girl child is not something unique to India. Although more subtle, you can find it even in progressive Western countries. However, this barbaric practice of Hindu Indians trying to get rid of their unwanted daughters through modern surgical techniques should put the most stubborn, bearded Talibani Mullahs in Afghanistan to shame. Now these guys are not exactly known for favouring equality of women with men but nonetheless, they won't sink so low as to kill future mothers before birth. That's because Islam, just like other world religions does not condone such a brutal practice. Only in India and among Hindu Indians can you find such this sort of perverted mindset. Indeed, we must all collectively hang our heads in shame for our inability to stop this depravity. What pains me more is that among the couples opting for gender selection in major urban centres of India - many happen to be well-educated, even with IIT/IIM degrees! It can't get sicker than that. Where is the outrage? Today, India won the cricket world cup and it was impossible not to notice the spontaneous celebrations that broke out across every city in India - people waving the tricolour flag, drums beating, vuvuzelas blaring, seems like a festive, atmosphere and the "patriotism" is on an overdrive. I guess many people have got their definition of patriotism all wrong - you don't feel proud when you beat Pakistan or anyone else for that matter in Cricket. You should feel proud only when you're able to voice your outrage against so much sickness and inhumanity around you.

Saurav said...

This is perplexing and at the same time is a matter of serious concern. Some NE states have a matriarchal society so they will obviously not discriminate against females but I was not expecting Maharashtra to top the list. My idea was this killing was directly proportional to literacy rate which, it seems, is no longer valid. This is a case where probably the government can do nothing and even they can they will not do in the fear of losing votes. But how does it matter anyway...still the GDP will grow and still the country will be happy with India winning the WC :(