Ten million girls have been wiped out in the last two decades in India. Unbelievable? Maybe. But nevertheless, run the number in your head a few times and let it sink in.
10,000,000. One followed by 7 zeroes. How I WISH this wasn’t true. But it is. So I should be thanking my lucky stars for being alive, shouldn’t I?
Time and again, I feel that the only mistake I’ve committed in my life is being born a woman. Since I am a woman, I’m a liability, I will not carry on the bloodline of the family (whatever the hell that means), I will not support my poor ailing parents when they are in the throes of their second childhood, and I am extremely ‘expensive’ (for want of a better word) because my poor parents will have to shell out excessive amounts of dowry for their
Rest assured, my parents are nice folks and they do not subscribe to boorish views like the ones I've mentioned above. BUT, to the majority of Indian women, educated or otherwise, they dont have it so easy.
So what do you do, if you are faced with the errr........ 'burden' of giving birth to a girl? Pshaw! What an elementary question! Well, get rid of her of course! Use technology (foeticide) to discreetly do the deed if you belong to middle class families, or if you're not so lucky, give birth to the girl and then feed poison (infanticide) to the newborn baby! The dastardly deed is done!
So now that we have established that foeticide and infanticide ALONE has contributed to ten million girls being obliterated, and the sex ratio has successfully fallen steadily from 962 women to every 1000 boys in 1981, to 927 girls to every 1000 boys in 2002; has the horribly skewed sex ratio helped in actually improving the abhorrent status of women in India?
The answer is a big, fat, NO. Yet again, unscrupulous men are making a mockery of this gender disparity by trading women around as if they were commodities. Women are possessions remember? Now, the ever enterprising vermins in Haryana, where female foeticide and infanticide have reached unmitigated heights, are making use of the gender dissimilitude to propagate a thriving business in "sexual brides", and yes, you heard me right. Women are in great demand as the sex ratio in some parts of Haryana are as deplorable as 493 girls for every 1000 boys, so it is self-evident that a single woman can be bought and sold MANY times.
Case in point: the story of Tanu *name changed*. Belonging to a poor family (in Haryana), AND being fairly goodlooking was her downfall. She was sold for a paltry five thousand rupees at the age of 16 to a dubious looking middle aged swine, who 'promised' to marry her. To no ones surprise, he raped her repeatedly and sold her for twenty thusand rupees and patted himself on the back for making a good 'profit'. But Tanu's horrific travails did not end there. Oh no it didnt. She was taken to Rajasthan where she was 'shared' between three brothers, and when she overheard one of them talking about selling her off yet again, she grew desperate and fled. But how far could a fleeing girl travel alone with no money or possessions, in a place alien to her?
Not very far, as the impotent beasts ganged up on her, raped her, and beat her senselessly until her body resembled a bloody mass of flesh and bones.
As I sat listening to this harrowing tale narrated to me by our Shanthi-bai in India, I could see the tears running down her face and I gingerly asked her if she knew Tanu. I sat there praying and wishing with all my heart, that the answer would be in the negative, but alas my fears bore fruit. Tanu was her sister.
Numerous other cases of "sexual brides" have been reported, and some of these girls are no older than fifteen. Sadly, this trafficking has not diminished albeit the demand for brides has only increased; resulting in smuggling girls, living in abject poverty ridden conditions to seemingly richer states like Punjab or Haryana where the sex ratio is conspicuously skewed.
And now do you finally see how female foeticide and infanticide is directly linked to the appalling business of trafficking "sexual brides"? If you still feign ignorance, please go crawl back under the rock you slithered out from.
Now this brings us to this ludicrous article by Caitlin Moran.
Here is an excerpt:
Abortion in India is legal. If Indian, or indeed any, women are entitled to have an abortion because they don’t want to have a child at all, why shouldn’t they be allowed to have an abortion because they don’t want to have a specific kind of child? Once you’ve legalised first trimester termination, does it really matter why you’re doing it? It’s a bit like saying it’s OK to chop down a tree to make a shelf out of it, but, for some reason, not a bench.
Wow. The inanity of that statement boggles my mind. So basically what Caitlin alludes to, is that abortion in itself is wrong, so what difference does it make if it is done for the 'right' reasons or the 'wrong' reasons? So selective abortions do not matter, because abortions ARE WRONG, and thats all there is to it.
Maybe Caitlin needs to read up on how an abortion free society actually works.
Campaigners claim that the first step towards raising the status of women in India will be the eradication of sex-selection abortion, which the Indian Medical Association estimates might run as high as five million terminations a year.
Personally, I disagree. I think the best way to raise the status of women in India would be to legalise sex-selection abortion, and allow as many of them as are requested.
Her resplendent reasoning? Market forces! Yes, market forces. Let us use oranges as our example. If there is a scarcity of oranges in the market, wont its value rise?
Aha! But miss Caitlin makes a grave mistake here. Women are NOT commodities and she has reduced women to mere objects...using the nonsensical 'supply and demand' principle for living human beings, which is what Indian women time and time again, have been fighting against for centuries.
Consider, now, if there were a two-year waiting list for Indian women. Those 1000 men would soon be duking it out for those 793 ladies. Indeed, it may well be that, in order to get married, dowries would have to be paid to the bride’s family, just to interest her in a man.
On finally getting his $80,000 woman, the man would then be doing the marital equivalent of polishing his wife every night with protective dubbin, and putting her on a special peg in the hallway. He wouldn’t use her to carry a wardrobe up a hill any more.
Duking it out? Bad choice of words aside, the only 'duking' which is going on in Punjab or Haryana in the form of "buying a bride" is a woman being sold to a group of men, and being gang raped and possibly killed.
And yet again Caitlin falls prey to objectifying women when she proudly exclaims that 'the man would be doing the marital equivalent.......yadda...yadda'.
So women are treasures on display now? Has she forgotten entirely that ummmm...women are people?
Please read the rest of the article and decide for yourselves if you want to laugh or cry at Caitlin's archaic views on 'curing' misogynism in India.
And YOU, yes you, can do something about female foeticide.
Check out this website and find out how you can contribute to invalidating the existence of this beastly practice: STOP female foeticide.
You can file a complaint if you come across any horrific incidents; without turning a blind eye, or you can pledge your support.
I wish with all my heart, that this relentless slaying, yes slaying, of girls will become a thing of the past . But I cant aspire for the stars, can I?
Post Script: I want to give a shoutout to Ashok for bringing this peice of information to my attention: The continuing practice of infanticide in Usilampatti, Tamilnadu.
The people of Usilampatti mercilessly practice infanticide and they even try to justify this heinous act, with so-called 'this-is-life-deal-with-it' kinda arguments .
I felt sick reading this article, but however repulsive it may seem, it begs to be read.
Check it out: Born to die.