Sunday, May 06, 2012

Female foeticide is NOT the problem

Female foeticide is NOT the disease. It is just a symptom. The actual disease is something else and is deeply entrenched. I have no solution for the disease but it is necessary to be aware that the actual disease is more worrisome than the symptom. It is however okay to do something about the symptom till the real solution is obtained.

The real disease is girl-child-disinclination. Female foeticide is the extreme form of girl-child-disinclination. Not all folks who abhor girl child can actually kill the foetus. Killing needs an added level of cruelty. I want to discuss about the broader issue of disinclination rather than the narrow scope of female foeticide.
People who dislike having girl-child have reasons to do so. I list three of them below:
  1. Dowry: If a girl child means liability to pay money/land/gold, one can hardly be expected to be happy about it. I know about a few communities in India where dowry is truly looked down upon. For all the rest, dowry remains a big reason to abhor girl child. Can one really blame the girl's parents for this?
  2. Security in old age: For last few decades, in urban India, girl's parents spend the same as boy's parents in education/upringing. After marriage it is considered okay if boys look after their parents financially or stay with his parents. However, girl's parents do not have the same right on their daughter's income. Daughter's income is considered rightfully as her in-law's property. I am not talking about law here but the social norm. This is also a reason to abhor girl child. Can one really blame the girl's parents for this?
  3. Unsafe environment: Indian cities are more unsafe for girls. So having a girl child is more anxiety than having a boy. Is it okay to blame the parents who want to avoid this anxiety?
I do not have solution to address the 3 issues pointed above. Law cannot help. The entire society and our age-old-traditions/thinkings are responsible for this situation. Some of the traditions need to be discarded but that takes time. May be generations.
In the meantime, it is okay to use law to raise the bar of female foeticide. Girl child will still be unwanted but at least they won't be killed. The girls will grow up under overt/covert neglect but that is better than dying as foetus.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

agree with your comments.
Some additional points :
Our scriptures have to share a lot of blame. In texts like Manu smriti, women have been compared to cattle, and in derogatory sense. They have ingrained these thoughts in people's minds for centuries.