The census report this year has some extremely scary statistics to report : the boy-girl sex ratio has dropped from 927 to 914 per 1000 boys. This is the worst statistics since Independence.
How can we call ourselves a developed nation when we choose to discriminate a child even before she is born? Although identification of the sex of the foetus is against the law, there are various medical professionals and clinics who still go ahead and identify the sex of the foetus. Once the foetus is identified to be female, many couples and their families choose to abort the foetus.
A pre-natal test is a criminal offence fined up to three years in jail and a Rs.10,000 fine for the first offence and five years imprisonment and a Rs.50,000 fine fro the second offence.
This does not just happen in the lower classes and in the uneducated sects of the society but it is also very prevalent among the higher and more elite societies where couples quite often travel abroad to determine the sex of the child without actually breaking the law.
That’s what it is : finding out the sex of your child before birth is breaking the law in India. In a country that deems itself to be so modern, so urbane and so ‘in’ with what’s hot and what’s not we are still steeped in age old customs and insane beliefs. We still celebrate the birth of a boy and mourn the birth of a girl. Somehow we like to hold on to that thin, almost dwindling shred of belief that the boy is going to save us and uplift our life and the girl will bring only misfortunes.
Every other week we hear stories of new born children found in dustbins, thrown in lakes and undeveloped fetuses in dust buns. It is nearly impossible to educate a society on the impact of this when they refuses to comply with the schemes. A few years back this piece made the news : In a small village in Rajsthan (I think) there was a dearth of girls. The drought of girls was so much that there was an unnatural number of young boys in the village waiting to get married.
Despite all the so called ‘development’ we are still a society that places the male above all else. Families from lower backgrounds feel that sending the son to school is better than sending the daughter because it will invariably be a waste of money and that he will be the bread winner. But the harsh reality is that, that boy would go grow up to be a ruffian and the girl would have to work multiple jobs just to feed her family.
How is it possible to bring a nation out from this ‘dark age’ and make them see the light of day that it is impossible to live in a society without girls? They are the founding factors on which any civilization is built on. Women are not important just to cook your food and have your babies. They play such an important role in the society at large. They become great doctors and lawyers, CEOs of major companies, entrepreneurs and artists, contribute a LOT to society and bring about changes in ways the others can’t.
Every girl child deserves the right to be born. No one can rob her of the right to be educated. Every child has a potential that needs to be identified and utilized to the maximum. It is her right to be the person she wants to be and to achieve what she wants in life. Unfortunately, we fail miserably to recognize that. As soon as the girl is born the family only thinks of the expenses she will incur.
The Government says that female foeticide can be stopped only through awareness. But how much of it will actually be effective? If in 2011, 64 years after Independence, we face the worst sex ration ever, then does it truly show that all the ‘awareness’ created by the Ministry for Women and Child Development is actually useful?
Will we ever change?