"Congrats, You’ve a baby girl." .. "Kill Her!!!"

I must have been in a girl in my previous life! How else does one explain my being so sensitive to certain issues?
I purchased the Feb issue of Outlook from the railway station. The reason was the cover story “The Missing Child” or “Death Becomes Her”.
It’s about the alarmingly high rate of female foeticide in Punjab, the state boasting of a large no. of NRIs and the state which Rabbi describes in his song Jugni as, “Jitthe padhe-likhe bekar, bech zamina jawan bar…”

Female foeticide is one of the topics that brings tears in my eyes. Not just because of the pain that it inflicts in me, but also because……….. I could not stop it at one instance.

Anyways, the statistics given in the article is itself of an eye opener.
STATE     2003     2001
Punjab    776        793
HP          803        897
Haryana  807        820
UP          853        916
…………….. …….. ……….
…………….. ……… …………
The list is long, but one thing common to all is the increase in the rate with time. And if the study by Dr. Rajesh Kumar and Prabhat Jha, (formerly with World Bank), is to be believed then the rate of foeticide is expected to increase more with PROSPERITY. The study shows higher incidence female foeticide in well-off and better educated segments of the society. And if my experience is to be believed, they are probably right.

Simran, College Lecturer.
“I’ve one girl and cannot afford to have another
daughter. It’s so difficult to marry them off as boys
demand hefty dowries. I’ve undergone five abortions
at a private nursing home as all of them were female
foetuses. I may not be able to conceive again.”
This comment really left me motionless for a few moments.
It’s really amazes me, if given a chance, would these people kill the girl in their house.
May be not.
“Why?”
Just because they know how she looks like?
Or because they cannot kill anyone with their own hands?
How different is it really?

I have always wondered how’s abortion done. Once I received a mail with the pics of an aborted baby and never ever dared to find out the process again….. it was shocking, at least for me.
This article in Outlook enlightened me about the new techniques. Here goes the excerpt:
The earlier invasive surgical techniques for abortion, such as suction aspiration or syringe methods are fast becoming obsolete. Popular among Punjab’s army of trained and untrained medics is the trend of chemical abortion wherein M cradil, a dye, is injected into the uterus which leads to intra-uterine death of the foetus, followed by it’s expulsion. Some prefer to give two injections of Prospadil, a hormonal formulation which leads to uterine contractions and expulsion”.

Coming back to the figures of female-to-male child in some of the districts of Punjab – 529:1000, 437:1000 and even 416:1000.
Someone one told me that the names of male and female Sikhs is same because they are designated the same status.
Guru Nanak says in one of his hymns:
We were born of women and nurtured by them,
We fall in love with them and they bear us sons and daughters.
How can you belittle women who give birth to kings?
His words, I believe, lost impact with time…. And the Sikhs forgot the actual teachings of their Gurus.
Long ago, girls were killed to protect them from Muslim invaders.
Now, it’s dowry. – Khushwant Singh.
I wonder sometimes, what is more shameful to these kind of people
– their girl marrying someone of her own choice; or
– killing their girl before she is borne?

I can only hope that the people I’ve studied with, people whom I can call my friends, classmates, batch mates don’t turn out to be a “Kudi Maar”, a common abuse in Punjab meaning daughter killer.

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