Pro Life vs Pro Choice - the right to life for the Indian girl child
A choice that discriminates against the woman from the womb
Pro choice vs pro life the debate continues. This debate may have different relevance and connotation in different parts of the world. In India it is discrimination against the woman, even in the womb. Does a girl child have a right to life is my question?
“When will I see my grandson?” is the question every married woman in India faces. It is a must for a woman to have a male child. A woman who gives birth to female children is always frowned upon and ostracized by family and society alike. A male heir to carry on the legacy of the family has always been considered sacred, and a woman who cannot produce a male heir is thought of as cursed by Gods.
A People who have a woman President discriminate against women
In the days of yore, according to the Hindu Succession Act, only a male child could inherit the property of his parents. Even though the situation has changed considerably with the later amendments, still people consider it important to have a male heir and very often parents bequeath their property to their sons. A male heir would also be the only bread winner of the family and he would be required to take care of the parents in their old age. Even today many parents live with their sons and their families until their death.
This tradition seems to have gone so deep that today even though women are well qualified, competitive, considered equal in any field and earning on par with men, yet this sad plight of considering women as lesser beings continues. Today women in India occupy high positions in government offices, research fields and in every area of life. On 26th January 20011 as the country celebrated its Republic day India’s IAF Wing Commander N Gayathri lead the Republic day Parade, a never before event. The president of India is a woman and yet this biased outlook continues to be a bane of the society. To avoid social and cultural ostracization, couples often resort to gender determination of the child in the womb. India has made gender selection illegal and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has been considered illegal and punishable under law. Hospitals and fertility clinics are constantly monitored by the government and yet gender determination continues to be practiced illegally by corrupt doctors and medical practitioners.
Gender determination as means of discrimination
Since the laws in India are becoming stricter by the day, people are finding different loop holes and different means of ascertaining the gender of their child. Thailand and Jordan have become the PGD destination of India. Affluent Indians do not consider it big spending USD $9000 for this test in Thailand. It seems as though people would go to any length to have a male child. This is no exaggeration but the sad reality.
If a woman conceives a female child, and if the PGD test declares that it is a female child, people would not consider it wrong to terminate the pregnancy even if it means putting the mother at risk. Women would be ill-treated by their husbands and in-laws if they bear female children in some households. This is not restricted to the illiterate and the ignorant. Sania Nehwal India’s badminton champion currently ranked number 4 in the world by Badminton World Federation admitted in a pubic interview that her grandmother refused to see her for a month after her birth because she was disappointed that Sania was a girl. This is not a one off incident but a normal happening in many Indian homes.
Traditional Indian Paintings
Female infanticide and gender discrimination in India
Female infanticide was the order of the day a few years ago. The Girl child was abandoned on the garbage piles to the mercy of the stray dogs for fear of bringing home a girl baby home and facing the ire of the in- laws. The government took various measures to control this by making people aware that a woman was no lesser than a man and all children were equal. In some states cradles have been left for women to drop their children safely so that the government can take care of them. Yet all these traditions and customs that are so steeped in ignorance prevail. Women were often thrown out of the homes and sent back to their parents if they failed to bear a son. The man would then marry again as if it was all the fault of the woman and not the man that he could not produce the Y chromosome.
The woman is not only discriminated for bearing girl children but also for being darker skinned. Women who are dark are often rejected in the marriage market. A huge dowry or a huge sum of money and assets are demanded from the parents of the bride at the time of marriage which is another major cause of such discrimination against women, but darker women have everything working against them. It is considered a shameful thing for a woman to be sent back to her maternal home after marriage. A family with a daughter in such a situation faces so much discrimination that the other younger daughters have lesser chances of getting married.
Did you know that female infanticide is prevalent in India?
Fight against this terrible crime today
Women have been discriminated against for centuries and she has not had the right to speak and fight for herself until lately. But what is surprising is that affluent, well educated, upwardly mobile Indians are still slaves to such thinking and customs that have no values, morals or relevance behind them.
It is a sad state of affairs that this country is facing, and as the vultures gather for the dying, so have those that revel in unfair trade, opened their doors for those couples seeking these services. Thailand has is now turning out to be the favoured destination of those couple who need medical test to determine the gender of the child in the mother’s womb, a quick buck is made at the cost of the Indian girl child. The information gathered and reported in relation to couples travelling to Thailand for this purpose by creditable news papers is alarming. There are many states in India that are unevenly gender balanced. In some states there are more men than women and yet this apathy continues.
I wonder when Indians will wake up to the reality that you cannot have a society of just men. The very reason for which the girl child in India is sacrificed at the altar of greed will become its nemesis. When will Indians wake up to the fact that this indiscriminate slaughter of the girl child will lead to so many other problems in the society, social and moral? I wonder when Indian women will wake up to a day of complete freedom and respect, when they are considered and treated on par with men not only at their jobs, but also in their homes. Wake up India, wake to the truth that your women can do what men can, if not more. Jai Hind!! Hail Mother India!