Usha
10,000,000 female infants killed in the past 20 years in India.
There are states like Haryana where there are just 760 females for every 1000 males.
Causes: sex selective abortion, female infanticide.

Why is there a preference for a male child?

1. You need a son to carry your family name , to ensure continuity of your family line.
What family name and lineage are we talking about when one is struggling to provide two square meals for everyone in the family? The only things that are being continued are more misery, poverty and perhaps some genetic disorders.

2. The belief that you need a son to perform your last rites so your soul will attain peace.
If they really believe in the above, do these people think of what punishment there may be for killing a child? or do their scripts give them a justification for that too? ( I do not believe in heaven and hell but I do hope they rot in something close to hell. I would like to invent a Hell for them right here as a deterrent for others.)

3.A girl means expense as you have to pay dowry and get her married.
Educate the girl please and she would take care of herself without necessarily needing a man to support her. Or she will find a man who is willing to marry her for what she is and not for what she brings.And how many years is it since dowry became a punishable offence? Please make the punishments more stringent.

4.You need a son to take care of you in old age while a daughter goes away to another's house after marriage.
Well there are good for nothing sons who have no means to take care of their parents. There are drunkards who are a constant source of trouble. There are those that leave their parents in old age home as the parents and wives do not get along.
So how can you be so sure that your son will? Make sure to stand on your two feet at any age.

5.I already have a few daughters. So I want a son so the family is complete.
Father, mother, daughter and son - looks like a perfect picture in photos but life is never perfect. Daughter or son they are your children. How many abortions will your wife go through? How many girl children will you kill? If you still feel that you need a boy, adopt one.That is a certain way of making sure of the gender of the child.

Half a million girl children killed every year and yet there are people who object to banning of gender detection tests. Why?
"I want to get my blues or pinks correct." "I want to start relating to my child from the time he/ she is in my womb. It would help if I knew if it was a boy or a girl." (why would you communicate differently depending on the gender of the child? is there something called bluetalk and pinktalk!?)
Anyway these are "nice-to-have" desires that need to take a back seat in the context of the larger issue which merits the banning of such tests.
And some argue that it is a "right" you cannot take away from the parents.
What about the "right" of that female child to live?

And this is a country where women are supposed to be seen as images of Goddess Durga and Lakshmi. What a country of hypocrites we are? We invoke our scripts and religion when it suits us and do what is convenient for us when it suits us.
With so many years of foeticide, Haryana already faces a situation when there are not enough brides for all the men. So men are buying brides from other States for as little as Rs. 5,000 - a state where buffalos cost more Rs. 40,000. These women are available to all the men in the family. A slave wife for the entire family - can their be a worse degradation for a woman?

I know it is futile to write about it in this forum as no one who reads this needs to be told all these facts. I am just steaming off - trying to see in what way we can stop this crime and injustice. We can inform our maids, perhaps sponsor the education of their girl child. We can make sure never to make gender discriminatory statements and counter them whenever someone says it even in jest.We can treat our sons and daughters equally. We can boycott films and TV programs that have gender discriminatory themes or dialogues. (protest loudly even when it is a "superstar" who says:"after all a woman!") We can be examples of what a woman can be and can do.We can help change the mindset.

Or
we can simply ignore the statistic that half a million girl babies are killed every year and read the supplement on woman power that came with India Today.

P.S. For some more on the same topic here is a poignant and better researched post by The Rational Fool.
| edit post
Reactions: 
40 Responses
  1. it's not just steaming off. these issues need to be addressed, whenever and where ever we can. and yse daughters should be educated,...and we can fend for ourselves."women are doing it for themselves"..i wander if the criminals who are killing female progeny, ever thought about the fact that babies could never be born, without a woman....where would they be today if their mothers were never born.


  2. Yes - the thing is though everybody feels like this, what is the government doing in this regard? ZILCH!

    They are interested as to whose presidential nominee wins, how can the already tax paying middle class be made to pay more and nonsense like this....

    The other strange thing is literacy and education doesn't seem to improve the situation any way too!


  3. Hip Grandma Says:

    'So men are buying brides from other States for as little as Rs. 5,000 - a state where buffalos cost more Rs. 40,000'
    Isn't this enough for every indian to hang his/her head in shame?It is time women stood up to their name and became Durgas in the real sense.Unless we stand up and protest this cannot be stopped.Good job Usha.I was wondering when you'd take it up.


  4. Sairam Says:

    ..but we are very proud that a woman is president of the country.. That's what is hypocrisy.


  5. Rashmi Says:

    We need to first target educating females to change their way of thinking. I feel its women who are responsible for such a condition in our society.
    I have a friend who is well educated (post graduate, to be more precise), but even her parents had to pay around 8-10 lakhs cash as dowry. When asked why did she agree for such an alliance who took money from her, she replied, "How will i get married to a good suitor then?". How can a person be good if he is asking money to marry her. To which she said its the society who would ask him how much did he get in dowry and if he says nothing he would not have any value in the society.
    How ridiculous can this be. If and educated female like her could not wait to find a person who can stand up against some stupid society customs, how can we expect females comming from lower parts of the society to stand up against this discrimination?
    We need to educate females that finding good husband and getting married is not everything in life. We cna live by our own selves if we want to.

    --Rashmi.


  6. Did you post this before or after this:

    Police find fetus, infant body parts in eastern India?

    I can't understand how people after all this insist that religion fosters morality!


  7. so upsetting Usha - and sooo depressing. And all this when India is making such rapid strides in so many fields. I guess - each one of us is responsible for bringing about a change - however small - educating your maids girl child is a small step.... that needs to be taken.
    But somewhere - it also tells me - that there are women who are equally responsible for this - abortion, dowry deaths, girl child repression - if the mother wants to make an effort to ensuring that her girl does not go thru what she has seen - there itself a positive step has been taken.


  8. Usha wrote:

    >>What about the "right" of the
    >>unborn child to be born?

    Do you really want to go there? I don't believe that the [unborn child - sic] fetus has any right, if at all, that supersedes the woman's right to choose what she does with her body or body parts. That's her inalienable right.

    I'll pose a hypothetical situation here. Let's say a woman is raped, and she is pregnant against her will. A staunch feminist, she decides that if it were female fetus, she'd carry it to full term, but she's absolutely opposed to bring forth a male progeny of the rapist. She wishes to have a gender test on this basis. I don't think that the State or anyone else has any business interfering with her choice.

    Abortion against her will is a different matter altogether. And, I suspect that a significant fraction of the female abortions infanticides in India are forced on the women, overtly or surreptitiously. I personally have been a silent witness to forced abortion and infanticide [sort of]. Here is one that I came across today: 10 family members held for forced abortion. Here's another: Woman dies during ‘forced’ abortion.

    With my research limited to online sources, I couldn't find hard and comprehensive data on forced abortions in India. If any of the readers could point to a reliable source, I'd be grateful.


  9. ~*sim*~ Says:

    i was just telling a new friend from the US this past weekend that the gender ratio in india favours men by a lot -- and he was shocked. seriously shocked. it took me a little while to get angry again, since i've just grown so jaded and used to explaining female infanticide and dowry deaths and creative [read: son-centric] "family planning"... but angry i have been for the last couple of days. there was a time when i thought the indian statistics were normal, and there were more men in every country just like there were in india (even if for different reasons). how could i forget that the truth is something else altogether? thanks, usha, for another thoughtful and thought-provoking post.


  10. Usha Says:

    Rouhana: We do have laws which try to give men and women equal rights and punishments against evil practices like dowry. But it seems that unless there is an drastic change socially, these laws will continue to be powerless.

    Karthik:Law can say that female foeticide is punishable. But who is taking the matter to court?Everyone seems to "understand" the reasons behind the act and turn a blind eye. Social thinking has to change and there has to be outrage against this. And the reasons why life is difficult for a woman have to change too - that can happen by empowering women. Empowerment can happen only when women are educated about their own right and have the means to enforce them.
    Education can be a powerful tool.

    Hipgran: what a shame! And isn't there a mother in the girl's family and the boys'?

    Sriram: That is a showpiece for votes in the next elections and imagine the image we could project to the world!
    Hypocrisy at its best!

    Rashmi:I agree education and a consequent social change can be the only long term solutions.
    As for marriages, I think we should ban all the ostentation and only allow a civil marriage and a private religious ceremony in their houses. All wedding halls to be converted to schools?
    It is the "big" weddings of "BIG" families that set the standards for weddings which slowly trickles down to the poorer classes as a scaled down version in terms of the demands for gifts.Ban them all.

    StS:I agree that women are equally responsible - why? they believe that the girl has nothing but suffering to look forward to. We need to change this condition and remove the causes for a girl's suffering in society.
    If they do it out of fear of their in-laws, then the laws for crime against women have to be made more powerful. Special courts for such cases and quick dispensation of justice with stringent punishments. Not a Panchayat which functions on 10th century beliefs.

    The RF:I meant the right of a female child to live - I was only thinking of gender -selective abortions where the foetus is killed for the only fault of being female.
    I will change it now.

    Sim:I am angry even trying to make some of these women see that a girl is no less than a boy. One of them turned around and said "it is alright for you to speak. You are lucky to have a son." Whaaaaaaaaaaat??


  11. S! Says:

    Certainly, an issue of immense consequences. And I certainly think, like you've mentioned, that this is not the right forum.

    Actually, for a while, I could not believe your point 2. Of all the absurdities you could stoop to...

    S!


  12. Paavai Says:

    Since we are busy protesting against Pubs closing at 11:30 pm, if smooching should be allowed onscreen etc etc, these petty issues slip out of our consciousness you see.

    Change has to happen at an individual level for it to happen at a societal level.

    I agree with you that the big one that needs to be done away with is the practice of ostentatious marriage. Education (not literacy since I firmly believe that education and college degrees are not synonymous) is the only other way for social change.


  13. namvor Says:

    hi usha.

    visit pretty often, but commenting first time.

    here in the UK and from what i hear all of the west people are more in favour of having daughters. i have two and am often told by complete strangers how lucky i am to have them!

    it could be because here the daughter takes a more active interest in looking after old parents. not completely sure though.

    an american mom at my daughter's school asked me 10 min after we first met - 'so what exactly is the status of women in india? i am a bit confused - you have had a woman prime minster for so long but i also hear of female infanticide..' - she wasnt being sarcastic but was genuinely puzzled. couldnt enlighten her much myself.


  14. Usha Says:

    Souvik:But there must be something we can do too. what? what? For instance Rajaram mohan Roy wasnt from the milieu or state that practised sati but he did manage to get it abolished.
    As for the second point Manusmriti ( text worthy of being banned in today's context) says:
    pumnamno narakadyastu trayate pitaram sutah
    tasmat putra iti proktah svayameva swayambhuva


    "Because a son of his own, by birth, saves a father from the hell called "Put" he is called Putra.
    And here's one from the Ramayana:
    'A son is born his sire to free
    From Put's infernal pains:
    Hence, saviour of his father, he
    The name of Puttra gains.'

    Paavai:I even know some people who say "of course these things don't happen in India anymore!" and someone else who said "it is better "these" children are not brought into the world!"
    Yes, our literacy figures have nothing to do with the level of education. The above characters exemplify this fact.

    Namvor:Ya it is tough to explain to an outsdier - that within India we have so many different Indias.


  15. DotMom Says:

    Very, very upsetting. But such things are hardly new. Wonder if anybody has stats on female infant/fetal deaths over the last century.

    the sad thing is that in many cases, they are not "forced". The mothers themselves don't want a girl child to live a life they do.

    There days, I am seriously wondering if "educating" the masses helps the issue. These ideas are deeply religious and have been entrenched for centuries. Perhaps greater economic freedom will help these people put a distance between themselves and these traditions.


  16. Am sure there is something we can do..at the grassroot level at any level at all...am sure even one step that is taken will amount to something..anything is better than this inactivity.
    If there is something..anything that we can do then please please do let me know..this kind of rage eases only once I act on it.


  17. DotMom Says:

    I commented earlier, but there was so much I needed to say to your post and MadMomma's and the comment left by Rational Fool, I ended up blogging. I am playing the devil's advocate, do be patient. But do read and leave me your thoughts.
    http://thekarmacallingblog.blogspot.com/2007/07/gender-bender.html


  18. Nisha Says:

    Though we say that India is growing leaps and bounds in all fields, there is a section of the society, that needs lots of development in lifestyle, food and education. Just literacy is not enough, we need to educate them on their rights, we need to teach them self respect and acceptance of who they are. Whatever or whoever will do it is a mystery. But we can definitely bring about a change at a smaller level by educating our maids and others who work for us, with us.


  19. Nisha said:
    Though we say that India is growing leaps and bounds in all fields, there is a section of the society, that needs lots of development ...

    Did you mean men or women ;)


  20. Usha Says:

    dotmom:Some stats are available but we cant say how reliable they are. I am sure the figure is larger than the stats show. For links see the post by The Rational Fool at http://the rationalfool.blogspot.com. I read your post on this issue toe . I appreciate your POV. I am glad that more people are thinking about the issue and talking about what we CAN do rather than saying it doesn't happen in our circles. Social awareness and involvement are the first steps towards changing the situation.

    random vignettes: Write about it. Talk to people who think girls are lesser than boys. Educate your maids on their rights on the opportunities available for a woman beyond marriage. Sponsor the education of their girl child.

    Nisha: The sad fact is that it is not just the uneducated and the poor who have prejudices against a girl child. This is more deep seated than that.
    You are right, we need to become more aware of our rights, become more confident to stand on our two feet. The more priveleged women need to be there for them all the way.

    The RF: Don't you think it is a backward thinking man that oppresses a woman? applies equally to them both I guess.


  21. Usha wrote:
    Don't you think it is a backward thinking man that oppresses a woman? ...
    That's precisely what I think!


  22. Usha Says:

    The RF:Was just answering on your behalf!
    :)


  23. Sunita Says:

    Yeah Usha, it boils your blood to see stuff like this happening around. Education is the only mantra that will change attitudes and bring in women empowerment. Things can change only when every individual can voice their choice fearlessly and we can believe in law & order of the country to protect us when we do.


  24. What a shame. In 20 years more than twice the population of a country (like NZ) is killed in India!

    Why have be brought our country to such a pass? By 'We' I mean all of us...our ancestors etc. taking collective responsibility for the crime...by our greed and competition and lack of social conscience.

    Now, a good thought can be 'how can the good people contribute to prevent such atrocities?.'

    Surely this country is worsening because of apathy from the Good people...as much as from the badness of the bad people.


  25. Sirensongs Says:

    Thanks for this post, and thanks to all the commenters for being so engaged with this subject.

    Please check out the international campaign, '50 Million Missing,' aimed at raising awareness of this very issue, India's female genocide. Our core concept is to represent as many of the missing Indian women and girls with a photograph, and eventually to have a touring photo/educational exhibit and publish a book of the photos and essays. Check it out at
    http://www.flickr.com/groups/50_million_missing

    Sorry to crash your page like this but it is great to see so many people discussing the subject in one place. Thanks again for being empassioned!


  26. Fuzzylogic Says:

    This is such depressing news and everytime I read this it gets my blood boiling.Education and awareness is certainly the key. But does it really?I know of so many so called educated class of people who openly state their preference for one gender over the other when it comes to their progeny. Not to mention the hefty dowries and the absolutely applalling attitude towards girls in general. And at times its the women who themselves discriminate which makes it all the more sad!Everytime the news makes headlines and then it gets forgotten becomes another statistical figure. It all boils down to the need for change in the whole attitude of the society and mass awareness and education can help. And each one has to do what they can. When our maid was hell bent on putting her young daughters to work rather than school my mom fought tooth and nail with her and made her agree to send them back to school. Maybe if we can succeed even changing the attitude of one person and empowering one woman I think that can be a start.


  27. Anonymous Says:

    1. Could you give us some idea as to where the 10 million number came from?

    2. Most of the "reasons" you put forward for the low sex ratios seem particular to Hindus; perhaps, even more particularly to high-caste Hindus. Yet, even states with low percentage of Hindus (parts of the Northeast, for example) have low sex ratios. Is the explanation perhaps more complex?

    3. Related to the above, the countries surrounding India - since they are mostly non-Hindu - ought to have better sex ratios. They don't, except for Sri Lanka and Myanmar. However, Sri Lanka's gains appear to have been since 1980 and they have been startling, to say the least. See the map of world sex ratios and observe Sri Lanka's progress since 1980 at:

    http://tinyurl.com/yur4n5

    I also note from the above map a regression in Bhutan's sex ratio - I have no idea why.

    I don't know any of the answers; just pointing out some things to ponder. Btw, for a map of the 2001 sex ratio state-wise, see

    http://tinyurl.com/ndths


  28. Usha Says:

    Sunita:Agree.

    Bala:Yes this issue is so large that each one of us needs to take the initiative to counter this kind of prejudice at an individual level - help, educate or threaten then with the law.

    Sirensongs; Thank you for the information. Please keep me updated on any action plan that needs to be passed around to people. Would love to contribute in my small way. Will be watching your space for developments too.

    Fuzzy:Yes what your mom did is what we all need to do. if we can educate that one person each, we can make a difference.

    anon:These are accepted statistics published in all he newspapers across the country based on research work done by health workers and private agencies. Please go to google and type "foeticide in India statistics" and see what you get.
    Thanks for your pointers.


  29. Usha,

    I'd like to respond to the anonymous' questions; I hope you don't mind.

    Anon,

    (1) The 10 million figure is a statistically interpreted number based on a study, published in the Lancet medical journal. It uses 1997 data collected from "ever-married women living in 1·1 million households in 6671 nationally-representative units". The full text of the article is available here (requires free registration).

    (2,3) As far as I know, the Hindu religious strictures on the need for a son cut across caste lines. Then again, I am an atheist, what do I know :( If you have info to the contrary, please share it with us. It is also my contention that these cut across religious lines, in India and the neighboring countries, deeply entrenching themselves in the cultural ethos of the region. Witness, for example, all the controversies over casteism among Indian Muslims and Christians, their conversions to these religions not withstanding. Not that these religions are any less misogynist than Hinduism.

    Taken together with the economic causes (in China, for e.g) of female genocide, it may be possible to explain the data that you have pointed to, but that'd be serious academic exercise. If you have the time and interest, please do so; it'll go a long way in improving our understanding of this despicable phenomenon.


  30. Usha Says:

    The Rf: Thankyou.
    Anon: please check this case study on female infanticide in India and China at
    http://www.gendercide.org/case_infanticide.html
    It is obvious that in many of these countries , irrespective of the religion, the economoc and social causes for female infanticide are similar:
    For example I quote from the above:
    In china, "culture dictates that when a girl marries she leaves her family and becomes part of her husband's family. For this reason Chinese peasants have for many centuries wanted a son to ensure there is someone to look after them in their old age -- having a boy child is the best pension a Chinese peasant can get. Baby girls are even called "maggots in the rice" ... ("The Dying Rooms Trust")

    As for the ratios regionwise, the northeast seems to be doing very well especially Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal and sikkim- all over 1000!

    As the Rf mentions in his comment, please share your findings.


  31. Anonymous Says:

    As for the ratios regionwise, the northeast seems to be doing very well especially Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal and sikkim- all over 1000!

    I don't know where you got this information from but the data at the Census of India suggests otherwise. Take a look at this map at their website:

    http://tinyurl.com/2jj8uc

    The districts with a sex ratio greater than 1000 are mostly in Kerala and TN and Madhya Pradesh/Chattisgarh/Orissa (the "tribal" belt?) plus parts of Himachal and a few other districts. The Northeast as a whole seems to have a sex ratio less than 1000, even looking district-wise.

    What is worrying - and in a certain sense, interesting - is why the sex ratio is declining over the years. Religious tradition etc. may explain why the sex ratio is biased against women but it does not explain the decline in the sex ratio over the years. On the medindia.com website, the sex ratio is reported as having declined from 946 in 1951 to 927 in 1991 while in 1901 the ratio was as "high" as 972. Surely, this decline cannot be due to religious traditions per se since these traditions did not change over that period.

    I guess what might be going on is some combination of religious and culture factors along with some economic or even technological factors. (The development of things like sonograms which make it easy to determine the sex of the unborn child may have accentuated the existing prejudice against the girl child.)

    Also, I think as Indians, we should pay greater attention to the remarkably contrary example of Sri Lanka since 1980 - after all, it too, shares the "cultural ethos" of the subcontinent to a large extent and understanding what has happened there may help develop policies relevant to us too.

    I am no expert but will share whatever I find with this forum.


  32. Usha Says:

    Anon:
    My source was:
    http://www.censusindia.net/results/eci15_page3.html
    I see that it just refers to the top rural and urban districts in which these states find a place. But even the average statewise is not very bad for these as seen from the Unicef figures here:
    http://www.unicef.org/india/CHILD_SEX_RATIO.pdf

    Changes between 1901 and 2001 may also be due to other factors such as people opting to have less number of children. An average family had 4 to 5 children then. Comparison over the past 30 years may be more realistic as we would be comparing figures under more or less similar conditions.
    And you are right, legalisation of abortion and access to technology for gender detection have been major contributors.
    Where ore natal detection is not available, the baby is killed at birth.


  33. Hi..I've been reading your posts for a while..And thought about this a lot. I think there are a very distinct class of people who do these atrocities...They aren't the really poor laborours..landless, homeless, travelling workmen we see in those huts, for they take all their kids along, a male mouth to feed is the same as a female, the male and female work alongside, earning possibly similar daily wages. They aren't the really rich, nor the families that have more than enough money for their daily needs and enough intellectual exposure - the upper middle class.
    I think the culprits are the ones who just have enough money to survive, and just enough brains to shut themselves from thoughts that they don't want to think - The lower middle class strata of society. No matter how we decry, there are still classes in society and they hardly mingle. And a survey of the known households where foeticide happened would tell us where the weakness in our society lies.


  34. Anonymous Says:

    Usha:

    The same UNICEF document that you mention also shows a uniform deterioration in the sex ratio from 1991 to 2001 across almost all states, north-east including. In Nagaland, it went down from 993 to 964, in Manipur from 974 to 957, in Arunachal Pradesh from 982 to 964, in Assam from 975 to 965, in Mizoram from 969 to 964, Sikkim from 965 to 963 and Tripura from 967 to 966.

    That document also shows that most of the really worrying huge negative trends come in Punjab (875 to 798), Haryana (879 to 819), Chandigarh (899 to 845), Himachal (951 to 896), Maharashtra (946 to 913) and Uttaranchal (948 to 908).

    I am not suggesting that religious and cultural attitudes do not play a role here...but one really has to be careful. Why the huge decline in Nagaland (-29), a state mostly Christian, and one where "Hindu" influence has been minimal? What explains why UP (the "Aryavarta" and the representation of all that "we" (the elite) are trying to leave behind) declined only from 927 to 916 (ok that's a low base anyway) and why Punjab went massively down from an even lower base of 875 to an astonishingly low 798)? Surely UP and Punjab are close, culturally speaking?

    All this, at the very least, appears complex. I do not have an explanation but I suspect it is not as easy as we like to think. Religious prejudice, no doubt, has a role but it is by no means the complete explanation.

    If we are to reverse the deteriorating sex ratio, then we have to understand what's going on first. I am suggesting that we don't have a good handle on what's been happening. I also think it is good if we understand Sri Lanka as that country managed to reverse its adverse sex ratio in a fairly short time and is also culturally close to us.


  35. Usha Says:

    Krishnapriya:I do not have the figures on this based on income levels or social strata wise. But we do know that a preference for the male child exists cutting across class barriers. This is deeply entrenched in our society. We need to attack this.

    Anon: I agree the census figures alone are not sufficient to reveal all and we need further studies to understand the problem in its entirety.
    And yes the Srilankan experience must be worth a study and emulation. Please share if you find any resources detailing info on the Srilankan strategy.
    Thank you.


  36. Mahadevan Says:

    The modern educated urban women and the less educated deprived rural women, both go for work, contribute to the family needs and are not financially dependent. Therefore, economic consideration alone does not dictate the passion for male child. Religion should have played a more positive role in providing a respectable place to women in society. Religion's failure to issue a 'fatwa' to its erring male members and submitting females and the dominant males' selfishness alone lead to female foeticide, female infanticide and rape ( equally heinous crime).
    This abominable practice cuts across caste lines, relilgious practices and geographical boundaries in our region.


  37. A.R.Malik Says:

    Re hard data: While extensive literature exists on reasons for abortions (mostly to do with ignorance about contraception and no se4xual rights), and service quality (mostly abysmal), I couldn't find any published literature on the reasons for preference for male offspring, beyond the tired clich of "cultural mores".

    So, before ANYTHING else, I would want some formative research to be done on the issue. The reasons u've mentioned in your post are ones we're all familiar with, but from a scientific POV, they're assumptions until proven otherwise.

    having said that, I suspect u're mostly right, both about the stated reasons, as well as the fact they're misplaced. And that's a helluva understatement.

    I'd just add one more point: the complicity of doctors in the genocide. We're all familiar with the cliche'd image of the back-alley quack who does abortions by stealth. Lets also talk about the tens of thousands of USG operators, most of them registered radiologists, who conduct ultrasound tests- and break the law about revealing the fetus' gender for money.


  38. Usha Says:

    Mahadevan: I think no religion condones killing children and yet this goes on - so it seems to me that the reasons are more economic and social. Perhaps religious gurus should openly denounce the practise like the Kanchi Shankaracharya used to talk against dowry. Perhpas in this swamiji/guru -struck society that may work. My latest post is inspired by your mention of "rape".

    Abhilash:
    ou might like to read the book "disappearing daughters" by geeta Aravamudan - would be grateful to take a peek too once you are finished!
    www.hindu.com/mag/2007/05/27/stories/2007052750110500.htm

    check this out too:
    http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673606679300/fulltext

    And I'd expect some more research from someone with your kind of background on this.


  39. Rita Says:

    Hi everyone. In December 2006 I had started an international campaign to raise awareness about the issues surround the elimination of 50 million women from India's population. It is called The 50 Million Missing International Campaign and is at www.50millionmissing.com. Yes actually it is at least 50 million based on the last census of 2002 -- and Dr. Amartya Sen is who first calculated the "missing" number in 1986. Then he had reported at least 37 million "missing". He coined the term "missing" for they were the people who should have been in India's population but were not! We have been having similar discussions like yours here -- and as a group our focus is on finding strategic solutions. The first plan is to launch an international petition to be presented to the government of India . This is essentially a genocide -- and it has to be dealt with on a massive governmental scale. Unless the law, the police and the administration cooperate -- any effort is like putting a band-aid on a cracked skull. I think it is our culture of secrecy and shame that has allowed for this to flourish to this monstrous size. Right now we are seeking suggestions about the format of the petition. So please, all of you, interested in joining in to make a difference, do click in and make your suggestions. Thanks, Rita Banerji


  40. Thanks for this article, I am reading it today, long, long after you first published it, but it's still as relevant.

    We need such write ups.