Mar 12, 2009
TO BE A GIRL IN INDIA: BOON OR CURSE?
A question I have to painfully ask myself every passing day. The moment I try to find a fragment of hope which would make me the proud Indian I so desire to be, I’m faced with abominations that leave me shame-faced.
While channel surfing today I came across a new and disturbing tele-series dealing with female foeticide. And it crushed my heart, it really did. A day old girl was fed grounded glass mixed with milk because she dared to come into this world as a girl. She was left to die, foaming at mouth because she could not possibly hope to be a burden on her family. A mere infant.
I had always known about this of course. How could I not? But of course I too belong to the despicable class of human beings who won’t care to ruffle their comfort but only spare a few tears to the cause. It doesn’t directly affect us does it? We are alive and healthy. So a few million girls are dying every year? What on earth can we do about it? Nothing
And every time I ask myself, is it so wrong to be a woman in my country?
A country which bows down in reverence to Goddesses. A country where the word Maa (mother) takes on a spiritual meaning. A country which journeys miles, fasts, doesn’t dare raise their eyes to Devi Maa.
But also a country where even today a girl child is considered to be the biggest curse God can lash upon some hapless father. A country where a widow has to become Sati to honor a dead husband by being burnt alive in her husband’s pyre. A country where parents kill their own flesh and blood in the fear of the dowry they’ll have to pay during her marriage. It’s easier to nip the problem in the bud. Why incur all the cost and then be crippled with the dowry? Just drown the wretched child in scalding milk.
The same tiny hands which clung fast to the mother’s finger will one day end the life of another mother-to-be. How easy it is to forget the cocoon of a womb. Bent down by the rules of the so called society. A society which hopes to progress in the world. To be counted as one of the super powers. A successful nation which doesn’t respect her women?
And the most astounding fact. At the helm of most of these heinous atrocities you will find a woman. A woman with a heart blackened by the soot of evil traditions. A woman who will pray to almighty to be blessed with a boy. Pray that her doorstep not be darkened by the miserable shadow of a girl. Hoping with all her might of a male heir who will be the light of her life. How can one expect a spoilt brat of a man to understand when the victims themselves become the perpetrators?
According to recent statistics; in India, 10 million female foeticdes have been reported in the past 20 years alone. It is estimated that a dowry death occurs in India every 90 minutes. If there is God, where is he? For surely, God is not a she? Not in this land.
And sometimes you even begin to comprehend why a mother so desires a male child. Which mother can see her daughter’s soul being shredded since the time she is born? Her daughter being treated as a commodity? A commodity to be bartered among the superior males at every step of her life. From the time she is born (if she is indeed graced as such) till the time she is killed. Who can blame her? After all she has gone through all of this. Why would she want to see it all over again?
Every year the State discovers cheap plastic bags stuffed with female fetuses in the order of thousands. At dumping sites. I love my country, I truly do. I want to be reborn here in all my other lives. the only thing is: will I be allowed to?
I should thank my stars to be born to people who love me and want me. At the same time something prickles at the back of my eyes when I think, that somewhere, at this moment a tiny, hopeful heartbeat is going to be doused in burning oil.