Apr 13, 2012

Baby Bad Day [103/365]

source: bbc.co.uk
I don't know about you, but does it strike you as strange that we've had at least two infants die out of the torture met out by their 'caretakers' in a span of just 2 months?

About 30 days after Baby Falak died, we've had another three month old infant; Baby Hina suffer an inglorious and painful death. (Read the news here)
While I can understand why Indians would not want a girl child, I can't understand why our laws seem unwilling to punish individuals who exploit the system.

What are we waiting for?
How many more Falaks and Hinas should die before the judicial system wakes up?
Long ingrained notions of how expensive it is to have a girl must be broken. The most important change that must happen is in our practice of giving and accepting dowry. Of all kinds. Very few married couples I know have not exchanged dowry. While the stigma is huge, the ignominy of sending a girl without any seed money is overwhelming.
The shame, the unscrupulous questions and the dishonor that a bride will face from her husband and in-laws is something that we need to change.
It will be difficult but not impossible.
Free and quality education, free and essential healthcare, and a welfare system that will take care of parents with girl children can be a start. Many nations in the west have a better gender ratio and female literacy rate because of the emphasis that the government puts on women.

I've always believed growing up as a girl in India is perhaps the biggest achievement that a woman anywhere can claim. If she is lucky, she will get parents who won't mind having a girl child.
She'll then have to survive a childhood where the parents will sometimes have to field questions like 'Now, you need to have a boy too' is tough for the girl. She is made to feel that she has not fulfilled her parent's requirement (wish) to have a boy.
If she is lucky, she would enjoy couple of years of education. If not, she'd end up in the kitchen, farm or in other people homes.
As she approaches 22, the parents' search for a boy to offload her becomes frantic. Most girls are made to feel they are a non performing asset if they remain unmarried at 26. Frantic calculation of dowry is also made.
Upon identification of a suitable boy, money is discussed and the sale is fixed.
Marriages being the boisterous expensive affair today, conducting it is one more liability.
Offloaded, the parents can now:
a) marry their sons off in relative peace.
b) start worrying about the next daughter in line. Any immovable property will have to be sold/mortgaged.
c) retire in poverty. Peaceful at last.
A year or two later, the daughter gives birth. If girl, repeat above cycle. If boy, everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

Until then, we will continue to hear stories of atrocities against defenseless infants and the girl child.
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