Daughter Depletion in India

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 00:00 GFP Columnist - Dr. Mamta Anand
A Peril in Missing Millions!  - Cheers for the prophets, poets and philosophers of all ages. Many of whom were awarded a cup of poison but they lived to magnetize the world by their religious spirits and continue to exert the spiritual force even today. Treatment of women in every age has remained their special cause of concern.

The ancient law giver of India Manu, in elucidating on the importance of treating women well, opined; ‘men prosper where women are revered. Where she is radiant everybody else is radiant. Where she is miserable everything gets destroyed.’ Struggles elsewhere in the world and specially that of Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammad revolved round justice for women and their well being. World has seen the glorious efforts of the enlightened in restoring a proper place for women brought important religious, civilizing, cultural upheavals.

India of the 21st century awaits a religious movement of the kind that should enable us to realize the merit in the wisdom of the Providence. A serious study of the spirituality in religion and sublime literature of the world reveals that their abiding themes have been an understanding of the relation of man and woman. The creation always is the story of the two forces coming together in any form animate or inanimate, spiritual or material.

Poet Jayadev in his magnum opus, Gita Govindam asserts ‘Krishna, is the spirit led by celestial Radha for the fulfillment of its nature’. In the geometry of the creation, man and woman represent the two primeval forces viz. masculine and feminine. They come together and enhance the scheme of life by weaving like two strong strands of a fabric. They maintain separate spheres of command and yet bring beauty in mutual co-operation and obligation.

One thread cut in a garment, leaves it torn and sagging. This is the present situation of India. For centuries India despised her daughters as burdens, lest India must fail to realize how perilous it was for her sons, who remained subdued by the torturous powers of the world for many centuries.

2011 census of India brings to the notice of the world for the first time a big hole in the fabric of the national existence in terms of the several million missing girls. A highly reputed daily, Economic Times, reported, “Despite a slew of laws to prevent female foeticide and schemes to encourage families to have girl child, the ratio has declined from 927 females against 1,000 males in 2001 to 914, which was described as a "matter of grave concern" by Census Commissioner of India C Chandramauli.” These girls that were culled by the families who thought of replacing them with boys for forlorn fortune have left India massively wounded in her missing millions! The tragedy is that this wound should run deep and green even with the surplus boys India should produce.

Scientists who ever abound with the theories on depletion of the ozone layer resulting in an environmental crisis regrettably have few exhaustible hypotheses on how depletion of daughters defeats the human existence. They are instead propagating methods to do away with daughters in the most bloodless way possible.

Social scientists have only a few warnings to issue pertaining to the availability of daughters for the sons to be married. We continue with skewed understanding of the primeval forces and think about girls only with the reference to boys. It is highly regrettable to see how we live in blindness of fear arresting our thought process rendering us worthless in devising a corrective solution to the problem. There are still no serious comments and examination of the unhealthy cultural practices that besets the Indian mind pilfering with the cosmic design.

Our women are still forced to exist in an unremitted state of constant deprivation by threat to their interests and person in repeated reports of rapes in metros, dowry-deaths, commodification by media, and ostracism of those that rebel, breaking centuries old shackles on them. It is John Ruskin, the inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi and a philosophical prophetic writer who said in his Queen’s Garden, ‘woman is a home and that the nailing of the prophet on the cross was due to women abandoning her task of making a garden of this wild world’.

It is obvious from the statement that woman is a nurturing force in the creation. If women do not flourish proper development would be impossible. The peril in the depletion of daughters in India and in the missing million girls is in the backfire of nature lashing with numerous handicaps- mental, moral and physical. There would only be frustrations and imbalances leading to chaos in the society. Do we need more explanations to understand the current crisis in India? We struggle with the repeated terrorist attacks, separatist state movements and the staggering political state to say the least is just a corollary of the condition a vast majority of women are living in India today.

Along with a Fulbright Fellowship Award, Mamta Anand has a PhD in English Literature and several Masters Degrees.  Mamta hails from Jabalpur, India and has a strong interest Women's Issues, and is a vocal advocate against female foeticide. mamtaindia.com

Image Courtesy of ArtOfLiving.org

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