24 June, 2021

Girl Child Is Still A Curse Word

Nothing bridges our urban-rural divide better than the preference for sons, even in this new century

Girl Child Is Still A Curse Word
Indian civilisation’s claim to abiding greatness and enduring values could stand severely tested with its systematic mass murder of unborn girl babies. An obsession with sons from the age of Atharva Veda ("Let a female child be born somewhere else. Here let a son be born") and lawgiver Manu’s treatise, legitimised through tradition and belief, has percolated down to 21st century India. Ironically, Pakistan, with its basis of an ‘Islamic’ reality, does not do much better—the sex ratio there is 938 girls for every 1,000 boys.

Delhi leads the way with a record 24,000 girls missing every year. Prosperous urban areas like Chandigarh, Sangli and Mehsana follow suit, playing role models to impoverished rural Bharat. Jeans-clad, pub-trotting, mangalsutra-wedded couples share one value with men who sport phetas (turbans) and women who demurely shield their face with the ghunghat. This shared value, an all-consuming preference for sons, spans the urban-rural divide and cuts across shameful disparities in consumption patterns and nutrition...

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