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Old 23rd May 2011, 12:10   #1
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Default Celebrating the girl child

BBC News - Where are India's millions of missing girls?

having just become a father myself, to a beautiful baby girl, I found this report quite a bit unsettling. I figured the last decade or so would have seen such barbaric practices put away and forgotten, instead, modern tech and a seemingly insatiable greed is fueling the genocide ever more....

old habits, customs, rituals, call them what you will, but stuff like this roots a country in the savage dark ages, as it tries to reach into the future.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 12:51   #2
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Default Re: the curious case of the vanishing girls.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by jai-uno-t View Post
having just become a father myself, to a beautiful baby girl...

(...)old habits, customs, rituals, call them what you will, but stuff like this roots a country in the savage dark ages, as it tries to reach into the future.
Congrats Jai. Welcome to the club. Daughters are a delight. It has to be a very sick or stupid person who will not welcome one into his/her family. Unfortunately, India has enough of both.

A colleague of mine who already has a 10 year old daughter had a "surprise" gift: twin girls! I congratulated her and told her she was very lucky. I doubt she has got/will get this sort of reaction from anyone, but she was delighted and thanked me back.

Women are what keeps the world sane and beautiful and it's a matter of pride to bring one into the world and raise her as your child, giving her all the rights and privileges that you would a male child. Someday perhaps people will realise this. Till then, all we can do is change the world, one child at a time...!
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Old 23rd May 2011, 13:03   #3
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Default Re: the curious case of the vanishing girls.....

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Originally Posted by jai-uno-t View Post
having just become a father myself, to a beautiful baby girl
Hearty congrats to you jai-uno-t; I had read somewhere that a son is only a son till he gets married, but a daughter is forever (maybe a bit off on the quote; do correct me!)

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Women are what keeps the world sane and beautiful and it's a matter of pride to bring one into the world and raise her as your child, giving her all the rights and privileges that you would a male child. Someday perhaps people will realise this. Till then, all we can do is change the world, one child at a time...!
+100 noopster; people dont realise the significance of women in building society and character. What I dont understand is that some women also start believing in this due to all the hardships they must have faced through their life.
One of my very well educated friends chose a vacation to another country in South East Asia to get this test done and subsequently went in for an abortion. Now she is expecting again and has multiple complications, but is still stubborn on having a boy. I am not sure of the pressures on her from others; both his & her families are also well educated and very well off. I really do not understand their perspective or thought process. I can only hope and pray for the safety and happiness of the girl child.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 13:11   #4
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Default Re: the curious case of the vanishing girls.....

This will self-correct on its own - nature has a way of restoring the balance on its own.

There are other savageries in nature, such as the praying Mantis female which eats its male partner after copulation, or bears and big cats which kill or eat their young for fear of competition, nature corrects those balances over millions of years.

The problem is not female foeticide, it is female empowerment. Due to lack of development and awareness a woman is seen as a burden on the family rather than an asset. As there will be less and less women in society (some estimates put Haryana at 863 women/1000men, which means a few million Haryanvi men will have no brides available over the next ten years) their status and importance will rise due to parallel development (one hopes).

It will take about fifty years for this trend to reverse. One cannot bring back the lives of those that are gone or will go. One can only do their best for those that remain with us. What is really ironic is that we have women in positions of political power, sports heroes, professional over-achievers and foeticide is still rampant. This is because the parents see no future with a girl child in their reality. That is the real problem.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 13:23   #5
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Default Re: the curious case of the vanishing girls.....

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The problem is not female foeticide, it is female empowerment. Due to lack of development and awareness a woman is seen as a burden on the family rather than an asset. As there will be less and less women in society (some estimates put Haryana at 863 women/1000men, which means a few million Haryanvi men will have no brides available over the next ten years) their status and importance will rise due to parallel development (one hopes).
I really hope that your words come true. My fear is that with current trends more than empowerment, they are being bludgeoned into submission. Unfortunately most of the times, this is done uinder the garb of 'tradition', 'customs' etc. and other women are complicit in these activities too
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Old 23rd May 2011, 14:33   #6
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Default Re: the curious case of the vanishing girls.....

"Women continue to outnumber men in Kerala with sex ratio increasing to 1,084 in 2011 from 1,058 in 2001, according to census figures." from the Indian Express.

On my trips to my hometown and travel across Kerala to friends/relatives homes in the past 30 yrs or so I have noticed more girl kids with parents at train stations/bus-stands/malls/streets than boys. No wonder that stat. However the report further says:

"However, sex ratio among children in the age group 0-6 dipped slightly to 959 in the last ten years from 960 in 2001."

Now thats really alarming. It will be interesting to see if the oldest census that we have showed better numbers. And will 4 census down the line the situation would be reverse in the overall census?

Another question is, if literacy has a connection to this? Kerala has 93%.

Good point from cranky is empowerment. In Kerala in the Hindu community property goes to women and its matriarchal. Mary Roy's 25 yrs long fought case from Kottayam for equal property rights with her siblings won recently and the 1986 ruling augurs well for maintaining healthy female numbers. Zuhara is fighting strongly in the Malabar region against all odds for Muslim women rights. But more importantly what gave her strength to fight - support from other communities, local support and a progressive educated questioning society.

So, I feel that work needs to be done in small areas, bit-by-bit, collective revolt/uprising/ostracizing-wrong-doers, will help similar to Kerala.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 15:58   #7
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Default Re: the curious case of the vanishing girls.....

to compare human and animal behaviour in these matters is way off the mark, animals act out of instinct and need, humans made the evolutionary jump thousands of years ago, and have a choice. we choose the path we want to take, and the wether we want to kill in the name of whatever screwed up logic our family, friends, peers or society whisper in our ears. to do so, based purely on the gender of the intended target, places us below an animal .

these people choose to kill their offspring, wether before conception with pre-screening, during with scan with an abortion, and finally infanticide after birth.

at all stages, society, egged on by family pressure, the indolence of a weak and corrupt government, and the disgusting avarice of a medical community that cannot wait to turn modern tech into a fast easy fat wallet, contributes to the situation.

50 years to sort itself out? you're having a laugh right? where has the last few decades of legislation regarding dowries and gender based abortion gone? millions gone already, how many more to go? and add into the mix it's not just out in the rural areas this is happening, the affluent middleclasses, the movers and shakers, opinion makers and trend setters, all are up to their ears in it..

my hope? i can, like my father has done, equip my daughter with the skills, knowledge and strength of character to stand on her own two feet, and not rely on her future partner, but as the term suggests, be their equal.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 17:27   #8
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Default re: Celebrating the girl child

I assume your post refers to mine?

It's not as off the mark as you think. Basic behaviour does not change.

Choice is based on circumstances and experience. Instinct still guides most of our actions - if one actually sat down and used logic - the outcome would have been very different.

Just because you (and hopefully, a lot of people reading this) have good judgement does not mean everyone does. Legislation is meaningless when those subject to it or in charge of administering it do not find it relevant or have disdain for it.

You should feel proud for the fact you have a daughter, and feel sad for the girls that did not make it. I share that sentiment. Where I disagree with you is the expectation that others should feel or behave the same way. This is a social disorder and anthropological in nature, because those that indulge in this sort of thinking have obviously not evolved beyond animal stages themselves.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 17:53   #9
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Originally Posted by cranky View Post
Just because you (and hopefully, a lot of people reading this) have good judgement does not mean everyone does. Legislation is meaningless when those subject to it or in charge of administering it do not find it relevant or have disdain for it.

You should feel proud for the fact you have a daughter, and feel sad for the girls that did not make it. I share that sentiment. Where I disagree with you is the expectation that others should feel or behave the same way. This is a social disorder and anthropological in nature, because those that indulge in this sort of thinking have obviously not evolved beyond animal stages themselves.
I think reducing the people who indulge in this behaviour as "without good judgement" or "not evolved beyond animals" is where you are off the mark. The scary truth is that these people are in our midst: educated ad illiterate, poor and rich, middle-class and affluent alike. I have had colleagues and classmates who discuss a serious social evil like dowry in a matter-of-fact, casual way and have occasionally reasoned and argued with such people against practicing it: on the surface they agree but somehow I get the feeling that what will transpire is something else completely. Female Foeticide and Infanticide is obviously not your regular lunchtime conversation topic, but like someone pointed out, it does happen even in those households which by all accounts should be more enlightened than the traditional male-craving family.

It particularly galls me that women themselves perpretuate this myth of male superiority and desirability by favouring their male offspring and treating the women in their own families with disdain and lack of respect. One has only to watch any of the prime time TV series in this country to see the kind of stuff that sells- obviously it is something that a vast majority of the country and its women identify with!

If I teach the women in my family anything, I hope it is this: do NOT be a doormat for a man, any man. Be independent- emotionally and financially- step out into the world, learn and experience everything, and NEVER allow anyone to tell you can't do something "because you're a woman".
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Old 23rd May 2011, 18:06   #10
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Default re: Celebrating the girl child

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Originally Posted by noopster View Post
If I teach the women in my family anything, I hope it is this: do NOT be a doormat for a man, any man. Be independent- emotionally and financially- step out into the world, learn and experience everything, and NEVER allow anyone to tell you can't do something "because you're a woman".

Well said noopster !

I am a very happy father to a daughter and feel that the attitute of the women towards the women in India needs to change in this changing time. Ofcourse they will need a big support from all of us to break the old ties.

Guess what, I am typing this in the office whilst my wify and kiddo are having a gala of time on a beach somewhere in GOA with an all female vacation . (Not that I dont like being a temporary batchelor )
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Old 23rd May 2011, 19:28   #11
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Default re: Celebrating the girl child

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Originally Posted by cranky View Post
I assume your post refers to mine?

It's not as off the mark as you think. Basic behaviour does not change.

Choice is based on circumstances and experience. Instinct still guides most of our actions - if one actually sat down and used logic - the outcome would have been very different.

Just because you (and hopefully, a lot of people reading this) have good judgement does not mean everyone does. Legislation is meaningless when those subject to it or in charge of administering it do not find it relevant or have disdain for it.

You should feel proud for the fact you have a daughter, and feel sad for the girls that did not make it. I share that sentiment. Where I disagree with you is the expectation that others should feel or behave the same way. This is a social disorder and anthropological in nature, because those that indulge in this sort of thinking have obviously not evolved beyond animal stages themselves.
it did, just because we used, and to an extent still do, to behave a certain way, doesn't mean we continue with it. legislation over the millenia from ancient times to now have sought to control our nastier thoughts and excess. otherwise, we'd still be burning women at the stake for being a witch, painting our faces blue, and marvelling at the sun god riding his chariot across the sky every day...

maybe it's me, a growing anger that after 13 years of trying, we are finally blessed with a child, something it would appear millions from a land my wife calls home, and i should be warming to, callously throw away without a second thought. with the approval of the absentee landlords that are a corrupt, inefficient govt, a medical profession that either turns a blind eye or outstretches a greedy hand to make a fast buck on the dubious thoughts of a morally deficient section of society.

but most of all it's society in general, turning a blind eye to the realities around you, whilst the few gorge themselves on whatever bit of new consumerism is at hand.

i still the remember the day i proposed to my wife, a pizza joint near juhu beach in mumbai, we talked and talked, order, didn't eat the lunch we had ordered, and when i proposed, forgot all about eating and talked some more. eventually was time to leave, and we had the food packed, but as we walked out, saw a couple of street kids, battered clothing, beaming smiles, she must have been about 7, her brother maybe 5, they asked for a couple of pennies, who was i to refuse, on such a day? i handed them the food, was a good omen, their faces lit up like million watt bulb, only to hear the leering derision of a parked up taxi driver, "why waste food on them?"...i'm not a violent a man, but i do deal in violence everyday...luckily for taximan, mrs jai has power to control me....

my point, even in the city that sparkles its dreams for the world to see, there is very little stock put in the value of it's future....

yes there are wider issues, i accept that, some well beyond peoples control, but this issue most certainly is not. it is firmly in their grasp.
turn left or right, diet or full fat coke, kill my child or nurture them, it's literally that simple.

btw: yes i'm intensely proud of the little one, to the point the wife has ordered me back to work next week as i seem to spend more time cooing over baby than she can!

Last edited by jai-uno-t : 23rd May 2011 at 19:30.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 21:43   #12
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I think reducing the people who indulge in this behaviour as "without good judgement" or "not evolved beyond animals" is where you are off the mark.
It was a statement of fact - not meant to be derogatory. I regret if you felt I was being supercilious. Animal behaviour is observed in all of us at various points in time and various decision making times. I have experienced it myself when confronted with very strong emotions or in sudden danger etc.

Contextualising behaviour is important - for some the son/daughter is a big enough question to give rise to sudden, unpredictable and maybe violent/irrational behaviour. It's just a different way of looking at things, and I believe the way forward is empowerment and equal opportunity.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 21:56   #13
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Default re: Celebrating the girl child

cranky, I would like to add that Jai is right. We have come way ahead of animals. We have beaten natural selection, we have beaten nature on many other fronts. And the fifty years you are talking about may never come, because we may devise something else to deal with the problem than work they way nature would.

Unfortunately, I think it is not going to go forever. Nature always wins. But this will be first time a species has carved it's path of extinction. But coming back you your point, I don't think nature will be able to correct this problem in any foreseeable future. Now that we have managed to evolve into a complex society, it's our problem to resolve this sociological issue.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 22:01   #14
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Default re: Celebrating the girl child

Who wouldnt want a daughter? When my better half was on family way, I "knew" we were going to have a daughter. She still suspects I asked the Doc, though we decided not to (and i did not, i just knew). DAUGHTERS ARE GREAT!!
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Old 23rd May 2011, 22:20   #15
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Default re: Celebrating the girl child

mrs jai wants a yellow bonnet for baby misha!

we also went with the "don't want to know" option at the scan, best decision i ever made.
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