Monday, April 19, 2010

Ashamed, agonised and angry

News paper now a days are quite loaded, there are volcanic ashes coming from Iceland, flight chaos all over the world, increasing carbon or water foot print, IPL cricket and related controversies and so many other things.

Normally it takes me 10 minutes to get a glance on these news and then it takes 10 more minutes for these news to get out of my head. But today a very short piece in only one Indian news channel (I searched in others and could not find any coverage on the topic) kept me stunned and angry for the whole day.

Country: India
"As many as 14 foetuses were found dumped inside a garbage bin near Lalbahadur Shastri Stadium in Bapunagar area here today, police said. The incident came to light when some of the locals found the foetuses lying in the garbage bin near the stadium on Monday morning. There were 14 foetuses in the garbage bin. All the foetuses have been sent to civil hospital for postmortem. The sex of the foetuses would be determined after the postmortem and a case has been registered in this regard. One of the locals, who informed the police about the incident, said these foetuses could have been dumped by private nursing homes in the area which indulge in sex determination tests."

No prizes in guessing  that they were all female foetuses , because in India a male child is treated as a god although there are many powerful hindu goddesses who are worshipped in different seasons with great respect. But a girl child (lots of burden you know, safe upbringing,  dowry, Indian parents loose lots of money in a girl's marriage, girls are raised for other's families they don't bring earning back home when they grow up) is not that welcome in several Indian families till now.

Whenever I am asked during my stay in Europe whether in India they still perform the ritual  of 'Sati' I get agitated, I try to explain that this was done in earlier times as India was a land of constant invasion from foreign emperors and the safety of women used to be a big question for weak locals.

Whenever I am told (with a tone of sarcasm) by several so called intellectual old as well as young (not only men but women too!) people of India that no matter how much women try they are and will remain a second class citizen in India or by that matter in the whole world. I argue, fight and keep explaining that a women may be physically weak (I don't know whether can bear those birth pains in spite of being physically strong) and socially inhibited but mentally and emotionally she is equal. I debate that the  position she gets in developing or poor world is because of her lack of proper education. And in a developed world   in spite of being highly educated and competent professionals many of them chooses to go out of the race for earning money and being professional to rear her young family or care for her elderly parents. I truly believe that "the hands which rocks the cradle rules the world".

But all my arguments and belief comes to an end when I read a news like this. 

I feel very fragile and accept that yes, this is a truth that a girl child, a woman of tomorrow is a burden  in many families still today even in very fast developing countries like India. 

It is a burning truth but it is not right and in spite of feeling very fragile and powerless I will keep arguing against this discrimination, no not only because I am a woman myself but because I am mother of a child who will be an Indian woman tomorrow.


  1. Yes, it is shocking...
    When on one hand people speak of India as a fast developing nation, we hear news like these, it makes me wonder what all this ´development´ is all about!!!

  2. News update from NDTV

    "Out of the 13 foetuses found, three were female, six were male and the sex of the rest of them could not be determined. We started an investigation and called upon Dr Jayanti Bhai Patel as we had some doubts about him. We also called the rickshaw-puller and one other man who had helped him load these foetuses. They confirmed that Dr Jayanti Bhai was behind this. When we persisted even Dr Jayanti Bhai admitted that he had had these foetuses since the last seven years and while he was carrying them home, he had an accident because of which the jar containing them broke and he had to dispose them in the garbage dump nearby," Bapunagar Police Inspector R D Lashkari said.

  3. Though guessing all of them female was oversimplification but anger is genuine! How can Dr.Jayanti Bhai treat them as garbage?
    All religions either in theory or in practical treated woman as subordinate to man. Developed countries do not take religion that seriously.
    It is not easy for India to get rid of gender biasness soon. If we really dream of a developed society we must address the problem.
    I see at least some slow improvements over last decades in India though aborting female foetuses are still on.

  4. A very depressing post... I agree with the author and the comments. But this one is for Nalinava....don't give me this that developed countries do not take religion seriously, please. India has lot of problems no doubt, but for everything we don't have to 'look up' at 'developed countries', a simple soul searching will give us right answer.

  5. I think....its not the problem of know i was in scientific conference and heard people saying they are happy because they have male childs....all of them are representative of developed countries.....

  6. Gender bias is alive and kicking, in India, and that too with a murderous tinge. Your anger is justified. I have few more things to add. Gender equality (or for that matter, equal rights for any race, religion, caste etc) has nothing to do with physical strength. It is not just a moral guideline but has objective justification too. Human society as a whole, produces enough to feed, dress, house everyone. Therefore every opportunity should be equally accessible to everyone. I have one more thing to add, the practice of sati has nothing to do with foreign invasion but everything to do with usurping family wealth from women. These were done with sinister design and out and out barbaric. There is no rhyme or reason to defend India in the context of sati. The best way to change our country/state/community etc is to first own up our pitfalls and not tender excuses for it, which of course, don't mean we should be ashamed of our country. Each country has there underbelly, so do we. Period.

  7. Thank you everyone for taking time to read and comment on the post, Sudip thanks for further update, I was perhaps too hasty to say all were female foetuses.
    Nalinava; Yes for sure things are getting better in India but there are some untouched pockets which perhaps are not changing like they should.
    Atanu and Jayashree; yes in western world seriousness for religion and gender discrimination, both are there, but I have felt that in general people think more reasonably, and these issues are present in milder forms.
    Indra da; The equality you are talking about is an ideal situation but in real world equality does not exist in spite of enough available resources, not even in the world of bees, world is very hardcore about applicability, productivity and competitive ability of a woman. Just like the "Sati pratha" as you have mentioned. In todays India also a girl's father spends lots of money to educate his daughter so that she becomes equal to her male counterpart, but then he is asked to give huge dowry for that girl's marriage because she is a girl after all. You might say "That father should look for another groom", but there are many places in India where almost all grooms (and their family) demand the same.

  8. I did not say equality exists, I said the objective basis for equality exists. What is required now is the subjective force or in other words the collective will power. Another peculiar thing about human nature is that it is very conservative. There is actually a phase lag between human objective condition and the general human conscience. There many examples, after the software boom there were fortune tellers who advertised that the horoscope is done by computers!!!
    When I was a kid, I saw the star wars movie for the first time. I was ofcourse mesmerized by the sci-fi film, but was equally intrigued to see people were fighting with laser swords. Aparently Lucas couldnot think of better ways to fight than the old sword fighting sequence even though he was talking about future were space travel is like catching a bus to go to the theatre. There are many serious examples too, but I relent.
    The whole point is the mindset that generates the inequality will not wither even if objective condition exists, it needs a damn hard push to be dismantled. One day, a just and sensitive society will be there, but will not come automatically.... we have to work for it.