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Updated: April 21, 2012 09:52 IST

India & the sex selection conundrum

Farah NaqviA. K. Shiva Kumar
Comment (32)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Indians across the country are deliberately ensuring that girls are simply not born. This artificial
alteration of our demographic landscape has implications for not only gender justice and equality but
also human development and democracy. The picture shows two girl children in a Shishu Vihar
orphanage in Medak, Andhra Pradesh. Photo: Mohd. Arif
The Hindu Indians across the country are deliberately ensuring that girls are simply not born. This artificial alteration of our demographic landscape has implications for not only gender justice and equality but also human development and democracy. The picture shows two girl children in a Shishu Vihar orphanage in Medak, Andhra Pradesh. Photo: Mohd. Arif

Let us agree to go beyond billboard exhortations to ‘love the girl child.'

What was our immediate response to further decline in the child sex ratio in India? Within days of the provisional 2011 Census results (March-April 2011), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reconstituted the Central Supervisory Board for the Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex selection) Act 1994 , which had not met for 3 years, and on November 30, 2011 the Ministry of Women and Child Development formed a Sectoral Innovation Council for Child Sex Ratio. But we are busy dousing flames in haste without looking to dampen the source. This fire-fighting approach is unlikely to succeed, because putting out fires in one district virtually ensures its spread to another. That is what has happened.

The decline in child sex ratio (0-6 years) from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and further to 914 females per 1,000 males in 2011 — the lowest since independence — is cause for alarm, but also occasion for serious policy re-think. Over the last two decades, the rate of decline appears to have slowed but what began as an urban phenomenon has spread to rural areas. This is despite legal provisions, incentive-based schemes, and media messages. Indians across the country, bridging class and caste divides, are deliberately ensuring that girls are simply not born. This artificial alteration of our demographic landscape has implications for not only gender justice and equality but also social violence, human development and democracy.

What is wrong?

So what are we doing wrong — both in the discourse we have created and in the policy route we have chosen to walk? To start with, we have chosen to target one symptom (practice of sex selection), instead of evolving a comprehensive national policy response to a deeply resistant ailment (son preference/daughter aversion and low status of women in India). State policy has, in the main, consisted of seeking to stem the supply of technology that enables sex selection through application of the law — the PCPNDT Act bans the use of diagnostic techniques for determining the sex of a foetus. The rationale (framed within an inverted demand-supply paradigm) is that stopping supply of the technology will reduce the demand — for determining the sex of the foetus and aborting if it is female. So far (not withstanding wide publicity about the PCPNDT Act, including signboards in every clinic, hospital and nursing home), this hasn't panned out as planned.

Meanwhile, this singular focus on PCPNDT has triggered an unhealthy discourse beyond what the law actually bans (using medical diagnostics to determine the sex of the foetus) to the next step, i.e. the act of abortion. Over the last few years, the hunt for aborted female foetuses appears to have become legitimate media pastime and reportage consists chiefly of stories about “foetuses' foeticide” and “foetal remains.” Clearly, the goriness of the phenomenon meets the media's need for just a tad bit of sensation (foetal remains found in gunny bags outside quack clinics, in the fields, in the dark depths of deep wells, etc.).

While national attention on this issue is welcome, this is complex terrain. On the one hand is the right of females to be born, and of society to protect and preserve a gender balance. On the other hand lies a woman's right under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (enacted in 1971, revised in 1975) to have a safe and legal abortion as part of a whole gamut of reproductive rights. In our zeal to create an environment against one type of abortion (of a foetus only because it is female), we end up stigmatising all abortions. Access to safe and legal abortion for Indian women is already severely limited, and this environment will not improve things. Indeed the very word ‘foeticide' i.e. ‘killing' of the foetus (used often without the qualifying ‘female foeticide') dents abortion rights.

Tackling the demand side

As for tackling the demand side — i.e. addressing the complex reasons that son preference-daughter aversion is so prevalent — our policy response has included marking the National Girl Child Day (declared in 2009) on January 24, sporadically putting up billboards at major intersections telling us to ‘love the girl child,' ‘beti bachao', ‘stop killing girls', and a slew of ill-conceived conditional cash transfer schemes to incentivise the birth of girls at both the Centre and the State level.

A 2010 desk review of 15 conditional cash transfer schemes (Dhan Lakshmi, Ladli, Beti Hai Anmol, Kanyadan, and others) conducted by TV Sekher of IIPS for UNFPA is revealing. Most of them promised relatively small amounts at maturity, had complex conditions (immunisation, school enrolment, institutional delivery, sterilisation, among others), gave cash amounts at the age of 18 (for dowry?), and were aimed at poor or BPL families. Quite apart from the objectionable attempt to arm twist every imaginable kind of ‘desired' behaviour (immunise, educate, sterilise) in return for small sums of money, the big problem is that these schemes are targeted largely at poor families. This is not a poor or BPL-only phenomenon. Small cash amounts are unlikely to make an iota of difference to families who have resources to pay for sex selective technology. On this issue, Indian policymakers, accustomed to ‘targeting' the poor (i.e. BPL) need to bravely enter the unfamiliar terrain of targeting the not-so-poor, the upwardly mobile, the wealthy.

The advocacy and communications around this issue, by both the government and NGOs, has taken the ‘love the girl child' route. It is unexceptionable, politically correct, and ensconced comfortably in a language of patriarchal protectiveness (ladki ko bachao). Of course, everyone likes to ‘love little girls in pigtails,' including MPs who will defeat the Women's Reservation Bill time and again in Parliament.

Cultural attitudes

The problem of ‘demand' goes far deeper than our communication or policy solutions seem to suggest. Sex selection is located at the complex interface of cultural attitudes, patriarchal prejudice, socioeconomic pressures, the changes wrought by modernity, and the commercialisation and misuse of modern medical technology. The impact of modernity and materialism on the decreased valuation of females i.e. enhanced daughter aversion, the lack of old-age social security i.e. son preference, increasing violence against women, property rights, inheritance laws — each of these and more play a role. We must demand of ourselves an equally comprehensive national policy on the sex ratio, capable of addressing each contributory factor.

South Korea & China

South Korea has beaten the problem by adopting a comprehensive national response. China, whether or not we agree with its particular national framework, at least has one. The Chinese government adopted a series of concurrent policies, strategic actions and laws to promote gender equality, increase female workforce participation, ensure old age social security, in addition to banning the use of sex selective diagnostics. The country's sex ratio is showing small signs of improvement.

Finally, a national communication strategy is key to a national policy response, and this must rest on acknowledging two things — one, behaviour change communication is a specialised field whose expertise must be harnessed, and two, the nature of reproductive decision-making in India is changing along with immense changes in the Indian family structure. A communication strategy needs to identify primary targets (decision-makers) and secondary targets (decision supporters), and reach them through strategic media platforms — traditional, conventional and new media. As for the core content of messages, a lot can be said, but for now let us agree to go beyond billboard exhortations to ‘love the girl child.' And recognise that the girl will grow up to be a woman one day.

(Farah Naqvi is an independent writer and activist. A.K. Shiva Kumar is a development economist. The authors are members of the National Advisory Council. Views expressed here are personal. Farah310@gmail.com)

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Some blame the Govt and some others blame the doctors. But the real culprit is the people of India. "We the people of India" shall not vote a party to power who laws in favour of the girl-child. Some states in India buys girls / females kidnapped from other states. Govt has data but remains silent as it will affect the next election. Why cant we change the dowry system and also treat a girl equally and not as an inferior to a son?
A social revolution is necessary.

from:  J B Saikia
Posted on: Apr 21, 2012 at 07:06 IST

I represent both sides of the coin. On one side,I find multiple uses
of the ‘Ultrasound technique in service pf patients’. On the other side, its ‘Misuse is equally harmful to the society’. Since every doctor is an important part of society,they have more social responsibility in preventing its misuse. As every one has realised that this problem of killing of girls is longstanding and complex ,the solutions cannot be easy and simple. I am surprised that few intellectuals in a sense of desperation, have started proving one and another wrong.This would definitely
help the wrong doer. As this problem has demand angle....’Society and its mind set’ which has taken centuries and generations to develop, It may take very long time to change or correct. Any measures taken on this front cannot have early results.These steps are required but as second priorty.
More important is to tackle the Supply angle..........’.Doctors and medical technology’.

from:  Dr.T.P.Singh
Posted on: Feb 5, 2012 at 13:18 IST

The authors appear to be somewhat critical of the 'complex conditions'
viz. immunisation, school enrolment, institutional delivery and
sterilisation in Conditional Cash Transfers(CCT) schemes.But the very
purpose of the CCTs like Ladli in Delhi and others like Dhanlakshmi was to increase consumption on socially relevant goods like education and health.Doing away with cash transfers only on fulfillment of these behavioural requirements(attending school,delaying marriage till 18 yrs) would destroy the basic structure of the schemes in my opinion.

from:  Ajay Malik
Posted on: Feb 3, 2012 at 03:09 IST

The write up is certainly good and leads one to think of the society. I also would like to call upon our feminist writers to impress upon by writing very good examples of girls helping out their parents in times of their need, in their old age and the love and care they give to their parents. Our age old custom is to learn from good stories. Let us emulate from the age old theories and tell the society about good families that rever the girl and respect the women. Whether daughter or bride the girl shall respect the home she is in and give her service unfailingly. Boys may take care of business, but girls/daughter/brides look after the family better, nay best.

from:  balaji vp
Posted on: Feb 1, 2012 at 06:12 IST

Reading the comments here, I feel that most people are unaware of the
real reasons for killing of girls (especially in affluent families)& therefore do not recommend the right solutions. The reason for killing girls is not dowry. The reason for killing girls is that girls do not inherit family businesses which are passed on from father to son. In any business family (especially in North India) it becomes imperative for them to produce a male heir. Observe any business family in Delhi for example , you will notice that they might produce 1-2 elder daughters and then a 3rd child which will definitely be male. I have not seen a single business family which has only female children. This is not so in service-class families where attitudes are slowly changing. Therefore giving cash incentives is useless. The only way to change this is to give tax-breaks to female-headed family businesses and incentives to businesses that employ women.

from:  Varsha
Posted on: Jan 29, 2012 at 13:32 IST

Not to mention it is always right time to sensitize people on "Save
Girl child" issue. The causes suggested by the columnist is perfectly true. India is a country of regulations on smallest of issues but at the same time having the worst structure or system to make people follow that rules and regulations. The administration should pay more attention on the implementation rather on the creation of the rules. No doubt, root of the cause is in our social perceptions. The cause of preference for boy child is already discussed and the reasons are countless. The solutions can be stricter implementation of dowry acts and make it known to other people, educating people regarding importance of girl child, providing reservation on the basis of having only one or two girl child rather than on caste, reserving some seats for girls in services suitable for girls because in defense and in some other sectors girls are not allowed so to even this disparity. Kindly contribute in whatever way you can.

from:  Prahlad Kumar
Posted on: Jan 25, 2012 at 20:20 IST

Most striking thing for any indian going abroad especially to developed countries is the lelvel of respect given to woman. India is extremely male dominated society. You can get supporting examples at any bus stop when group of people are trying to get in to bus. The only possible way to solve this conundrum is to empower girls and transform the lower/upper class attitude towards girl child by educating them or if required by stringent law enforcement. As Swami Vivekanand has said "The level of progress any country has achived can be marked by the level of progress achived by the woman in that country."

from:  Niranjan Kale
Posted on: Jan 25, 2012 at 14:04 IST

we need rethink about the stress of marriages in a patriarchal society . We have an ever increasing population , think tank is needed which considers with an open mind possibility of banning marriages in people who are biased to the female child . Marriages need to be done scientifically and only couples who are psychologically fit , should be allowed to get married . Its time for us to make this difficult but necessary transition .
Studies on heart coherence have revealed to us the physiology of a compassionate human being , and this can be used as a scientific parameter to judge whether individuals are fit enuf to be married. Marriage has to be taken away as a random event and made more scientific in face of the problems we are facing .

from:  sunny sandhu
Posted on: Jan 25, 2012 at 05:58 IST

Killing a foetus based on the sex of foetus is abominable. The shocking feature is that this trend is common among the urban elite. I am happy that most of my friends have daughters and this trend should only improve. Abortion, unless and until done for medical reasons, should be banned. One should have 3 different doctors signing a petition for abortion. The age of the mother should be above 25. If some of the above mentioned crazy rules are implemented, we can tackle both population growth and the abnormal sex ratio.

from:  Siva Bhaskaran
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 22:18 IST

You should have God's blessing to have a girl baby. You should do good things for several generations to get that good will from God. I think everybody agrees to this view but many people are forced to think otherwise because of socio-economic situations. Media plays a critical role in framing personal opinions. Media should focus more positive light on women to turn this around. If everybody understands the significance of genesis of a girl child, we will have a better world.

from:  Mohanraj
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 21:47 IST

Our government at the center and the state are paying the lip service to this problem. This problem neither urban nor rural, it is traditional, the hardships the parents face before and after the marriage of girl child is evident at every house. The reasons are known to all and the solution is very simple. 1. Dowry must be banned at all levels and any one demading it should be punishable by death or life imprisonment. 2. Incentive of Rs. 1000/- PMto the family for upbringing and all educational expenses upto PG or doctorate in any educational institution (Government/Private) will be free (Any fee paid will be 100% refudable or Tax deduction). 3. Parents with Girl children only will be provided with Pension till the death (both the parent) free medical fecility at private or government hospitals. 4. 50% Government/Private Jobs reserved for the Girl child. 5. Girl children those who earn can contribute willingly for the welfare of their parents. This will reduce the problem.

from:  Mohamed Rafi
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 19:40 IST

Declining child sex ratio in Indian sociaty is horrible.one of the reason behind this problem that Government and society both are unable and apathetic to curb Dowery,the evil of Society.We are directly or indirectly ecouraging this evil.People spending millions every year on the name of their so called status.Even our public leaders spend crores shamefully in marriage of thier kin.Dowery is main reason of this problem.We can make thousnds of law and financial support to parents of girl child but without curbing shameless spending in Indian Marriage,we can't wash out this evil.Just think about a man belongs to poor or middle class having daughter to marry.

from:  AMBUJ SRIVASTAVA
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 18:45 IST

As long as the change comes from within every woman of India,there can
be no solution to this problem.That is because women with male children
are treated better,shown immense respect and so the woman herself feels
like she has conquered the world.The problem lies within the woman
herself.That is the tradition we have inherited and keep passing on to
our next generations and feel proud of it.

from:  Haripriya
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 17:31 IST

I agree with this article completely. There are parents who don't discriminate between their kids based on gender ,but the society does. The very first example is dowry system .Many are ready to give ,the one who doesn't have suffers because of these customs of the society .Even though girls is educated and when seeks for a partner of her level demand for money comes.

from:  Rohini
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 17:15 IST

I have never seen the importance of male child in western country, probably they would have been in the past. The deep routed social, economical and cultural importance for male in India is enormous. We can write volumes about girl being humiliated in the various traditions and day to day activities in India.If somene think the Govt. can solve this problem Until our attitude changes (towards corruption, politicians, casteism, supersttions) they are fooling themselves. I could not understand why still marriages in India is not between the concerned individuals( which is the case almost throughout the world) but a family affair.Even in Ambani family the divide between brothers are far behind what his daughter had as a share. These are deep routed problems which will take time. Expecting Indian society to change overnight is asking too much, but at any cost murdering girl child either in womb or outside the world is not acceptable and should be severely punished.

from:  R.Manivarmane
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 16:27 IST

Indian bias for a male child is deep-rooted. A girl child is
discriminated against on all levels, be it getting a share in food or
education and for that matter even the right to live. Female foeticide
and infanticide is still prevalent and so is dowry. Little has been
achieved despite the various welfare schemes and the NGOs in action.
It is not a problem of only the socially or economically backward
sections in the society and thus providing cash aids isn't going to
resolve this. Instead of awarding those who conceive a girl child ,
the government should be punishing those who seize the right to live
from her. More schemes like PCPNDT should be introduced and
implemented effectively. The government has an equal duty towards the male as well as female citizens of the country and so it should do all that is required to ensure an equal living standards for both.

from:  Himakshi Gupta
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 15:04 IST

Absurd and Feeble suggestions woven by some social workers. Having
analysed what they have suggested to do , i am with no uncertain terms
confident that nothing from the aforementioned suggestions will bring
any substantial positive change to the Girl-Child ratio. According to
the social workers, the government with innumerable apparatuses has
been not addressing the root of problem. Radical suggestion such as
Taking the middle class (those who can afford to use sex-determination
technology ) to task by various ways to alter its mindset or Using
"Demand-Supply principle" is not practical according to me.

from:  PRASHANT RAJPUT
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 13:15 IST

declining sex ratio in India is not the problem of govt and will not be
balanced alone with the govt efforts. this lies in the family structure
of giving more importance to the roles of male child. its more a moral
dogmatism influenced followed by economic needs of people. intervention
is needed to boost the ethical standard of people and roles of female
should be equally recognized.

from:  md aftab alam
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 13:00 IST

This issue is about money triumphing over love, it's not that
complex. In a joint family system, the bride comes and lives with
the groom's family. So, each family thinks of its wealth as
belonging to the father and his sons (whereas each person should
account for their wealth individually, and inheritances should be
equally shared ideally). The daughters 'take away the family's
wealth' when they get married (in this sick way of thinking about
your own child). Dowry is nothing but an upfront settlement that
buys out rights to the woman's inheritance. In such a social
environment, who would want a girl child? Dowry is the problem if
you are poor, and expectations of equal inheritance a problem if
you are well-to-do. Its lose-lose. Until the parents of India learn
to give equal inheritances, and view the daughter as having full
property rights, this problem will not go away. It's up to the
parents of India to treat their children equally. Everything else
will follow that basic justice.

from:  janak
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 12:18 IST

The root cause of this situation is the inefficiency in controlling the dowry system. In India marriage is only a market, and women are considered as burden. In effect the anti-dowry law serves the reverse of the purpose, by preventing documentation of the financial assets of the women. The education, and employment statistics of Indian women are competitive in comparison to their counterparts in the developed countries. But the economic independance is very poor,since usually their money - either salary, or dowry - is possessed and controlled by men.

from:  Neena
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 12:14 IST

One of the comments talked about increasing awareness about female child. I think govt is doing a great job with giving various incentives and also advertising through child health care centres, ads in DD. Private channels have to play better role talking about schemes of Govt. This helps control corruption that is SOAKED in Govt agencies/PHC.

from:  Praveen Kumar A
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 12:11 IST

Being one of the major emerging economies in the World, it is very sad to see the figures of male and female sex ratio. The balance in the sex ratio will definitely have a remarkable role in Countries growth, democracy and controlling social voilence. In order to acheive this..Govt should provide cash incentives for those who have baby girls Should provide free education to all baby girls. This has to be strictly followed. The doctors who are still doing PCPNDT should be punished severly. Govt should try to bring awareness in the people of India about the importance of increase in female population so as to balance the sex ratio which in turn will be useful for decresing social voilence and for protecting our democracy.
Dowry system should be striclty prohibited. I feel like this is the main reason for foeticide. It is the male who dominates over female most of the time especially in India. So first men should treat women with so much respect.

from:  Bharath Akkera
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 11:54 IST

A very consciously written article. I am happy that our policy makers are really aware of the various wrongs in the policies they frame for ensuring gender equality. But at the same time I would like to add that though the PCPNDT Act can prevent the foeticide we need to ensure that the girl child is still alive and not left to die in latter stage of her life. Providing economic rewards is an incentives for parents to give birth to girl child but, it should be ensure that she is receiving right to education, right to food(not malnourished) has a say in deciding her social, economic life and choice only this will make sure that India is really developing and not just growing.

from:  Swati Surve
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 11:47 IST

The roots of the problem of male-bias is easy to fathom. When you
are a poor subsistence-farmer, as most of our ancestors were, a male
child was a labour-investment with a good pay-off in the long run,
while the female-child was seen a burden whom you had to marry-off
somehow. Slowly, this pernicious bias has crept into our culture and
have grown deep roots. Even in 2012, when gender does not play any
role in an individual's ability to lead a productive life, to have a
grandson is seen as a status symbol. Most mothers and grandmothers,
even in educated, affluent homes, will freely admit to secretly
desiring a male-child. To overcome this problem, you have to
challenge these deep-rooted attitudes. There has to be a concerted
national media campaign which bombards the people, constantly
questioning their biases, forcing them to re-think their own
prejudice on this matter. Every movie, every television serial,
every cricket telecast must be urged to broadcast this message.

from:  Raamganesh
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 11:41 IST

It is high time that the Indian government took conscious and concerted efforts to create a 'pro women / girl child' discourse in the country. It is not about putting up hoardings on streets and giving TV advertisements as this, in a sense also tends to 'color' a 'natural phenomenon' in the shade of a pathology which needs to be 'corrected'. This perhaps further adds to the anti-women/girl child discourse in India. We need comprehensiveness in our approach, to the extent that we need to become a pro-women nation first. We need to promote, encourage the current generation of women in our country to take up roles of leaders in all sectors of society, including various professions, sports, etc. I believe the movie industry perhaps can play a constructive role in strengthening such a discourse (as it has also played a negative one in objectification of women on screen to a great extent). We need a discourse in which women can be our heroes, leaders and torch bearers in our national destiny.

from:  Vinayak Kishore
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 11:39 IST

The perception about women as being meek and burdensome should change.Unfortunately,this perception prevails even among the educated lot.
Women have to be proactive ,participation of women in all the spheres of activity should increase.With success comes visibility and acceptance of the abilities of women.This will help in attitude change which can go a long way in fighting female foeticide,oppression etc.

from:  manjari
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 11:38 IST

female feoticide major reason for this is a dowry system.i m a doctor from upper middle class family now i can recognize the real problem lies with this tradition of dowry n marriage as society treats parents of female child is really rediculous..i m really very hurt by such a treatment..n all knows what tradition prevails in country but still no major steps has been taken.

from:  neha rathod
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 11:14 IST

The authors have listed the causes for the female foeticide but fails to
give any good specific solutions to this menace. The issue of female
foeticide is largely social in reason. The part goverment can play is to
give cash incentives and other social education programmes.I think the
implementation part is where we fail miserably - thanks to corruption
and lack of transparency.

from:  aishwarya
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 07:41 IST

The aversion to female gender is deeply rooted in the Traditions in India. It can be reversed if it was made compulsory in all institutions of learning and employement to give equal opportunities to both sexes. Very strict laws including mandatory imprisonment for all those who participate in the choice of sex. Doctors who participate in such procedures should have their registration cancelled for life besides imprisonment. The Government should ensure that there are adequate enforcement officers to accomplish this. The dowry system should be annihilated.

from:  Stephen Dorairaj
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 05:51 IST

I completely agree with this article. We are an extremely male dominated culture; we seem to want to label modernity as alien and bad and in the process cling on to "traditions". This gets reflected in the TV serials, movies and the works. Such a situation serves as a socio-economic backdrop under which sex selective abortion takes place.
There is a hierarchy of discrimination that starts in many households - who gets the first helpings/who gets the left overs - who gets pushed to the better colleges, who does the household chores, who pays for the marriage / in homes where the husband and wife work outside home how are responsibilities split up? If there is discrimination built into every aspect it needs to be countered through an "Is this fair campaign". When such messages go home sex selective abortion will be seen for what it is. It is cold blooded murder, it is repulsive. It is far worse than the malaise of corruption. Need to wake up..

from:  Anand
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 05:48 IST

Now where are the big shot politicians who cry foul over a western lifestyle and other aspects of dividing India. Why don’t people the MNS and other political parties take a stand and develop better policies like giving monetary incentives to people that have girl children.

from:  Nishant
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 02:30 IST

One more important thing than to apply different government policies is to change the mindset of Indian people. Even after women have achieved a great height in every field, there views still start from the conventional theories of BOYS- BASED system.

from:  Mayank Jain
Posted on: Jan 24, 2012 at 02:00 IST
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