According to Census 2011, the sex ratio in the age group of 0-6 has fallen alarmingly. There are only 914 girls for 1,000 boys now against 927 in 2001. Every year in the past decade, 60,000 girls did not see the light of day. Let's not oversimplify this complex issue by expecting a law like the PC and PNDT — Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection Act) — to instil morality in people.
The PNDT Act, if implemented strictly, might curb female foeticide but not female infanticide. It cannot stop parents from throwing their daughter in the dustbin or throttling or starving her to death. It cannot stop parents, especially in rural areas, from abandoning their daughters in crowded places like Kumbh Mela or at railway stations, only to be kidnapped by goons and then injected with hormones to attain adolescence faster and made into prostitutes.
Parents who are not as ghastly find other ways of making their daughters feel how unwanted they are. Manifestations of discrimination include sending their son to a convent school and daughter to the vernacular medium schools; or letting their son watch TV, listen to loud music or party during the daughter's exams, but not allowing her ‘chattering' friends home to ensure a peaceful study environment for their laadla during his exams. A law can only make sure that the parents don't kill their daughter. It cannot force them to love her.
After all, weren't those six lakh-odd girls who did not take birth in the last decade lucky? If their parents did not even want them to be born, what kind of a life would they have had after birth?
It is believed in the Hindu mythology that the soul gets a human form after 84 crore births. But it is better to be the daughter of a pig or a cockroach or even an amoeba in the next birth than being the daughter of a killer dad. Such parents deserve to be kicked out of their own house to an old-age home by their daughter-in-law who, by the way, might bring home her own parents, all with the consent of her ‘loving and supporting husband.'
Nature gives a father an opportunity to pay back the debt he owes to womankind. He could do this by showering the same love and affection on his daughter, the way his mother (who was also somebody's daughter) treated him. But unfortunately, some men are so blind, ungrateful and undeserving that they turn their backs on this honour.
Sometimes, one wonders what is the purpose of such a hypocritical piece of legislation that begs for a girl's right to live. If people don't want their daughters, let them not have her, even if it means a deteriorating societal balance. Let society bear the brunt of its traditions and sick mindset, not the girl by being an unwanted child. So what if there are so fewer women left that there will be need for polyandry? Let there be not five husbands but seven per woman. Let men pay dowry to marry women. Let men live a disorderly life and find their own files, pen-drives and spectacles; and even their peace of mind and purpose of life, for that matter.
But, then, are women so weak as not to make their way through such adversities and injustices and live successful and purposeful lives? After all, God gave woman the unique gift of creating a life in view of her ability to tolerate pain and suffering. Let society be as unjust as it can to women. They will find their way through, as they have always found.
It is the educated, enlightened women who have had an opportunity to carve a niche for themselves in their chosen field who will change the mindset of society, so that their parents are proud and envy-evoking. These women have an obligation to be a role model for the millions of less fortunate girls to fight their way to the top.
(The writer is an MBA student, Department of Management Sciences, University of Pune. Her email ID is: siddhisrivastava @hotmail.com)
It is better to be the daughter of a pig
or a cockroach or even an amoeba in
the next birth than being the daughter
of a killer dad.