Those of you who read the Hindustan Times may have come across an interesting report in the June 26th edition from Indore. Titled “ Docs turn baby girls into boys” it describes how young girls are made to go through genito plasty that supposedly turns them into males- all this for a price of Rs 150000!! Considering the price of this procedure is lower than the cost of a car, most middle class families are rushing to grab it.
The Census of India 2011 states that the sex ratio ( that is the number of females to 1000 males ) at 940 women to a 1000 male is the highest sex ratio recorded since 1971. However the child sex ratio ie the ratio of female children in the 0-6 age category is on the decline. It was 927 in 2001 and now in the 2011 census we find it has declined to 914. This, states the census report is the lowest since our country became independent! This decline can be observed in a majority of the states of our country with Haryana ofcourse topping the list –this state has child sex ratios as low as 774 and 778!!
Link these two pieces of information and you will see a “ cause and effect” model emerging. Add the pieces of information relating to pre natal sex determination, sex selective abortion and female infanticide and we will soon find ourselves heading towards a society where the human female will slowly become extinct!
Okay, so our society does not want the female of the human species. But can the world do without one gender? Let us see what happens in Haryana with only around 700-800 women to 1000 men, when a man has to get married? Given the fact that this is a society that is dominated by caste and religious differences, how will these men find spouses within their own endogamous groups? I am told they “import” women from other states!!!
But let us take this situation to the country at large- if the number of girls being born are going to decrease over the years and we have a situation where for every 2 men or so there is one woman or less then how is the balance going to be maintained in society? Some women friends tell me hopefully “Maybe we will then get a dowry”. This is really simplistic thinking because dowry has nothing to do with this number game. It is a system that is set up by the same patriarchal society that sanctions killing of female foetuses and babies. Reducing the number of women is not going to get men to start paying money to marry them. Yes, money may change hands between those families which may have girls and those who do not but it will not result in improvement of status of women in our society.
If anything, things would get to be worse as women become a “scarce natural resource” like land and water. Given the laws of nature, where every species wants to proliferate itself, I am not ruling out scenarios where there may be “breeding farms” and polyandry. Power over our lives and sexuality would reduce further until we women are nothing but a “womb”.
Maybe, there would be efforts made to ensure that the female population increases. But we might also realize that this factory called the “womb” produces an offspring only once in 9 months!!!
Multiple pregnancies would continue to weaken the health of women, age of marriage would reduce further and worse still, the families that give birth to women would in turn also become their exploiters.
Scary isn’t it?
We human beings are so arrogant that we think we can manipulate nature. We fail to understand that the laws of nature require a certain balance to be maintained. The process of natural selection by itself weeds out the species that are unable to survive
( remember Darwin ‘s theory of evolution? ) and we are only aiding this process to cater to our short term needs like inability to pay huge dowries or the burden of responsibility of protecting girls and women from violence. We don’t understand that what we are trying to address are only the symptomatic factors. The cause is rooted much deeper.
Sometimes I wonder if we are serious about rooting out some of these evils- we would rather avoid them. Imagine if parents of daughters were really serious about not giving in to dowry demands? And what if women and their families held the government accountable for the poor law and order situation and demanded strict punishment for those who indulge in crimes against women. What if parents were really serious about giving their daughters as many opportunities as their sons?
What if .. what if.. the list goes on!
Unfortunately, what angers us is the powerlessness of being the parents of daughters. We would rather that we did not have these children who make us this vulnerable -Right? We go to great extents to prevent this using science and technology to aid us and the result- these shameful statistics!
To conclude, I can just say that if we keep at it like this very soon we will have to go to a museum to see another female like Lucy- this one the last of our decedents!