India: 12 Million Girls targeted for murder in mother’s wombs over decades; Some villages have girl shortage

Posted: September 12, 2013 in Uncategorized
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(CNN) — The New Delhi rape case left the whole world wondering why India is treating its women so badly. In fact, discrimination against women already starts in the womb: India has some of the most distorted sex-ratios in the world. There are regions where fewer than 800 girls are born for every 1,000 boys. For many reasons Indian culture prefers sons. An expensive bride-price, or dowry, is only one of them.

In one village just two hours drive outside Delhi, I met Narinder, a schoolteacher, and his family. He had three brothers and only one of them got married. There weren’t enough brides, because the village has been aborting their daughters for decades.

So day-by-day, thousands of parents circumvent rarely enforced laws and have their baby daughters aborted after an ultrasound scan has revealed the sex of the fetus. It is estimated that India has been losing up to 12 million baby girls over the last three decades.

We hit the dusty streets, down to Haryana where Shafiq introduced me to women who do not have a voice, women for whom nobody demonstrates. They are abused and raped and sold like cattle and nobody cares. They are called Paro, or strangers. They are the sort of women Narinder will buy — those who make up for the scores who are never born.

Akhleema and Tasleema, two sisters from Kolkata, were born into a poor family, before her aunt sold them via an agent to two brothers in Haryana, who could not find a bride. Within weeks, Akhleema was beaten so hard by her husband, that she lost hearing in her left ear. Both spend their time cooking, cleaning and tending the fields. They have no rights, no voice and, most shockingly: there is no way back. They have children with their men and it is culturally unacceptable to leave them behind.

“But don’t be mistaken”, Shafiq says. Because during the rainy season, the river erupts over its banks, destroys fields and villages. In these already poverty-stricken regions, flooding takes away the little people have. Thousands of families are pushed into poverty and helplessness. They end up in flood shelters, vulnerable and easy prey for traffickers, like Saleha and her husband Husain. Their daughter Jaida went missing two years ago. They saw a man entering the hamlet and talking to Jaida. She vanished without a trace.

[Editor: A few comments added some perspective to this story to show that not all of India’s 1.2 billion people agree with this practice]:

To the author – Please make the caption more precise. Your opinion is based on a very specific socio-economic background that isn’t the same picture of India en masse. I am not denying any part of the content as this is a glaring truth in the urban slums, villages et al.; but there is also a huge segment of the population (since the country in context has 1.2 billion people) that abhors this practice just as much as any rational and educated person in any corner of the world would do. You’re utterly wrong in concluding your thoughts on Indian culture based on interviewing a very specific set of people that have a lot of commonalities. This is not how extrapolation works.

  • Very true! With my relatives in Agra (Taj Mahal), they have a total of 12 children spread across 4 families and of these, 9 are female! Only the people with no brain cells could think to abort their daughters. My relatives are middle class and in Agra at least, I thankfully don’t see a shortage of girls playing on the streets.

    Dowries were traditionally a gift from the father to his daughter upon marriage, but this has been subverted to now be a forced payment from the father to his daughter’s neanderthal in-laws. Things have become messed up big time. Intelligent Indians don’t even ask for dowry from the bride’s family as the bride is a gift enough! My family is a prime example of this, such as when I was looking for a bride in India. I’ve always grown up with great respect for females.

    Living in Canada for the past 40 years, I’m so happy when any of my friends have new daughters because I know they can do anything they want with no limitations. This is what I want to see happen in my motherland, India. 🙂

      True. There are problems that need to be acknowledged and fixed. However, looking at a country with a very myopic vision and writing an article based on certain preconceived notions aren’t answers to the problem [Not to mention a farcical statistical sampling

    • ” total of 12 children spread across 4 families and of these, 9 are female!”
      You just brought up another side of the same issue. Many couple wont get abortion but keep having babies until its a boy. Your specific example couple may not be doing that, 9 girls out of 12 in 4 families sound perfectly balanced. But there are many families where they have 4, 5, 6 daughters and 1 son. And usually, son is the youngest one.

  1. […] India: 12 Million Girls targeted for murder in mother’s wombs over decades; Some villages have… ( […]

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