January 12, 2015

Book review: Disappearing Daughters, The Tragedy of Female Foeticide by Gita Aravamudan

The first 5 pages of this book, give you so many numbers, statistics to be more specific and you are left gaping at the words, wondering how and when the world will change.

Mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles, aunts, everyone of them has played a part in ensuring the many girls in India do not learn how to crawl, sit up, stand, walk or speak. The means which they employ, it seems like they have studied to ensure the best practices and have optimized on the success ratios.

As a reader moves through the book, the primary thought that comes is, "Who is the true perpetrator of this crime?"

The father who wants a boy to take forward his family name?

The mother who wants a boy for a better standing with her in-laws?

The doctor who wants to earn that extra money in spite of doing what is illegal?

Each of them play a role in systematically eliminating the female fetuses across many districts, cities and regions. This is a practice which has infiltrated across strata and the methods might vary, and the complexity of processes, but the end out come is always the same - A Girl Dies.

Before I started reading this book, I had an image wherein the women were helpless, crying and were being forced into it. But, after reading Disappearing Daughters, I view the world through a different outlook. There is nobody who is not involved, but circumstances, or pressure is not always the reason. Many a times, those involved, do not see it as anything wrong, and many ethnic races view it as a tradition.

How does one reduce this atrocity or make people understand? 
By giving a positive reward to those who keep their girl child?

I am not sure.

But, neither is the government, or the many NGOs who are working in this field. There is a fair bit which education can change, and there is another large chunk which will be changed by society and the expectations set by it, and only by this!

But, all said and done, it is such a shame that one gender has been picked and picked repeatedly over these many years.

Is it a time for things to reverse? That would mean revenge.
I do not think that would be sustainable either.

The way ahead is for a change, a change from everything what everyone knows as of now.
New rules, and  new thoughts.

But, again, how long would that last!?

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