Very recently, I was reading (which actually seems to have become the only thing that I do these days) a blog, which mentioned how people think of the birth of a girl child as a curse. The word got my attention. Can being a girl really be so bad that someone think of her as a curse?
I will not lie about it, I too think of having a boy ( whenever in the future I get married and decide to have kids) instead of a girl and I have my reason for it. With a girl child, comes a lot of issues related to her security, specially in my country. If you look at the newspaper, there is at least one new case of rape in it everyday. Can you try and imagine what the girl and her family goes through in such cases? I am terrified even just thinking about the constant fear a parent feels for her daughter’s security. I remember, a few years back in the time when mobile revolution was still in its infancy in India and Nokia 1600 used to cost 5500₹, annual cultural fest was being held in my sister’s college. The bus arranged by her college to pick up and drop students was scheduled to arrive at the local bus stop at 6 o’clock in the evening. She got to the bus stop before time and in just a few minutes, her bus had arrived. My father, who was returning home from office, got a glimpse of her getting in the bus and he saw that she was all alone there. (mostly because the bus started picking up students from our locality only) My father was gripped with an intense fear just by the thought of her being alone in the bus with just the driver and the conductor. I remember his face when he got home. My father is the one person who won’t ever show the slightest signs of nervousness in most difficult of the situations, but that day I could clearly see that he was worried. He kept calling the college administration until he was assured by the college staff that there is nothing to worry about, that the staff is all professional and as soon as the bus reaches the college they will ask my sister to call home. He was not satisfied by the reassurances of the college so he called all her friend’s parents and asked if their daughters had gone to the fest. After a lot of them told him that they didn’t allow the girls to go to the fest ( simply because it will be very late by the time they get back), but finally a friend of my sister’s with a mobile phone confirmed that he is in the bus with my sister and after talking to her papa felt relieved. (Now when I think about it, nobody used to care for my whereabouts, everybody loved her more than me but that is not the topic of our discussion.) The point of the story is that it takes a lot of courage and bravery to raise a girl child instead of a boy. I don’t think I have it in me to be as emotionally strong as my father. I don’t think I will ever be ready to take such a big responsibility but that does not mean that I am going to hate a little girl and call her a curse, let alone trying to harm her in any way.
The dowry (again it is an issue specific to my country) can also be a reason for parents to not prefer a girl child. ( It is not the case for me as I am sure that as soon as my books get published, I will become a billionaire.) But it can be and it is for many, and in most cases a real issue. With a girl, comes not just the constant emotional pressure but also a financial one for a middle class family. The amount of dowry ( more often called as expenditure of marriage) can be in cash and/or as two or four wheeler or maybe even in terms of property. It is why that daughters are still called as debts from the previous births. But I am glad to have known that this practise has been decreasing rapidly at least in urban areas.
There is one more reason ( Although I don’t believe in religion and consider myself of an aesthetic nature.) that, according to Hinduism, is called Pind Daan. According to Hinduism, a son must wash his parent’s ashes into Ganga river, so that their sins are washed off and then they can go to heaven. The process is called Pind Daan. Many Hindus prefer having a son over a daughter so that they can go to heaven ( See the irony here, people are committing murders so that they can go to heaven). One more thing, a daughter is considered as an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and giving a girl away in marriage (Kanyadan) is considered as the most sacrosanct deed that there is and also ensures a visit to heaven, still people prefer a son over daughter. Why? I think it is because a son ensures a cheaper travel to heaven for their parents. So it all comes to money in the end, I wonder again that if one can go to heaven with so much greed in his/her heart.
But the more I think about the reasons to not have a girl child, the more I think of myself as of an illogical mind. I am being senseless and stupid. We are all being stupid. We have all mistaken daughters as the problem but they are not. The fear for a girl’s security is not the problem, having psychopaths and others with an unconscionable thinking process in our society is. The financial pressure of her marriage is not the problem, having dogmatic and condemnable social issues like dowry is. The mandates, the writs by religion are not the problem, taking the religion to such extremism, that even an egregious act of killing an infant or unborn becomes committable, is. I was being careless and lazy and was only thinking about myself while I made up these reasons ( only the first one applies to me). Instead of making efforts to improve our society, which we actually can easily do or at least try, we are thinking about having a boy ( to try and control the completely random process of sex selection, remember XX and XY?) and in the process, becoming apathetic and asocial to the issues in our society.
My first thoughts for the solution of these issues was to promote education. One will think that these issues can be resolved with the help of education, yet if you will have a look at the facts, I am sure that you will be surprised to the same extant as I was. The literacy rate has increased in our country from 12% at the time on independence in 1947 to 75% in 2011 but at the same time the child sex ratio has increased from 104 males for every 100 females in 1981 to 108 males every 100 female in 2011. Strange you would say, but if you look at it closely it isn’t. In the last 25 years, India has gone through a technological advance in medical sector. Sadly, it is now easier to identify the sex of the unborn and to murder it. The government has taken various steps to prevent the killing of a girl child but it is still happening.
Hopefully in the future, we could live in a world where everyone regardless of their gender, race and sexuality will be considered equal. Amen.