What are the reasons for female foeticide?
There are several reasons for the preference for a son rather than a daughter. In our patriarchal society,a boy continues the family lineage and supports the family and according to the religious tenets of the majority of Indians, only the son can perform the last rites for the departed souls of the parents. The girl child is seen as a future liability that will need constant attention for safeguarding her virginity and a huge sum as dowry to keep up the prestige of the family, while, in return, the parents cannot expect her support in their old age, as she may be far away looking after the parents of her husband. The traditional male domination over property rights and wealth management, even in matrilineal societies, the male stranglehold on the decision-making machinery in all socio-political spheres, the male hegemony over religious priesthood and ceremonial functions, the male dominance in the family and neighbourhood, including local self governance, and the physical predominance of the male by sheer strength and energy are all contributing factors to this preference towards the male child.
Who are responsible?
Generally, it is the narrow-minded parents of the husband who are too blindfolded not to see beyond the immediate benefit to their family and are not at all aware of the social consequences of this crime. Besides, the professional killers in doctoral attire and the profiteering corporate bodies in the medical profession and commerce connive to facilitate this crime for their own financial advantage without the least concern about the destructive consequences on the very fabric and foundation of the human society. Due to the traditional preference for the male child, the grandparents and relatives support the decision of the paternal family to do away with the female foetus. The pregnant woman, the mother, is helpless in most of the cases because her very survival may depend upon obedience to the parents of her husband. What is really intriguing is that people who are financially better off and educationally advanced engage in this crime against humanity without any prick of conscience. This may be due to the more and more consumerist and narrow-minded approach to life that does not see beyond the immediate mundane comforts of the body of oneself and his existing nuclear-family members and their short-term financial gains.
How is it done?
The sex of the embryo is determined through ultrasound scan or amniocentesis and abortion is carried out through D&C in the case of pregnancies up to three months. In the case of pregnancies that have gone beyond this safe limit of three months, miscarriage is induced through chemical injection that kills the child immediately or makes it deformed or disabled for all its life, when the attempt to kill it fails.
What can we do?
All of us who value life, equanimity and natural justice and hold on to such values in our life, must unite against the inhuman crime of female foeticide and do all in our power to prevent this cruelty to the unborn. We must make people aware of the grievous consequences of this horrific deed and help the authorities in nabbing the culprits in the garb of medical professionals and medical companies. We must intervene wherever we can to prevent the perpetration of this crime against nature, mankind and civilisation. Above all, we have to make the young people convinced that they are the only people who can make an immediate change for the better in this critical situation and that they are the people who will live to enjoy the fruits of such a change.We must join the initiatives like #Fight4theFoetus Campaign and participate in their activities.
How to combat this menace?
There has to be an immediate, concerted and all out effort to stop here and now the criminal trend of female foeticide to save India from the impending social catastrophe consequent upon the continuing decrease in child sex ratio. All ways and means have to be explored and made use of.
People have to be made deeply aware that the crime of female foeticide will result in a socio-economic situation that will spell the end of all that we value in family life and social life. The situation will be chaotic with the women folk unable to venture out of their homes. Besides, India will be in a despicable position before the world community.
The young people of India, the adolescents, the people of marriageable age, the recently married couples and the couples still in their reproductive age are the people who can make an immediate difference in the situation. Therefore, first and foremost, these people have to be made aware of the realities and convinced of the need of the hour. To achieve this, multi-media channels and tools that appeal to the young generation have to be developed and deployed.
The work of all the individuals, institutions and organisations that are engaged in similar activities must be coordinated, supported and recognised so that a cohesive and concerted nation-wide war against female foeticide can be waged and victory ensured.