Many girls have been killed either in the womb (foeticide) or in the cradle (infanticide) in our country that reduces the number of female to 940 against 1,000 male (2011 census). Can we find out the number of murdered girls? We see that for every 1,000 male, there are 1,026 female in the USA; 1,031 in Brazil; 1,037 in the UK, 1,038 in Germany, 1,056 in France; 1,011 in Australia; 1,054 in Japan, 1,003 in Indonesia and 1,032 in Sri Lanka. It is the same story even in our state, Kerala (1,084) and Union Territory, Puducherry (1038).
So, we can say that India’s sex ratio would have been at least 1,000: 1,000 if girls are not getting killed at the dawn of their life. As experts say, “In India, sex ratio is skewed in favour of males and has continued to rise and expand in various forms.” Thus, at least 60 girls (1000 – 940) have gone missing for every 1940 (940 + 1000) Indians. If we divide our country’s total population of 1,21,01,93,422 (as per 2011 census) by 1,940 then we will get a quotient of 6,23,811. Now, by multiplying this figure with 60, we can get the approximate figure of dead little girls which is staggering 3,74,28,660!
This reminds us the second stanza of the famous Pete Seegar song, ~ “Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?” Yes, the answer is that more than three and half crore little girls have “gone to graveyards, everyone”. Surprisingly, this anti-Vietnam War protest song, ~ “Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?”, is very relevant in the context of female foeticide and infanticide. But the comparison should stop there. While 3 million people (mostly male) were killed in Vietnam, here approximately 37 million girl children were nipped in the bud.
Child sex ratio (0-6 years) in our country portrays a more alarming picture. It has come down from 945 female for thousand male children in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and slipped further downward to 914 in 2011 census. This ratio clearly indicates what is in store for us in near future. If some drastic measures are not being taken to effectively arrest the practice of killing girl children then Mother India will become a motherless country.
Apart from legal recourse, prejudices against women need to be wiped out. Female foeticide has a deep root in our prejudices against women. According to Hindu myth, a deceased person’s soul is liberated only when the son performs last rites. Unfortunately, this myth has influenced the minds of most Indian couples. The desire to have a male child, to obtain a ticket to haven, is still prevalent in India. This search results in a high birth rate as well as in annihilation of girl children. The latter becomes popular since rearing a child exerts monetary and time pressure on most parents.
Moreover, parents fear the birth of a female child as she might cost them a fortune in the form of dowry to find a suitable boy for her. Indian couples march a step ahead of the family planning schemes by planning not only the size of their family but also the sex of its members. But the adverse sex ratio towards women will enhance all sorts of conjugal and social unrest in our country. Will monogamy be replaced by polyandry in our country in near future? Can a one – winged country survive? The questions end where the anti-Vietnam War song ends, ~ “Oh, when will they ever learn? Oh, when will they ever learn?”
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