· The dawn of realization!
“Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”- Call to the nation given by the Honorable Prime Minister of India! Does it not surprise us?
Yes, it does! Also, it should surprise all of us and make us wonder about abrupt call to the nation with such new message, that too after almost seventy years of gaining independence!
The message – that is- “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” - adds on something new to the armor of usual messages with the effect “Desh Bachao, Desh Badhao” and thus is surprisingly significant.
But why all of a sudden, such vocal loud call for our “Beties”? Has anything gone alarmingly wrong? Yes!
This is- while only 2 districts in Year 1991 had more male babies, the scarcity of daughters has increased alarmingly over the years, and in year 2011, to 538 districts (84% of all districts in the country!) which accounted for such scarcity. The resultant national scenario cumulatively indicated that out of every 1000 boys, as many as, 86 boys may not get a girl to marry!
· Looking back--Upbringing of girls born 20 to 35 years ago
Come to think of it – millions of daughters, born 20 to 35 years ago, in poor families with a mindset where having a daughter at home was considered a curse!
How was their life’s journey, survival saga amidst people who mourned the birth of daughter! The first question that came to every one’s mind, particularly their parent’s, was how would she get married?
One needs to go back in the past and try to put oneself into their shoes to get an idea about the social mentality beneath which they have developed? The equality that we talk about today would never have stuck in her dream, and on the other hand, from celebrating the birth of a son to his studies, sports, and good upbringing, the whole family worked day and night, and in the same family, the daughter was made to realize every day how she was different from the son born in the house.
Yet, from an early age, a thought certainly was put in her mind, or rather, from the very beginning, she was shown the dream that she would marry a good boy and life would be beautiful, even the poem that her mother used to recite to her was the same, "One day a prince will arrive on a horse and take our princess daughter away, and what happens later, no one ever thought that the same prince and his family would burn the princess alive by pouring kerosene on her under the lure of dowry."
But still, her thought of getting her prince, the goodness of that prince, his ability, the dowry to meet the standards of his family status and in order to meet the expenses of a good marriage according to the boy's family, her entire family trying to save and accumulate money by avoiding incurring expenses over daughter's education, nutrition, good upbringing in order to get rid of her by marrying off.
But, what will one say to the situation, which is not uncommon- when it is discovered that the money that the girl's mother had been painstakingly collecting since childhood for her darling's wedding was wasted by her father over alcohol and gambling? This is heart breaking and this is not the story of one house, it is the story of most of the poor families living in slums and villages.
Men choosing to avail facilities from liquor shops spending hard earned money whereas choosing to ignore government’s facilities, made available free of cost, for girl’s education, health! Needless to mention, alcoholism, boot legging causes havoc in families- aggravating crimes of all shorts, predominantly sexual. The same liquor making life of darling daughters disrobed in their father's house and victimized in their husband's house.
The Under currents……
The fact she does not permanently belong to the family she was born in but is someone who would sooner or later be moving out and embracing an outside family after her marriage- leads to neglect and exclusion of daughters in her own parental home. The Hindu Mythological beliefs - parents taking pride and getting the virtue of Kanyadan (daughter donation)-regardless, she gets married to a good and well-settled boy- such beliefs and sense has given place to feelings of meaningless ritual involving considerable expenses which is totally unnecessary and avoidable
Why therefore spend money over her education or health or general well being? No one invests in anything which have low or nil return! Not difficult to understand that right from birth -neither her own family nor the society ever considered her an asset; she was always brought up as a liability.
They will become self-reliant in the future, be useful to their families and society and become partners in nation-building hardly came across society’s thinking. The well known thinker and philosopher, Mr. Brigham Young’s saying- "When you educate a man, only one man is educated, but when you educate a woman, the whole generation is educated"- never occurred to the feudal, patriarchic and egoistic mind!
There was no thought as how that little girl born at home would study, grow healthy, earn name and fame in her life and chosen career. Society could not imagine that she could bring glory to the family and society in any field she is given space and opportunities; and, equally, can also handle a family legacy or carry forward a lineage.
· Where girls have gone?
It is obvious girls have not vanished overnight! Neither birth of daughters has been rationed by the government nor restricted by the Superpower! It must be something to do with the self-appointed guardian of the society- shortsighted, narrow, possibly qualified (literate) but uneducated, insensitive and thoughtless mind-where attempts were made to kill a daughter in the womb even before she was born and/ or as soon as a daughter was born. As it is decades of sex determination tests and female feticide has acquired genocide proportions that are finally catching up with states in India.
· Let us just think
Killing of girls means fewer wives and mothers for future generations and, as a result, a significant increase in the imbalance of the number of men and women in the society. India is thus fast moving toward a gender-imbalanced society.
It doesn't stop there.
Men cannot do without women. They need a mother to feed them, a sister to play with, in their youth they seek a ladylove for romance, a wife to have a family with… but they don’t want a daughter born to them! These double standards and ingrained hypocrisy have made the girl child more vulnerable – demographically and culturally as well.
Daughters’ having grown up in the midst of society’s abuses and humiliations-understanding that pain is beyond thinking,
How the ruthless men lure them to marry without dowry, how with the help of her Monday fast, the clutches that took her into prostitution and the black deeds of love jihad, I will publish the story in a very well-planned way in the coming article.
Through this article, I just want to mention that the life story of poor daughters born between 1970 and 2000 has been very harsh, they still have a long way to go, to honor them, to give them opportunities to do something for themselves, and to keep them happy in any form would be more virtuous than a Kailash Mansarovar and Haj pilgrimage which will be written in golden letters in one‘s describing biography good deeds.