Beti Bachao Beti Padhao

  • This Raksha Bandhan, let brother’s join the campaign

Lata Jain

As a social worker, I have been receiving several letters and this letter left me in shock for days. Does this happen in truth or is it the writer’s imagination?

lata jain

Lata Jain

We are six sisters and my father always wanted to have sons. I am 54 years old now and mother of three children-two daughters and one son. But will remember that fateful day for the rest of my life. That was the most unforgettable day of my life. I must have been around 9 years old when my mother told me we were going to my grandma’s house to spend the day with her. I was happy as there were lot of guava trees and big garden space. When we reached my grandma’s house, my auntie who was a year younger than me, was also there. I was very happy to meet all my cousins.

After exchange of greetings I and my cousin Mushy, were both led to the bed room, and asked to lie down. Confused we questioned. Just then a 60 year old lady came into the room. By now, my cousin and I were terrified, not aware of what was to follow.

After a brief silence, our dresses were pulled up, and we were asked to keep our legs apart.  There were our mothers and our aunts holding our legs apart and then I felt something cold being applied to my clitoris, and then to my horror, the old lady chewing “Zarda”  held a scissor-like instrument and cut me there – I screamed and screamed but no one seemed to care. The same act was repeated with my cousin.

After which they left us in the room for an entire day and we kept groaning in pain. This is a practice that had been carried out for centuries and was considered essential for a woman’s good reputation and virginity. I felt betrayed and cheated by my mother but she had to respect and carry on the orders of her elders.

My husband and I never allowed any of our relatives to cast their shadow on my daughter. We know of friends from my generation, who did not want their girls to go through FGC, but often it was the oldies in the family who hovered to get it done.

I cannot disclose my name but even today this practice is common in many communities.

Women need to break the silence and support one another in this effort so that our daughters will have a brighter future in the years to come.

But why is all this done? Why is the girl a burden? Why so much fear of Upbringing of a girl child? Why female feticide?

Poverty? To an extent, Yes! Poverty is one of the main factors that lead to this inhuman behavior. But there are other religious and cultural factors too. Traditions and cultural beliefs in India are resulting in the slaughter of girls, often before they’re even born. Even if they bring her out of mother’s protection, they are deprived of all the basic necessities like education which on the other hand is compelled for the boy. It’s just because they think girls are of no use in future.

The entire country is talking about saving the girl child and the declining Child Sex Ratio. The government even launched the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme in 100 gender critical districts of the country. This central governments scheme was initiated with an initial corpus of Rs 100 crore.

The Child Sex Ratio is at its worst since 1961. Hence, the Government has launched the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme in 100 gender critical districts. But the Scheduled Tribes (STs) are far ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to the Sex Ratio & Child Sex Ratio. Most of us who think that people living in tribal areas need development could learn a thing or two from them.

According to the 2011 census, for every 1000 boys, there are only 918 girls. The child sex ratio in India has been on the decline since 1991 and the worst since independence. According to the 1991 census, there were 945 girls for every 1000 boys and in 2001,927 girls for every 1000 boys. The sex ratio is defined as the ratio of the number of males to number of females in a population set.

It is internationally expressed per 100 females but in India, it is expressed as per 1000 males. According to the World Health Organization, biologically normal child sex ratio ranges from 102 to 106 male per 100 females. Converting it to Indian terms would be 943-980 females per every 1000 males.

Several government laws and schemes have focused on curbing female infanticide and incentives  investing in girls but little seems to have changed. Traditionally, girls and women have been looked upon as a burden in a patriarchal society. Even if they managed to be born, providing nutritious food, sending them to good schools and investing in them on par with the male child is still not a reality in many of villages, towns and cities around the country.

Girls are rather looked at as somebody you need to start saving money for, buying gold and able to give a dowry to get her married. And after all this, she does not even carry your lineage or your family name.

But if one is to analyze the statistics with the tribal’s there sex ratio seems to improve. The Prime Ministers “Beti bachao scheme” has been advertised in every corner of the country. It will definitely is a herculean task considering the many faces of this problem. And this is possible if the campaign and the stakeholders address this at its root. The problem of attitudes, outdated beliefs and perception of the girl child needs to be addressed.

This Raksha bandhan pray all brothers join the campaign so that a brother does not have a wrist longing for a sisters “thread of bond-Rakhi”.

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