The dipping sex ratio in the state has made headlines and started a debate among the self-proclaimed intellectuals. Even some politicians have jumped in tried to seek attention through their cheeky quotes. Some clinics where sex determination takes place have been sealed too, but what about those who go there to do the same. What makes them go to the clinic to determine the sex of their still unborn baby? Why are so many people averse to birth of a female child, I often question myself.
But my answer is in another question. Why should a female be born?
Should she be born to suffer the lifelong indignity for being a female? From her first baby step a girl is instructed to behave in a particular way. The boys can get away with almost anything, but girls, being girls have to behave ‘properly’.
Even most dotting and so called forward looking fathers remind their ‘little wonders’, ‘fairies’, ‘beautiful roses’, that they should be accommodative as they are ‘lok maal’,’ paraya dhan’, making them self-conscious at an impressionable age. Thus robbing them of self-confidence, a mould which shapes an emotionally strong and responsible individual.
She is constantly reminded that she is a female and instructed by almost all relatives, her father orders her mother to discipline her, her granny scolds her mother as the little one was eating more, “teach her she is a girl”, and the “little fairies’” mother hiding her tears at the humiliation of begetting a girl, transforms into a monster, wrings the tiny wrist and slaps the rosy cheek to make her little one behave ‘properly’. And from here starts her ordeal, she is given a daily dose of instruction, walk like this and talk like that with intermittent put downs, to put her in her place lest she forget that she is a ‘she’ and not ‘he’- a superior creature.
As she steps out of one torture chamber another one opens up. She is a mature girl now. She has to differentiate between a’ bad touch’ and’ good touch’ and a little later, she has to outshine the boys in grades to prove her worth (as if it makes any difference, she is worthless anyway). Even if she had outshone all the boys in the class or the neighbourhood she is asked to learn some housekeeping for she is a girl, ‘lok maal’. Thus even this moment of jubilation and pride is stolen from her, leaving her a wreck emotionally.
Now a young adult, she has to tread a fiery path, one wrong step and she is doomed, she has to outwit every teaser, harasser and stalker and come out unscathed. Her complaints (only few dare to protest rest suffer in silence) is responded with strange looks and illogical queries. If she dares, then she is stigmatized, and victimised. Anyone who encroaches on her rights or honour is not considered to have done something wrong, she ‘the victim’ is put to blame.
A little later proposal for marriage comes or is looked for.
The prospective groom and his family wants a ‘ lovely, homely, educated and salaried girl’ which means that bride with hourglass figure should cook, dust, laundry and bring home a fat pay packet at the end of every month with a permanent toothpaste smile. A single faltering step exposes her to shoves and pushes, and she has to ‘adjust’ or face being labelled a ‘misfit’.Then comes motherhood. Her own family, which she had left to make someone else’s home is expected to take care of the pregnancy and the ‘lok maal’ heads back. After facing all this she has what would she pray for. ‘God please do not make me mother to a girl.’
If she gives birth to a child, there is a collective depression and lament in the family. Eyes of those who constitute family to her hold her in narrow gaze. She considers herself the reason of all this. She sees the girl child as all which has gone bad to her. A new cycle starts.