How safe am I? People usually question them themselves about safety when they become big enough to be aware of problems around them. But unfortunately, this is a question a female may start to ask when in the womb of the mother, “Mother am I safe?” I am now almost 15 years old. Old? No!! I have been on this world only for 15 years now. All along my life so far I have never seen my parents lament that they have had a daughter. In fact they have always supported me in all the activities I wanted to do, been proud of me, and have motivated me to do better. I know that they are proud of my little achievements be it winning a dance competition in our society or winning the best speaker of the class at school, they are proud of all little things I do and I am equally proud to have them as my parents. I have never heard of a statement, “You are a girl, so don’t do it” OR “You are a girl and so we have to save money for your future” from them.
So I naturally thought that all the parents feel blessed to have a girl child, until that day when I heard in the news about female infanticide. Yes! That’s the big word they use for killing the unborn female babies. How cruel and how inhuman! When I asked my mom about it, she told me that most of the time it happens because of poverty—the parents have to spend money in looking after the girl and then for marrying her off. The girl is usually considered as the paraya dhan (yes, I have heard it many times in the serials, but did not understand the meaning well enough).
I have also heard about well-to-do and educated people talking about having a son to “run the family”. Why can’t girls do it? What I understand is that parents feel that a girl child is a burden to them because they get no returns from their daughter. The son is supposed to be the pillar of strength who supports the parents when they are old. Now, the question is why can’t girls support their parents? Have they said that they won’t do it? Isn’t it this very society that has decided that the girls are not supposed to look after their parents and the boys are supposed to do it? Then how does it become the problem of the girl? How is the girl at fault? Why is she the paraya dhan? It is the problem with the rule that was probably made centuries back.
What is the result of this rule? Now, the most natural solution is another big word called abortion. That’s don’t let the baby come out into the world. Kill it!! Is killing the only solution? If parents feel this way about killing off their own child before it is born, I don’t think they deserve to have a child at all. KILL an unborn child? They should probably see and understand the agony of the childless couples. Then they would understand the importance of their role as creators of life.
We are in the 21st century talking about technology and science advancements. We talk about women advancing in their careers and lot more other things. But it is sad to see that there is actually no advancement in the thoughts of the people. It’s time for us to change and advance our traditions a bit. Why not give the rights a boy enjoys to a girl? She should no longer be paraya dan, there should no dowry system at all, the girl’s parents should not feel bad about staying with their daughter after she gets married. Why should an educated girl stay at home “to look after the family” against her wishes? Is it only her family? Is it only her responsibility? Even the working women are expected to come home from office, do the house-hold work, take care of the children’s studies, and lots more. The men supposedly come home tired from work. What about the women? Aren’t they human too?
If we consider all these factors and try to balance them a bit, girls won’t become a burden on the parents. She will be as important as a son. Why don’t we come up with such solutions that does not require killing—solutions that will uproot all the problems and miseries from the world rather than introducing more miseries.
I have learnt in my history classes that in ancient India, women had a position of great respect, importance, and admiration. How did this erode over the period of time? Why do the people still have the ingrained attitude that believes in the worthlessness of a girl? Why do people feel that a girl is a curse on the family? Why are people who are avid followers of Ma Durga or Vishnav Devi pained at the birth of a girl in the family? If a girl is educated and is earning as much as boy is, in what way is she less appealing than the guy?
When I think of Shivaji, I also think of Ranji Lakshmi bhai. When I think of Mahatma Gandhi, I also think about the sacrifices of Kasturbha. When I think of Jawaharlal Nehru, I also think of Indira Gandhi. When I hear the bubbly songs of Kishore Kumar, I unconsciously think about Asha Bhosle. There are so many such examples.
It is the time people put an end to the barbarian act called female infanticide and let the little baby live peacefully in its mother’s womb. Let the unborn babies feel, “I am safe”. It’s their right isn’t it—to be safe in their mother’s womb?