You are on page 1of 17

Dr.

ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA]

Female Foeticide in India


ProbablythedayHomoErectusbecameHomoSapiens,themalemusthaverealizedhewasphysically strongerthanafemale,maybetheyfoughttoothandnailtobeginwith,tillthewomanrealizedthatit is no use trying to win over the man physically and gave in, the man must have gloated that day in triumphatsubjugatingthefemale;heisstillgloating!Hemusthavebeguntoasserthimselfveryearlyin thehistoryofmankind;heissillasserting.Awomanmusthavestartedtogiveincenturiesago;sheis stillgivingin.Awomanmusthavestartedtosufferfromthedayshedevelopedthegiftoffeelings&of emotions;sheisstillsuffering.Manhascomealongway:Hehasbecomecivilized,buthisinstinctto dominateovertheweakersexhasremained,infactithasturnedintoanobsession,aneed,withtime; With civilization the tools of oppression have become more civilized too, more and more sophisticated, cultivated, advanced and techno savvy; In fact the whole process of advancement of societycanbetracedintheprocessofsuppressionofwomen.

It must have started with the need to possess land, property, women and gain control over (land, property,women),itwasfreeforalltobeginwith:whoeverwaspowerfulgotthemaximumproperty, land,andthenwomenmaybetoservehim,providecomforttohim,providesatisfactiontohim Withpropertymusthavecometheneedtocontrolandmanagepeople,theneedtorule,andwiththe needtorulethedesiretohavepower,withpowertheshowofpower,andwhatbetterwaycouldthere betoshowpowerthanthedisplayofproperty.Propertymusthavebecomeatoolofshowofstrength. Withshowofstrengthcomestheneedtoassertstrength.Tobullytheweak,dodispossessthemoftheir copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 1

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] little power to become more powerful. With power and property greed must have taken root. Not satisfiedwithwhathealreadyhad,Manmusthavewantedmore.Withthecravingtohavemore,first pretty squabbles with neighbours, then bigger conflicts with far off territories, then alliances with neighbouring territories must have started. With growth of property, the instinct to bully must have grown resulting in unprovoked assaults; Attacks on weaker and smaller territories must have started, this must have lead to wars of first smaller then big scale. The need to maintain an army must have arrived.Thatmusthaveleadtoimportanceofbeingstrongerofthetwosexes,theimportanceofbeing aman.Withwarstheimportanceofwomenmusthavedecreased,andthepowertopossesthemmust haveincreased.Thebeastinmanmusthaveresurfacedwhenhemusthavesubjugatedaterritory,he musthavelootedandpossessed(readraped)women;notsatisfiedwithjustthat,hemusthavebrought them over along with him and forcefully kept them and used them, to satisfy his needs, his sexual greed.Thismusthaveleadtoenslavingofwomenandslowlytocountingofawomanasaspoilofwar, asapartofwonoverproperty,asslaves,asacommodity,asathingtobepossessedandusedatwill. So,slowlyawomanwasreducedtoaslave,athing,apossession,ratherthanahumanbeing.Likeall therulesofgovernance,rulesregardingwomenandtheirconduct(readthedeterminationofhowmuch wouldbetheirlimits,ofhowmuchtheycouldbeallowedtodo)musthavebeenlaiddown.Awhole campaignaimedatsubjugationofwomenmusthavestarted. Andslowlyandgraduallyawomanmusthavebeenrelegatedtoasecondarystatus.Shemusthave become a property of the physically powerful man. Over the years her physical weakness must have been exploited to make her psychologically weak as well. Gradually over many years a girl must have beenindoctrinatedtofeelinferior,notonlyphysicallybutpsychologically,intellectuallyandmentallyas well.Shemusthavebeendeprivedofpropertyrightseitherattheveryonsetorlayingdownofrules,or later deprived of her earlier enjoyed rights. With that it must have become easier to boss over her, manipulate her, use her, oppress and suppress her and finally dispossess her completely. Losing all rightsshemusthavelostthepower,ormadetogiveupthepowerofdecisionmaking.Losingthatshe musthavebecomeatoyatthehandsofmanwhichhecanmakesportofashepleases.Beingrelegated totherankofacommodityshemusthavebecomeameansoftradingincommoditiesandgettingmore property.Commodities,whichhecanexchange(e.g.bymarriagealliance),keeporrejectatwill,get ridofwhennotrequired,eitherbyabandoningor,lateron,byevenkilling. Eachtimeamanmusthavegonefurtherinrepressingawoman,hemusthavetakenstepstojustify hisaction,toappeasehisconscienceandmollifyothersinthesociety. Afterdeprivingherofallpowerandproperty,manslowlyandgraduallymusthavestartedtakingheras burden to be looked after and spend time and money on. This must have led to her becoming undesirable. While on the other hand in order to carry on possessing things and property even after death,theneedofanheir,asonmusthaveincreased.Nowwhengivingoff(givingoff!)theirdaughters in marriage, the grooms people must have demanded that the father also provide for the daughters maintenance, since she was a financial burden. This must have lead to the dowry system. As dowry system must have taken root, the daughter must have come to be looked upon as something (something!)tobedisposedoff,andindoingso,evenpayforbeingdisposedoff,prettyheavily.So,a copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 2

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] girl became a potential financial drain on a man. Somewhere down the line it must have become a matterofprestigetoo,themorethedowerthericherandhigherinstatusofitsgiver.So,payingbeyond meansmusthavesteppedinasamatterofhonour,ashowoff.Thismusthaveslowlyledtogirlhatred.

Prabhujimeintoribintikaroon PaiyanParoonbarbar AgleJanamMoheBitiyaNaDije NarakDijeChaheDar... meaning: Oh,God,Ibegofyou, Itouchyourfeettimeandagain, Nextbirthdon'tgivemeadaughter, GivemeHellinstead... AnoldFolkSongFromUttarPradesh Firstitmusthavebeenagirlortwokilledonthesly,thenmanmusthavebecomebolderandboldertill Femaleinfanticidemusthavebecomeanacceptednorm.Practicedfirstdiscreetly,thenblatantly.With thelawscomingupagainstfemaleinfanticide,theymusthaveagaingonebacktodoingitsecretlyon

copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 3

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] thesly.Andthentheydiscoveredtechnology,andabooncameintobeing,andwithitcamethe corruptionlikethediscoveryofatombomb:onceitcameintobeingtherewasnostoppingit AndnowwehaveUltrasoundfordeterminingSexoftheFoetus,asimpleandnoninvasivetechnique, theslogan(ofUltrasoundSexdeterminationCenters)is:Spendfivehundredrupeesnowsavefivelacks later(meaningtherebygetafemalefoetussexdeterminedandfemalefoetusaborted,tolatersave dowrymoney). ItisamatterofgraveconcernthattodayinIndiawearediscussingathinglikeFemaleFoeticide; Thisterminitselfenvelopesmyriadsofmeanings:Itsmacksofthefactthata)Agirliskilledbeforeshe isborn;b)Thatsexofafoetusisdeterminedtobethatofafemale;c)Itindicatestowardthefactthat thereisTechnologyprivytothisheinouscrime;d)Therearedoctorsinvolvedinfirstdeterminingthesex ofthebaby,thencarryingoutabortion;e)Thereiscrimeinvolvedinviolating,notonebutmanylaws: thePreNatalDiagnosticTechniques(RegulationandPreventionofMisuse)1994Act,theSection307 IPC(ofattempttomurder)andalongwithcrimeofabetmentofmurderetc. Itspeaksofawholesystemgonecorrupt;awholesocietyinvolvedinconspiracyagainstwomen, againstdestructionofhalfthepopulationofsociety,atthehandsofmonstrouspracticesbecoming moreandmorerampantinasocietyfastlosingitssecular,social,andhumanisticfabric.Intodays materialisticworldawomanisfastbeingrelegatedtotherankofacommodity,shehasbecomea meansoftradingincommoditiesandgettingmoreproperty,marriagehasbecomemoreofabusiness alliancethanasacredbondbetweentwopeople.

copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 4

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] AmniocentesisfirststartedinIndiain1974asapartofasamplesurveyconductedattheAllIndia InstituteofMedialSciences(AIIMS),NewDelhi,todetectfoetalabnormalities.Thesetestswerelater stoppedbytheIndianCouncilofMedicalResearch(ICMR),buttheirvaluehadleakedoutbythenand 1979sawthefirstsexdeterminationclinicopeninginAmritser,Punjab.Eventhoughthewomen organizationsacrossthecountrytookupcudgelstoputastoptothisnewmenace,butinfaceofthe MTP(MedicalTerminationofPregnancy)Act,theywerehelpless.Thisisbecausetheamniocentesistest wasclaimedtobeusedfordetectionoffoetalabnormalities,whichwerepermittedbytheMTPAct. AccordingtotheMTPAct,ifanyabnormalityisdetectedbetween12to18weeksofgestationalperiod inthefoetus,anabortioncanbelegallycarriedoutupto20weeksofpregnancy. Intheabsenceofanylaw,allthecentralgovernmentcoulddowastoissuecircularspriorto1985, banningthemisuseofmedicaltechnologyforsexdeterminationinallgovernmentinstitutions.This however,ledtothemushroomingofprivateclinicsalloverthecountry. In1986,theForumAgainstSexDeterminationandSexPreselection(FASDSP),asocialactiongroupin Mumbai,initiatedacampaign.Succumbingtopublicpressure,theMaharashtragovernmentenacted theMaharashtraRegulationofPreNatalDiagnosticTechniquesAct1988,thefirstantisexdetermination driveinthecountry. ThiswasfollowedbyasimilarActbeingintroducedinPunjabinMay1994.Boththesewerehowever repealedbytheenactmentofacentrallegislation,thatis,ThePreNatalDiagnosticTechniques (RegulationandPreventionofMisuse)Act,28September1994; Whichbannedsexdeterminationtestsalloverthecountry.ThisActcarriesathreeyearimprisonment sentenceandanRs10,000fineforoffenders.Theimplementationofthisactinitiallyfacedproblemsas monitoringagencieshadtobeidentifiedatalllevels.Itwasthereforeonlyin1997whenthe responsibilitywasdelegated,thatactualimplementationoftheactbegan(*1). Despitethis,thereisstillasocialcomplacencyamongallsectionsofsociety,whichneedstobe addressed.SincetheadventofUltrasoundanddetectiontechniqueofdeterminationofsexofthe foetuscameintobeing,10millionfemaleFoetuseshavebeenabortedinIndia,accordingtoastudy conductedrecentlyinIndia,thefirstsystematicstudyonfemaleFoeticidebyanIndoCanadianteam;A shockingpictureemergeseveryyear,about50,000unborngirlsoneinevery25areaborted(*2)Asa resultofwhichthenumberofgirlshasactuallygonedowndrasticallyinIndia. In1997UNPFAreportIndiaTowardsPopulationandDevelopmentGoals,estimatesthat48million womenweremissingfromIndiaspopulation.ThereportstatesIfthesexratioof1036femalesper 1000malesobservedinsomestatesofKeralain1991hadprevailedinthewholecountry,thenumberof wouldbe455millioninsteadofthe407million(inthe1991census).Thus,thereisacaseofbetween32 to48millionmissingfemalesintheIndiansocietyasof1991thatneedstobeexplained.

copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 5

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] Theterm,MissinggirlswascoinedbytheNobleLaureateAmrityaSain,andindicatesthe differencebetweentheestimatednumberofgirlsthatshouldhavebeenbornandthenumberofgirls thatactuallyexist. The1991censusesareonlyindicativeofthisdisturbingtrendwhenelsewhereintheworldwomen outnumbermenby3to5percent.Thereare95to97malesto100femalesinEurope,theratioiseven less,88malesto100females,inRussia,mainlyduetocausalitiesofWorldWar11(*1). AccordingtotheUNICEF,40to50milliongirlshavegonemissingfromIndianpopulationsince1901asa resultofsystematicgenderdiscriminationinIndia(*3). Asperconsensus2001,thechildratioinPunjabis793girlsto1000boys.Thisisthelowestchildratioin thecountry(theaveragebeing927girlsto1000boy)andascomparedto1991consensusitshowsa declineof82points(*4). Asisevidentfromtheabovementionedfigures,thesituationisgettingfrombadtoworst.So,muchso thatTODAYIndiatopsthelistasfarasillegalabortionandfemalefoeticideareconcerned.Ofthe15 millionillegalabortionscarriedoutintheworldin1997,Indiaaccountedfor4million,90%ofwhich wereintendedtoeliminatethegirlchild(*1). Onthe8thofMarch2006NewDelhiGovernor,launchedacampaignagainstselectiveabortions.In Delhialonethesituationisbecomingalarming:only814girlsarebornforevery1000boysinthe Capital.Whilethe2001consensusshowedDelhissexratiotobe865foragegroup06years,against thenationalaverageof927(*5).Thishasconsistentlyincreasedovertheyears:Saheli,aDelhibased NGO,hasreportedthatbetween197882,nearly78,000femalefetuseswereabortedaftersex determinationtestsinthecountry.Between198687alone,30,00050,000femalefetuseshadbeen aborted.Between198292,thenumberofsexdeterminationclinicsmultipliedmanifoldandnearly13, 000sexdeterminationtestswereestimatedtohavebeendoneinsevenDelhiclinicsthemselves. Theironyofthewholesituationisthatinthe10oddyearssinceIndiaenactedthePreNatalDiagnostic Technologies(PNDT)Act,notasinglepersonwasconvictedtillthebeginningofApril2006,whenonly twopeoplewereconvicted,finedandpronouncedfiveyearsofrigorousimprisonment.Only23cases havebeenregisteredunderthisactsofar,accordingtothethenIndiasHealthMinisterAmbumoni Ramadosssstatementintheparliament(*6).

copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 6

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA]


Undated picture shows newly born babies lying on a hospital bed in Agartala capital of Indian northeastern state Tripura.

Astheworldwillcelebrates11thJulyastheWorldPopulationDay,wewillbehelplessobserverstothe phenomenonof60,000milliongirlsmissingfromtheworldssecondmostpopulatedNationinthe world:India!Ironicallythethemeofthe20052006yearWorldPopulationDaywasdeclaredbyUnited NationstobeEqualityEmpowers!TheUNFPAExecutivedirector,ThorayaObaid,hadremarkedthen, Equalitybenefitsequalopportunitiestoeducation,societiesbecomemoreprosperous,wherewomen haveequalexcesstoincome,assetsandservices,familiesbecomehealthier.Whenbothmenand womenareabletoparticipateequallyandexercisetheirfullhumanrights,theworldbenefits.(*7)Alas! Howfarwearefromthisgoal! Indiasincethenhastakenlotsofmeasurestosavethegirlchild,newlawsaremadeandnew legislaturesarestillbeingcoinedinIndia,besidesacountrywidecampaignhasbeenlaunchedtocreate awarenessaboutthegirlchild,thankstoRenukaChaudhary,thepresentMinisterofWomenandChild HealthintheCongressleadIndia.But,wearestillseverelywantinginmeasurestosuccessfullytackle thisseriousissue,whichisquicklyacquiringepidemicproportions.

InconclusionIwouldliketosharetwoofmypoemsonthisgrievousproblemwiththereaders;Girl Unborn,abouttheappallingpracticeofFemaleInfanticidestillbeingpracticedinpartsofIndia,and MissingGirlsonthephenomenonofthesamename,thathasresultedfromthepracticeofFemale FoeticideaftertheadventofUltrasoundinIndia. copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 7

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA]

Girl Unborn
(Female Infanticide) My friend who came from the near by village, Told me this story of human pillage, That, whenever a baby girl was born, It was, more often then not, declared Still-born! And as a little boy, he often wondered: Did he hear the baby cry? Or, it was just a figment of his imagination? Did he see a certain gleam? In the midwifes dark-black eyes, As she patted a bulge by her side

But, why was she unable to sleep, Tossing and turning in her bed, In nightmarish dreams all night?

Till one day the Dai went crazy! Vacant eyed, she sat with her baby! The GIRL was a Still-Born-Baby!

But, did he notice the familiar blue? On the neck of the baby, true! copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 8

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] They say, an act oft-repeated By force of habit, Can spell your own doom, If you dont cap it!!!

And now they say: There is Ultrasound! You dont need the Dai around

Author: Zoya Zaidi Aligarh (UP), India Copyright: Zoya Zaidi

*Dai-colloquial for midwife, they were employed & paid heavy pockets, to strangulate the girlchild, and to keep-quiet

copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 9

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA]

THE MISSING GIRLS


(FemaleFoeticide)
Wherehaveallthemissinggirlsgone? Gone!Gone,tothegraveyard! Wherehaveallthemissinggirlsgone? Gone!Gone,tothegraveyard! Shemissedthebus Whilebeingborn: Theypulledherback, Wrungherneck, Threwherintothe Trashcan! Wherehaveallthemissinggirlsgone? Gone!Gone,totheTrashcan! Asaninfant,shemissedthebus: Herbrothergotallthemilk, Herbrothergotalltherice, She,onlythewaterystarchybroth! Shemissedthebustotheschool,

copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 10

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] Herbrothergoton Cause: Shehadnoshoes, Shehadnoclothes, Shehadnobooks, Howcouldshethengeton? Butshehadflour, Vegetables,riceandspice, Shecookedthefood! Shemissedthebus, Whenshesatdowntoeat: Herfatherandbrotherateupall! Thecrumbswereallshegot Butshehadabroom, Amop,awiper: Shesweptandwipedthefloor, Cleanedoff,herownblood! Whateverwasleft Hertearswashedup! Shemissedthebustocollegetoo Shewasmarried, Alreadywithachildortwo!

copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 11

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] Butshegotonthebus Tothegraveyard! ShewentupinflamesinShamshanGhat Wherehaveallthemissinggirlsgone? Gone!Gone,tothegraveyard! Gone!Gone,toShamshanGhat! Shegotthebustomarkettoo: Shewassoldforathousandortwo! Againandagain ShegotonthebustoHelltoo! Againandagain Oh,yes!Hereshegoton Forsure!!! Wherehaveallthemissinggirlsgone? Gone!Gone,gonetoHellGate! Foragestheywondered: Whattodo? Howtogetridoff Thisunwantedbaggage Ofdoom! Theyusedthepillowonherface,

copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 12

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] Tostiflethescream, Lestitwasheard! Theveryfirstscreamofthebirth! Shecouldnotevengettocry, Suppressedwastheveryfirstoutcry! Womenwhisperedincorridors, Midwifecouldnotsleepafterdailychores: Theirsoulswereblack asthenight... Whichkeptthemawake Consciencepricking eyelidsandeyes Allnight! Thenonedaytechnologycame: Whataboon! Shottofame! Nowwecandothejob! Withoutaclue! Whocansay, Sheeverwas? Cause, Sheneverwas!!

copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 13

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] Oh!Soeasy: Justascan! Andthen,theforceps& Sound,&whirringof Suctionpumps Or, Dilatation,&Curettage Hearabitofcrunch! Thejobisdone!! Inaminuteortwo Noevidenceleftbehind Oh!Whatafind! (ThisUSG*isjustdivine!!) AllisthrownintotheDustbin, Whocansay? Thereeverwas AGirlMissing!! Wherehaveallthemissinggirlsgone? Gone!Gone,tothedustbins! Wherehaveallthemissinggirlsgone? Gone!Gone,gone Missinggirl,whoneverwas! Nofuneralpyre,

copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 14

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] NoShamshanGhat! Noevidence,noclue: ThecrimeisMissing! AndsoistheGirl! Thegirlismissing Andsoistheevil! Andtheblacksoulcangoon Wherehaveallthemissinggirlsgone? Gone!Gone,tothegraveyard! Wherehaveallthemissinggirlsgone? Gone!Gone,gone Now,themenarehardpressedtoo: Howtogetawifeortwo? Noproblem! Gotothemarketplace, Getawifey,getaslave!** Shewillwashandcleanuptoo Cannotblameyouwhateveryoudo! Amachineforbearingchildrentoo Ababyeveryyearortwo: (Ifitisboy,wellandgood! Ifagirlyouknow,whattodo?) Youkeepyourland&inheritancetoo

copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 15

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] Justlikeaslaveinoldentimes Justliketheslaves,rightnow Wherehaveallthemissinggirlsgone? Gone!Gone,gone,gone Wherehaveallthemissinggirlsgone? Gone!Gone,gone,withoutatrace WipedofffromthefaceofHumanrace Ishervaluereallyatstake? Timeiswitnesstoherplight! Andsoareyou! AndsoamI! Author:ZoyaZaidi Aligarh(UP),India Copyright:ZoyaZaidi *USGUltraSonography **WomenarebeingsoldbytheirownpoorparentstolandownersinRajisthan&UPfrompoorer StatesofBihar,WestBengal&Bangladesh;thiscaterstothedemandforwomeninthesestatestothe alreadyexistingacutedeficit. ShamshanGhat:CremationGround copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 16

Dr.ZoyaZaidi [FEMALEFOETICIDEININDIA] References: *1 http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/Organizations/healthnet/SAsia/forums/foeticide/articles/foeticide.html *2http://www.indianexpress.com/res/web/pIe/full_story.php?content_id=85598 *3http://www.indianchild.com/abortion_infanticide_foeticide_india.htm *4http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/607894.cms *5http://www.asianews.it/view.php?l=en&art=5558 *6 http://news.monstersandcritics.com/southasia/article_1032807.php/Female_foeticide_still_a_problem _in_21st_century_Indiaimages *7http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/population/ Images:NewbornbabiesinTripura:http://.monstersandcritics.comIndiaWorldPopulationDay. MicrosoftInternetExplorer http://news.monstersandcritics.com/southasia/article_1032807.php/Female_foeticide_still_a_problem _in_21st_century_Indiaimages Photos:PinkythelittleMother,Innocence;ThelittleDhoban;LittleGirlGatheringFirewoodand TooMany;PhotosbyandCopyright:ZoyaZaidi TheAuthorisaseniormedicaldoctor,aPhysicianandspecialistinImmunologyandRheumatology,and isrunningherownclinicinAligarh(UP),India,sincelast25oddyears.

copyright2010,OrientalWomenOrganization 17