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Families must welcome the arrival of a girl child into this world

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By Sheen Kachroo

In 2020, the United Nations published a report on The State of World Population 2020. It reflected gruesome facts such as 4.6 lakh girls were ‘’missing ‘’ at birth each year from 2013 to 2017, as a result of Sex Selective abortions . The report further mentioned that in India, 4.6 crore women are missing from the last 50 years. 

India is a country of diverse people, religion, festivals which makes it vibrant. In India, we celebrate Naag Panchmi, Van Mahostav, Navratri, among others as a mark of respect and connection with the Almighty. The Kanya Pujan is celebrated during Navratri. As a part of the celebration, people touch the feet of little girls and seek their blessing, considering her as a form of goddess. 

But the reality is quite frightening. In our country, girls are also raped, molested, harasses, assaulted. There is female infanticide and foeticide. Isn’t this hypocrisy? 

The Lancet journal mentioned that every year, through sex selective abortions, India loses 500,000 girls. Historically in the absence of genetic testing, infanticide was the only inhuman option but technology has given wings to such felons to commit this crime. 

A new trend has surfaced which is called ‘Reproductive Tourism’ whereby couples travel to countries such as Thailand, Mexico where sex selective abortions are not illegal. 

Moreover, a survey conducted by the Asian Centre for Human Rights, a Delhi-based NGO, revealed that a lot of parents express their preference to have a son over a daughter. Several excuses are given such as “daughters are an unaffordable economic burden” with no social security or social burdens such as Vansh Aage Badhana Hai (continue family hierarchies) to avoid the birth of a girl child. 

Many say having a girl in the family is an additional burden because when she grows up and is in a need to be protected against rape, molestation which in turn will bring humiliations to family [Biradari mein naak kaat Jana]. 

Many doctors and nurses get trapped in greed and promote the practice of sex selective abortions. The cancerous development of female foeticide can be cured by the joint efforts of governments and community. Many laws have been put forth to protect and give wings to girl children. These are encouraging parents to give birth to a girl. To name a few, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samridhi Yojana and the Pre- Conception and Pre natal Diagnostic Technique Act 1994, are changing the scenario gradually. 

In Madhya Pradesh, there is a community named Bacchanda that considers the birth of a female as the arrival of another breadwinner for the family. In Tamil Nadu, the famous play Pacha Mannu is completely produced by females alone. In the words of Kofi Annan, Former Secretary General of UN, “Violence against women is perhaps the most shameful human right violation and most pervasive. As long as it continues, we cannot claim to be making real progress towards equality, development and peace.”

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