Female Foeticide-Infanticide – A Shameless Face of Indian Society
Talk global and India is a force to be respected. However, talk of India, it still bears the shame of female foeticide-infanticide – a practice that shows male-chauvinistic attitude that prevails in Indian society.
There is no sweet word, no soothing word for this. It is a systematic genocide, pure murder, often accomplished through sex selective abortion. This murder takes place in two formats – one is called infanticide and the other is called foeticide. These two are different but the end result is same – killing girl child because this male-chauvinistic society thinks that male children are more useful than female children.
This thinking roots out from various socio-economic conditions that plague our nation. Culture, and religion plays an important role but of course there are economic conditions too. These conditions have become so interwoven that despite various attempts of preventing this brutal act, it is still continues till date.
Difference between female foeticide and infanticide
These two are two different roads to one common goal – killing a girl child. Let us take a look at the difference between the two in a tabular format.
|Female Foeticide||Female Infanticide|
|The girl is not yet born. She is still in foetus stage. It is at this stage the foetus is killed.||The girl is born, that is, delivery happens and then the infant is killed.|
|Killing takes place by removing the foetus from the womb. Basically abortion. Sometimes a more indirect method is used where a pill is inserted into the genitals of a pregnant woman and within a few hours, the foetus dies and disintegrates and comes out while passing urine.||Killing takes place after birth. A number of methods can be used for the same. These methods are summed up below.|
Methods of female infanticide
Female infanticide can take place in a number of ways which are mentioned below:
- Drowning the baby girl.
- Leaving the infant girl exposed to the elements where lack of food and harsh natural elements claim the life of the infant.
- Leaving the infant in the wild where wild animals eat them up.
- Using poisons to kill the infant girl.
- No feeding the infant and deliberately neglecting the child. Eventually the infant succumbs to death because of lack of nutrition or no nutrition.
What are the causes of female foeticide-infanticide in India?
There are several reasons for female foeticide-infanticide India. Some of the socio-economic causes are mentioned below:
- There is a concept in India that female children are useless and male children will take care of their parents. It is thought that males are earners and females are consumers.
- Poverty is a big reason why such a thinking comes.
- A social reason is dowry. India is also plagued by dowry system that still exists today. When a girl is born, the burden of dowry falls on the shoulders of the parents. Parents do not really want to take that burden.
- Women have always suffered a low status in India. As we said earlier, Indian society is a face of male-chauvinistic attitude where it is still believed that women are weak and are nothing more than sex toys and baby manufacturing machines. Sometimes they are also looked upon as slaves at home. This attitude has ignited the cruelty of female foeticide and infanticide.
- Not to mention, female foeticide has increased dramatically because of advancement in medical science. It is not lot easier to determine the sex of the unborn baby.
Status of female foeticide-infanticide in India – Past and Present
This is really difficult to say how old this custom is. However, if we start looking back, we do find proper records as far back as 1789. Back then, this practice was widespread in Rajasthan and Gujarat’s western shores covering Kutch and Surat. Even in eastern side of Uttar Pradesh, this practice was predominant about Rajput clans. Of course, back then it was not foeticide but rather infanticide.
In more recent times when sex determination test became available, the incidences of female foeticide increased significantly. For instance, there was a famous center for abortion in Mumbai. Records indicate that in1984-85, that clinic carried out 15,914 abortions in total. Guess how many were female foetuses? 100%!
Mumbai was really one of the hubs of this cruelty. A survey of 6 city hospitals gave another shocking data. Out of 8,000 aborted foetuses, only 1 was a male foetus. Remaining 7,999 were females. Moving south, Tamil Nadu has a report of 4,000 female foeticide every single year.
What about today? In today’s context, it is really difficult to get an exact count. Government has banned sex determination. Hence, legally determining the gender of a foetus is no longer possible. However, that didn’t really stop unethical medical practitioners from determining the sex of a foetus and abort the same in case it turns out to be a female. In rural areas where foeticide is not an option because of lack of medical facilities, infanticide is still rampant.
Impact of female foeticide-infanticide on Indian society
We can literally pen down pages after pages on this topic alone. But since we are to work within a defined limit, here are a few things you need to know:
- Female foeticide and infanticide has led to a rapid decline in sex ratio in India. Today there are only a little over 900 girls for every 1000 boys. The number of females in India is rapidly declining. The scenario is way worse in northern states of India where men are required to reach out far to find brides from outside their own community and state. There is a really weird practice of buying brides! Yes! Men offer a large amount of money to the families of girls to agree to a marriage bond. These brides are called imported or purchased brides.
- Growth of the nation itself is at stake. It goes without saying that female and male way of thinking are different. A conjunction of the two gives birth to better ideas in a competitive environment. Relying simply on male-oriented ideas will at one stage lead to stagnation.
- With the fast rate of dwindling numbers of females, that time is not far when one day, India will be a population of males only. What will happen then? Import brides from other nations? No nation will come forward and India will boil down to ashes!
This is a pressing concern and India should soon do something about this male-chauvinistic attitude if the country really has to set long-term developmental goals. Else, no one can prevent its demise, which will be a shameful one.