Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Curious Case of Missing Pinki

The first question that comes to your mind is “Who is Pinki?”. The first answer that comes to your mind is the Oscar-winning documentary, “Smile Pinkie”. My blog’s protagonist is also named Pinki. Pinkie’s story had a happy ending. But, my story’s Pinki is not so lucky. Let’s hear from her, what she wants to say.

“Hello, everyone. My name is Pinki. I want to tell you all today about my dreams. My dreams are omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, like God. Yes, I know...... a bit too stereo-typical.
But, today, my life changed. Before, I had heard my father and mother talking about me. They used to argue about things like dowry, abortion and burden which I did not understand. Later, I heard my mother, “How can you kill my daughter?” Some woman was forcing my mother to kill me. I laughed it off. My mother will perhaps kill her for telling something so absurd. But, my mother kept silent. More and more people used to harass her physically and mentally forcing her to kill me. I used to cry out loud hearing my mother cry. But, I could not do anything.
Within days, I realised my life is going to end within my mother’s womb. Continually, I could hear my mother’s sobs. She was so helpless. I felt so sad for her, but I felt sadder for myself. Atleast, people could console her. Who will console me?
It appears like I am the sacrificial lamb. Why was I conceived and nourished, if I were to be murdered one day. I know you might be feeling sad for me, but sadly it is of no use. Now, I will sleep a bit. I will catch up with you later.”
As a matter of fact, there are many Pinki’s around us and away from us. Let us ponder over the reasons of female infanticide (also known as sex-selective abortion) -
1. Future and Present - The thinking among people that they will ave to spend a lot of money on their daughters, who will finally leave them along with huge settlement money.
2. Honour killing - Giving birth to a daughter is a disgrace. A son is a source of pride.
3. Unplanned pregnancy - When people allow desires to take over sense and get pregnant, they decide to abort the baby.
All the above factors are in a way related to the theory of comatose conscience. According to this, an individual tricks his conscience into believing that the newborn has not taken human shape, so killing him is not a big deal. In other words, the murder of an unborn baby is too minimally significant to be treated as a homicide.
These reasons may be sounding oft-repeated and boring to you. But, these problems actually do persist in many places.
Who told we Indians are not good businessmen. We are brilliant at it. We treat sons on the asset side and daughters on the liabilities side. We increase our assets and decrease our liabilities. The biggest problem is many of us have become Ramalinga Rajus. There is a Satyam going on in some place near you.
A remarkable aspect of the female infanticide is the fact that these practices are not limited to rural areas, they are equally prevalent in urban areas. Take the example of Jaipur which boasts a sex ratio of 899 girls among 1000 boys as against the sex ratio of 940(which in itself is dismal).
One of the biggest reasons for the high female infanticide has been the evil called dowry. Though dowry has been made illegal under the “The Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act”, in which there can be imprisonment for a 3-year period and a fine of Rs. 50,000 for the culprits and suspension/removal of registration license of medical practitioners who are accomplices in the crime. Sadly, the law has not been so effective.
Easier said than done, just keeping a law in place doesn’t solve matters. Families are encouraged to register complaints and voice their opinion against dowry. This solution can reach only the tip of an iceberg. The problems associated with this solution arise primarily because the families are not financially strong and the daughters are not so well educated. The families are not in a position to oppose dowry. In some cases, the dowry thing is treated as customary. The girl’s parents insist upon giving “gifts” to their daughters after marriage. The word “dowry” is never uttered (like “You-know-who” of Harry Potter fame).
Sitting behind newspapers in closed rooms and with closed mindsets, we comment on the degradation of the society oblivious of the outside environment. But, what do we do for the society? We do practically nothing, theoretically everything...... like giving discourses about how the society should be, how we hate our politicians and how our favourite hero wears his undies over his pants. I think it’s time we stop pointing our fingers at atrocities and social frictions and then forgetting it all together, which is typical of us, Indians.
As such, there are no sure-shot solutions. When there is a need of solution for a social problem, either it takes the government to curb the problem or it takes someone like Raja Ram Mohan Roy to begin a revolution. With a weak-willed government is the helm, we need many Raja Ram Mohan Roys. I believe the contemporary women folk of India must actively participate in the solution to the problem of missing Pinkis. It is a tragic irony that they are an accomplice in most of the cases of infanticide.
Let’s hear Pinki for the last time.
“Hi, I am back. As a matter of fact, I could not sleep. I want to move my legs, my hands, my head. This place is so cramped. I have heard that it hurts while dying. Yeah. I know you cannot hear my cries when I die. Anyways, the cocoon in which you live is sound-proof and light-proof. You are no less hopeless than me. I can see you resigned to your handicaps and miseries. I will die soon, you are already dead.”
Before I end, please have a look at the following stats -
At birth: 1.12 male(s)/female
Under 15: 1.10 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65-over: 0.90 male(s)/female
As you can see, the heading high male:female ratio at birth will progressively appear across all the age groups. The things promise to get worse. Congrats to all....

PS – I might have been too preachy, but please try to understand the intention behind this blog.


SURABHI said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SURABHI said...

A very well written article. Especially the example of Pinkie. We boast of technological development. On the other hand, we are committing such a dreadful crime. Here you have taken the example of Jaipur, which is still quite less developed than the metropolitan cities. Even if u look at Delhi, which is the capital of India and among the most advanced cities, its sex ratio is only 820, which is far lesser than that of Jaipur. Same is the codition with some other states such as Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. I think the root cause of this problem is dowry, because of which parents are afraid to give birth to a daughter. It's the most important to solve this problem first.

priwrites said...

Good one... Its very true, and whether things have changed with time is a big question.Literacy levels could have gone up, but this rate is yet to subside... There is one thing i would want to add. Either girls are killed before they are born, or they are deprived of nutrition, education, n basic necessities.There is always a disparity among girls n boys in most families.Girls are made to look after the chores, deprived of good food, which they need to save for the male kids who come back from school.True that dowry is a major problem plus, there is the fact that the girl will be of no use to them in future.

Amartya Singh said...

@ Surabhi I agree....Delhi needs to do a lot of catching up...

@Priya Somthing needs to be done abt the mindset of uneducated families.

born idiot said...

The figures presented in the article paint a dismal picture but then we are already aware of it, aren't we? The solution is linked to the collective progress that the backward people of the society make because it is a belief that educated families generally stay away from the heinous crime of female infanticide. Why do we blame the government every time something goes awry? It is a democracy. We have as much right to form a government as the power wielding politicians in Race Course have. The day when we start complaining and start doing something, everything will change. But then we do not have the time. Why? Because we are too busy planning how to spend the hefty salary that we get or hoping that someone will eventually do something to resolve the issue.” Why should I do something until I am directly affected? Haven't I done enough by writing a blog about this issue?” Some food for thought.....

Amartya Singh said...

@Puspa aka Born Idiot That is called macro-blogging : Blogging about a blog....