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This story is not about me but about the millions of Indians for whom it matters a lot when they have a girl in the family. Take for instance; there is this man who has been working in my parents’ house for last 25 years. He does house-keeping work, stays away from his village and his family and earns a meager wage. Initially he had 2 daughters. We advised him to stay content with the size of the family. But of course, he didn’t pay heed to it. He had one more girl, and then another and then one more. After five girls, he finally had a son. And that’s when the family planning came into the picture. Now he is 40+; his skin is wrinkled and his hair is gray. He looks and feels way older than his actual age. He has only managed to marry off his eldest daughter. And in her wedding, all his savings practically got used up. So he needs to start afresh for the wedding of his next daughter. I am not sure if he will survive till his son’s wedding. I asked him “Why did you have so many children when you couldn’t afford them?” He replied, “The society would not have let me live if I didn’t have a son. They would have ostracized my wife.” He brought six kids into this world for the society. Foolish man! The society would not have let him live anyway.

His is not the lone story. I have a maid who has four daughters and then one son. Again, the same sob story. If she hadn’t had given birth to a son, her husband would have married another woman. What kind of a sick society is this? With so much happening, can we really blame these women for wanting a male child? Should we blame them for female foeticide?

Where are the activists, the doyens of the Indian society who claim to change India? India cannot change by marching on the streets. This change needs to flow from the top to bottom. When my daughter was born, many people (including some of my own family members) expressed sympathy instead of congratulating us. The reason – we had a baby girl. A burden to the parents. If you ever happen to visit a maternity hospital, just notice how the chests of the men puff up when they are announced that their wife has delivered a son. You will be made to think as if they have given birth to the saviors of this world. With educated people stuck in this rotten mindset, how can we make illiterate people understand the importance of a girl child?

So now tell me, what’s wrong if somebody wants to abort a girl child? Skewed sex ratio, female foeticide and sex determination are big words. And they read better in newspapers. But it doesn’t matter to these people. And why should it? Does the society pay for the upbringing of these girls? Does the government come forward in paying the dowry at the time of their wedding? If these girls are sold to pimps and they come into the sex trade, who is responsible for that?

With Durgashtami around the corner, I must say we are the society of the biggest hypocrites in this world. On two days in the whole year, we worship young pre-pubescent girls (kanya puja) as we see Goddess Lakshmi in them. We wash their dainty feet and offer them food and gifts. And the rest of the year, we are free to abuse them; mentally and physically. Save the girl child today, only to kill her tomorrow.

This is the kind of sick and depraved society we live in. What a shame! What a shame!