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A girl child in India can be treated very shabbily, even to the point of putting her life in danger and killing her. When will all this change?
The story is not uncommon or rare. It’s not even shocking but just painful and heart wrenching to think that this is happening in our society and so near us. Living in the big cities of India or sometimes even far away from the country, we feel that we are not going to be touched by some of the key and very real problems that our country is facing.
Why speak for others, I thought I would come this close to facing this issue, or even know someone who has faced it. The issue of the mind-set towards a girl child in India.
As a girl growing up in India I was not untouched by the atrocities committed against women in this country. I had been eve teased as a girl and been shoved and touched incorrectly while travelling using public transport, I have also very many times walked the roads ignoring the dirty looks given by men on the roadside.
Had I ever felt scared or insecure? Yes, many times and far many more times than I would like to believe. I have read news reports of rapes and acid burn victims and also cases on female infanticide. With every story and with every event I would fear for my security and wonder if my good luck is going to run out soon?
It may seem that I am writing all this far too simplistically, but the case is not that this is simple but that it’s happening far too easily and casually. It’s happening as I write this article and as you read it. It’s happening out there and all around you.
But what makes these atrocities worse is that they are happening in our homes as well. Yes! The most secure and comforting place. Home. It’s happening there as well!
It is not important which town or city or even which part of India this story happened in. What is important is that it happened and I am sure that it is happening in far too many homes than we would like to believe in.
While I was staying with relatives of mine, I got to meet one of their neighbours. A very typical Indian household with typical characters and roles. A mother in law who ran the house, a father in law who enjoyed it, a daughter in law who did all the work and a son who didn’t do much.
This family was blessed with a little baby girl during my stay there. It was what happened after the birth of this child that left me with questions and pain I thought I had resigned to.
The mother was discharged from the hospital the very next day irrespective of her health as no further expenses would be borne on her account.
No relatives or friends of the family came to bless or see the baby.
No one rejoiced or felt happy about the birth.
The baby was given no medical care after her birth, she was not even given proper care at her home.
She was made to lie down on soiled and used cloths and was left there with no attention while the mother was expected to get back to her business of taking care of the family.
And all of this in a few days of her coming into this world. I shudder to imagine what her life will be growing up and what more she has to see and experience and more importantly feel.
I am most certain that if given a choice of finding out the gender of the baby this family would have decided against this little baby being born just to avoid the trouble of having to kill her all through her life. This case is not unique to this family or to this city or even to that part of the country. It is rampant throughout the country and is happening at a rate that we don’t even know.
The questions are many and the answers are few. I have written about this but could I have done something more? I’m sure I could have. We all can do more. So why don’t we and why didn’t I? Societal reasons and because I was visiting I had no opportunity to go there in that house and have a chat with the family to make them aware of their duties.
We left some money with the young mother to help her get things for her baby but how much of that will happen is anyone’s guess…
The question still rings in my head – how do we or how do I make things change?
Image source: little Indian girl by Shutterstock.