The recent raids across the Mumbai city to close in on illegal activities of sex determination are not shocking. Sex determination with an objective of killing an unborn girl child is painfully undesirable but not shocking. In the pre-sonography days a girl child was brutally murdered after birth. Now, in the digital age a girl child’s right to birth itself is denied.
There are a lot of statistics of falling sex ratios and social consequences of evident imbalance in the sex ratio. But is a girl’s life all about statistics? Is it all about so-called social justifications that in India female infanticide is high because of deep-rooted tradition of son preference, expected dowry liabilities etc.
At the end of the day women are still looked upon as objects. Objects that could be manipulated and objectified by anyone.
I found the following meaning of objectification on Wikipedia.
- Instrumentality – if the thing is treated as a tool for one’s own purposes;
- Denial of autonomy – if the thing is treated as if lacking in agency or self-determination;
- Inertness – if the thing is treated as if lacking in agency;
- Ownership – if the thing is treated as if owned by another;
- Fungibility – if the thing is treated as if interchangeable;
- Violability – if the thing is treated as if permissible to damage or destroy;
- Denial of subjectivity – if the thing is treated as if there is no need to show concern for the ‘object’s’ feelings and experiences.
In a nut shell, translating the above in my interpretation , women are still considered to be not one but all of the above.
- Instrumental– A tool for Procreation, Sexual pleasures !
- Denial of autonomy– A mother being denied her right to let her female offspring survive. Denial of choices in life !
- Ownership-Owned by parents, husband, in-laws. societal norms, religious authorities. Physically and mentally !
- Fungibility– Interchangeable- Boy as against a girl. Chocolate ice cream v/s a Strawberry ice cream. Easy isn’t it !
- Voilability– A woman can be used, abused, raped; no questions asked !
- Denial of subjectivity– No concern for the pain and tribulations of an unborn foetus, no concern for the mother’s feelings and life long experiences of guilt !
And believe me unfortunately this interpretation would not change across the length and breadth of Indian rural-urban geographies.
There could be more abortions in urban India considering the fact that access to pre natal sex determination test would have more penetration here. No wonder sex screening and abortion clinics are booming in the middle eastern and Asian countries, fed by Indian nationals. Sure enough, the poor villager does not have these destinations on his or her mind.
So what can eradicate this social evil ? I believe technology is a big enabler. What if Sonography instruments can connect to a server, relaying data of the doctor, clinic details, location, patients name, demographic details, number of visits for check up, periodicity of check ups etc. Finally bringing about adequate checks and measures to minimize the offences. Well the system must be thought through.
I had written the following poem way back in 2001. I had an assignment to create a social awareness campaign as part of one of my class room assignments.
Silent Cry-In the darkness of a Womb
Deep in the darkness of the womb,
A baby is sleeping, in it’s cosy room.
Mother will keep baby warm,
And take care it, to keep it away from all the harms
The baby’s arrival will bring everyone joy,
With mixed curiosity, whether it’s a girl or a boy.
Cos, if it’s a boy, it’s a matter of pride,
And if it’s a girl, then she will be a liable bride.
So they try to detect the sex of the child,
And to know that she is a girl, drives them wild.
As Prevention is better than cure,
They say abortion is the only cure.
The baby’s cries echoes in the womb,
Mother would you let me die in your womb.
But, there is no one to hear the Silent cry,
It is there all alone; and it is just a futile try.
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