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Thread: India Is Letting Its Little Girls Die

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    Elite Member NVash's Avatar
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    Default India Is Letting Its Little Girls Die

    Despite rapid growth, India lets its girls die




    AP – In this photo taken Wednesday, April 13, 2011, one year and 9-month-old Sania cries as she is weighed …

    By MUNEEZA NAQVI, Associated Press Muneeza Naqvi, Associated Press – 2 hrs 42 mins ago
    MORENA, India – The room is large and airy, the stone floors clean and cool — a welcome respite from the afternoon sun. Until your eyes take in the horror that it holds. Ten severely malnourished children — nine of them girls.
    The starving girls in this hospital ward include a 21-month-old with arms and legs the size of twigs and an emaciated 1-year-old with huge, vacant eyes. Without urgent medical care, most will not live to see their next birthday.
    They point to a painful reality revealed in India's most recent census: Despite a booming economy and big cities full of luxury cars and glittering malls, the country is failing its girls.
    Early results show India has 914 girls under age 6 for every 1,000 boys. A decade ago, many were horrified when the ratio was 927 to 1,000.
    The discrimination happens through abortions of female fetuses and sheer neglect of young girls, despite years of high-profile campaigns to address the issue. So serious is the problem that it's illegal for medical personnel to reveal the gender of an unborn fetus, although evidence suggests the ban is widely circumvented.
    "My mother-in-law says a boy is necessary," says Sanju, holding her severely malnourished 9-month-old daughter in her lap in the hospital. She doesn't admit to deliberately starving the girl but only shrugs her own thin shoulders when asked why her daughter is so sick.
    She will try again for a son in a year or two, she says.
    Part of the reason Indians favor sons is the enormous expense in marrying off girls. Families often go into debt arranging marriages and paying elaborate dowries. A boy, on the other hand, will one day bring home a bride and dowry. Hindu custom also dictates that only sons can light their parents' funeral pyres.
    But it's not simply that girls are more expensive for impoverished families. The census data shows that the worst offenders are the relatively wealthy northern states of Punjab and Haryana.
    In Morena, a sun-baked, largely rural district in the heart of India, the numbers are especially grim. This census showed that only 825 girls for every 1,000 boys in the district made it to their sixth birthdays, down from an already troubling 829 a decade ago.
    Though abortion is allowed in India, the country banned revealing the gender of unborn fetuses in 1994 in an attempt to halt sex-selective abortions. Every few years, federal and state governments announce new incentives — from free meals to free education — to encourage people to take care of their girls.
    In Morena, a Madhya Pradesh state government program offers poor families with one or two daughters a few thousand rupees (a few hundred dollars) for every few years of schooling, and more than 100,000 rupees ($2,250) when they graduate high school.
    But while a handful of Indian women have attained some of the highest positions in politics and business — from late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi — a deep-rooted cultural preference for sons remains.
    Even the government has accepted that it has failed to save millions of little girls.
    "Whatever measures that have been put in over the last 40 years have not had any impact," India's Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said last month when announcing the census numbers.
    In Morena's homes, villages, schools and hospitals lie some of the answers to why the country keeps losing girls.
    In the district hospital's maternity ward, a wrinkled old woman walks out holding a just-born girl wrapped in a dirty rag like an unwelcome present. Munni, who uses only one name, is clearly unhappy. Her daughter-in-law has just given birth to her sixth girl in 12 years of marriage.
    Will the daughter-in-law go through another pregnancy?
    "Everyone wants boys. A boy takes care of you in your old age," Munni says.
    As a mother-in-law, Munni will likely have enormous control over her son's wife, influencing how many children she has and nudging or bullying her to bear a son.
    The hospital insists it strictly obeys the law against using sonograms to reveal the gender of a fetus, says R.C. Bandil, who heads the facility. The sex ratio at birth at his hospital is as high as 940-945, he says. "Why is it 825 for the 0-6 group?" he asks.
    Part of the answer lies in his own hospital's malnutrition ward.
    "Women cry when they have girls," nurse Lalitha Gujar says as she spoons powdered coconut, peanuts and sesame seeds into bowls of fortified milk to nourish the tiny children.
    All nine mothers of the sickly infant girls say they want sons — to look after them when they get old, because their sisters-in-law have more sons, because their mothers-in-law demand male children.
    "If a woman has a boy, for a month she will be looked after. If she has a girl, she'll be back in the fields in three days," says Sudha Misra, a local social worker.
    An exhausted mother who faces neglect, poor nutrition and blame for producing a daugher is likely to pass on that neglect, social workers say. For an infant, that can mean the difference between life and death.
    "A malnourished child will get sick and the chances of death are very high," Bandil says.
    Males get first priority. "First the husband is seated and fed, then the brothers and then whatever is left is fed to the girls," says Bandil. "If there are two mangoes in the house, first the boy will get to eat."
    For the very poor, the pressures to bear sons result in mistreatment of both the baby girl and mother. And rich women are not immune to this mistreatment if they fail to bear male children.
    For those with money, it's often about being able to locate a radiologist who, for a cost, will break the law and reveal the sex of the fetus, or being able to fly abroad for such tests.
    A 2007 study by the rights group ActionAid India found that gender ratios were worse in urban areas, and that sex-selective abortions were more common among wealthier and higher-caste people who could afford ways to learn the gender of fetuses.
    The law is not enough to combat "a society that values boys over girls," says Ravinder Kaur, a professor of sociology at New Delhi's Indian Institute of Technology.
    "Laws are good because they may act as a deterrent" she says, but sex-selective abortions continue underground because "people find more devious ways."

    Source: Despite rapid growth, India lets its girls die - Yahoo! News
    Ive heard of China doing this but India? Thats new to me. As was said in the comments, I cant understand why they do this. I understand the caste system somewhat and the religion. The whole dowry thing is a shame because of families going into debt over it, but surely letting the daughters die from neglect is not the answer. And not only that, what about the main problem? You can only let so many girls die before you have a problem. The men already outnumber the women as it is. How do they expect to keep the population going if they keep this up?

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    I Don't understand why they just don't give the children up for adoption? this is awful.

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    Elite Member Sarzy's Avatar
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    India can fuck right off with this bullshit of girls not being wanted and then neglected. Pardon my French but this subject really bothers me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarzy View Post
    India can fuck right off with this bullshit of girls not being wanted and then neglected. Pardon my French but this subject really bothers me.
    Me too,Sarzy. words can't express how this makes me feel.I give money to the save the children organization but There's a lot more that I wish I could do.

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    So sad, and I don't know what I could do to even help except pray and raise awareness.

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    So India can pass laws banning sonograms that show the sex of the fetus, but they can't reform this bullshit, outdated dowry system? And despite all the social pressure, I would hope a mother's love would win out, but I guess I am fucking naive. This is inhuman.
    Santa is an elitist mother fucker -- giving expensive shit to rich kids and nothing to poor kids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ManxMouse View Post
    So India can pass laws banning sonograms that show the sex of the fetus, but they can't reform this bullshit, outdated dowry system? And despite all the social pressure, I would hope a mother's love would win out, but I guess I am fucking naive. This is inhuman.

    This, and starving them? What torture. So incredibly sad, those poor babies.

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    So sad

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    We have Indian in-laws. The FIL and MIL gave birth to three daughters. One daughter is an engineer; the other two are physicians.

    Needless to say, the parents were very enlightened and doted on their daughters, and even though the parents seem to be doing just fine financially, any one of the daughters would (and could) take on the burden of caring for the parents.

    NONE of the daughters are married to Indian guys, though. The one who was, was treated as a second-class citizen, just the way this article implied. She divorced him for a non-Indian guy and is now very happy.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    the dowry system isn't law though, and on paper india is a secular state. in fact dowries have already been banned. but how do you enforce it in a country of one billion?
    it is so hard to change centuries upon centuries of cultural norms. it's been easier in the cities and among the educated elites and middle class but it's the rural and poor who keep the tradition alive.
    my sister's husband is from india, they're from the upper class in bombay. they are educated in private english schools, study university abroad, etc. he's got relatives married to foreigners, there are no arranged marriages or dowries in his family and they are really non-traditional. his female cousins all have careers, some making way more money than their partners. but that's the educated indians. they're in the minority.
    you've got to educate people first, and take them out of poverty, before you can expect centuries-old traditions to change.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Is your sister's husband Hindu, Sputnik? Or some other religion?

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    Elite Member yanna's Avatar
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    Female children are left to starve first in Africa as well. It is a lesser known discrimination.

    How stupid do you have to be to keep killing all females. Who will be left for your precious sons to marry?

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yanna View Post
    Female children are left to starve first in Africa as well. It is a lesser known discrimination.

    How stupid do you have to be to keep killing all females. Who will be left for your precious sons to marry?
    Related to that, I keep wondering if this ratio will reach the kind of crisis point where females are finally valued because they will have actually have their choice of suitors, and can make one of the criteria that the guy doesn't demand a stupid dowry.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    hindu. of sindhi origin. they used to live in what is now pakistan and after partition they moved to india. and on his father's side they are hindu from delhi.

    but not religious at all. they eat meat (my brother-in-law makes jokes about eating delicious sacred cow). my sister wore a sari for her wedding because she hates white wedding dresses and she made her husband wear a traditional hindu outfit but really he wanted to wear a tux.

    btw, this is not new. this has been going on forever in india. before ultrasounds and medical abortions, they did illegal abortions and 'exposing' or starving female newborns.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Okay. I was wondering because my Indian in laws are Catholic. I don't know if the dowry system goes across all religions there - Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Catholic, etc.

    My wife had an Indian coworker, who was a beautiful and brilliant engineer. She was putting her (Indian) husband through medical school, and her husband's parents were living with them because he was the oldest son. Even though the MIL and FIL had really menial jobs (working at some Wal-Mart type of store), they drove around in a Toyota Avalon (which she paid for, along with the house), while she drove around in an economy car.

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