When one talks of female foeticide, the first question that comes to mind is why people choose to kill their little ones before birth. Is it because of their preference for a male child or is it that the life of a girl is not safe and secure at any age? There are many more problems that a female faces: finding a suitable groom for marriage, dowry deaths and gender discrimination among others.
What can be more dreadful than the thought that a mother is poisoned for delivering a baby girl — an incident that took place recently in district Hoshiarpur of Punjab. No wonder, therefore, India ranks 113th among 130 countries as far as gender equality is concerned.
It does not require a trained statistician or researcher to predict the alarming implications of this trend. This cynical attitude has already sown the seeds of our destruction. As Khalil Gibran wrote: “You delight in laying down laws; yet you delight more in breaking them.”
One cannot ensure effective implementation of the laws until an action plan like the experiment of Nawashahar, wherein pregnant women were monitored to restrain them from female foeticide, is undertaken. This kind of policing is, however, neither practical nor ethical.
Female foeticide is too complex a crisis to be tackled by law alone. An integrated approach must be adopted. All forms of media, the administration, the legal entities, medical professionals, social reform groups and religious organisations should be involved to ensure the participation of the public.
The district Rohtak in Haryana with a gender ratio of 1,100 girls as compared to 835 in the state has set an example. Its comprehensive action-oriented campaign has been successful in changing the mindset of the people of the region. Encouraging schemes by government agencies like the pregnant mother safety program, providing incentives and help to mothers and health depart ment’s vigilant program has helped the cause.
The help of the media was also sought in highlighting the achievements and success stories of the girls of Rohtak in almost all the fields. The “Save Daughters” rally by Aryasamajis in the region also played a significant role in changing the mentality of people.
A powerful communication and awareness programme is required to shake the conscience of the masses and sensitise them towards the consequences of the sin they are committing. The role of women needs to be highlighted as an integral and productive segment of the society, and not merely as a reproductive agency. When there won’t be any reason to worry about the female child, her life, her safety and security, a happy and healthy life for her would no longer be a dream.