Saturday, April 23, 2011

“Gendercide” leaves Indian men without partners

A Bodo tribal woman with her baby in Jogeshpur village along the Indo-Bhutan border, about 120 kilometers (74 miles) west of Gauhati, India, Monday, April 11, 2011 (AFP Photo / Getty Images)

India is becoming an increasingly male-dominated society, as the latest census shows the number of girls born there is at an all time low. Families are desperate for sons as they are far more financially attractive.
­The result: rising numbers of gender-selected abortions and potential “gendercide”, which may eventually leave many Indian men without partners.
It takes a village to raise a child, the saying goes, but in the village of Karora, Haryana – about three hours from the Indian capital – not every child is given a chance. Here, there are twice as many boys as there are girls. According to the latest Indian census numbers, the trend of more boys is a national reality.
“Each family wants that there should be at least one son who can look after the family business, who can look after the family name and who can look after the parents when they’re old,” Dr. Rajiv Gupta, a physician at a hospital in Haryana, told RT.
In India, sex-selective abortion and finding out the sex of a baby before birth are illegal. But every day Gupta sees patients who are willing to do just about anything to construct a family with more boys, than girls.
“It’s something that every doctor who has an ultrasound machine runs into on a daily basis,” Dr. Gupta continued. “You have people who come to you begging to get the sex of their child known and there are people who have got this sex determination done and they want abortion of the unborn female child they’re ready to pay you anything.”
While the villagers in Karora cannot deny the reality around them, few will talk about what is happening to all the baby girls. They do, however, admit that having boys is more attractive to them financially, especially when it comes to the Indian practice of a bride’s family paying a dowry to the groom’s family before their wedding.
“There are a lot of poor people in the villages who are mostly daily wage earners. They fear dowry, it’s like a big obstacle in their life,” one local woman explains.
If the so-called gendercide continues at the rate it is happening now, by 2021 India will have 20 per cent more men than women. One major concern for people here is who these young boys will marry when they grow up if nothing changes.
“This is a worry for everyone. Even we have two sons. The dwindling number of girls does worry us, whether we will find wives for our sons or not,” the woman continued.
In some places like Haryana the gender ratios are so skewed that some villagers are traveling to other states to buy brides for their sons.
“They marry girls of poor families from other states. So they help the girl’s family too with some money,” another villager explains. “Interstate marriages also take place and the boy’s family gives money to the girl’s family.”
There have been several stories of imported brides who end up harassed and ostracized for their cultural differences.
“There are fights between clans to get one female and there are instances where two brothers or three brothers have to get one wife,” Dr. Gupta says.
To many, it is a cultural mentality that will be difficult to change. Everybody thinks of a girl as a burden and wishes that a daughter is not born in their family, leaving the future for females in the country unknown.

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