Study shows girls increasingly aborted in India
More and more Indian families with one girl are aborting
subsequent pregnancies when prenatal tests show another female is on the way, according to a new study.
The decline in the number of girls is more pronounced in richer and better educated households, according to research published May 26, 2011 in
the medical journal Lancet. The study said that between 4 million and 12 million girls are thought have been aborted from 1980 to 2010.
Raw data from India's census released in March showed 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 ratio was 906 girls under 6 to every 1,000 boys in 1990 and had
declined further by 2005, when it was 836 to every 1,000. The study was led by Prof. Prabhat Jha of the Centre for Global Health
Research, Dalla Lana School of the University of Toronto and other researchers, including the former Registrar General of India, Jayant K.Banthia..
Guard against misuse of gender
Describing female foeticide as a “disgrace” to society
Mrs.Pratibha Patil India's first women President
has called upon the medical fraternity to ensure that diagnostic tests are not misused for pre-natal gender determination.
“We have laws and legal provisions that specially prohibit medical practitioners from disclosing the gender of the foetus. It is not only
illegal, but it is socially immoral and detrimental to society. It is very important that all medical facilities, doctors and radiologists
adhere to this so as to prevent female foeticide,” Ms. Patil said inaugurating the 64th National Conference of the Indian Radiologist and
Imaging Association here on January 28, 2011.
“A skewed population composition, due to a bias against the girl child,
can have many adverse social consequences. We have a social responsibility to bring about an end to prejudices and discrimination
against the girl child. We must encourage all such steps that will contribute to the welfare of the girl child — proper nutrition,
education, opportunity to work and to be financially independent. A girl
child is an asset to the nation.”
Educate and empower less fortunate women.
Mrs.Meira Kumar first women Lok Sabha Speaker said,
Women have great power hidden within them. Even the Mahatma believed in this and decided to involve them in the freedom struggle…But today we
live in a country where rampant female foeticide and female infanticide take place. The condition of women in our country needs attention,” Ms.
Kumar said in her address on January 5, 2011 during Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey (SNDT) Women's
University annual convocation ceremony. She appealed to a representative group of the 21,803 women students who
were awarded diplomas and degrees here, to educate and empower less fortunate women.
An actress to promote a campaign
Raveena Tandon actress who has been associated with numerous NGOs and social activities was in the Pink City recently to promote a campaign aimed at saving the girl child.
“In India a woman is worshiped as Devi Durga and Laxmi. Ironically, even after so many years of independence and becoming one of the
fastest growing countries of the world, a girl in India is still considered as a burden and is brutally murdered. In fact, it is the women folk who do it more. So, as a woman I feel do we really have the right to be called Devi
Maa?” asked an emotional Raveena, as she addressed a congregation of women and the media.
A mother herself, Raveena even said, “Being a mother of a girl, I feel it is the greatest gift of God. In fact, it is one true feeling
that makes me feel that I am a complete woman.” Adding further the actor shared how her daughter Rasha
invigorates her to carry this cause forward. She says, “Rasha is a true inspiration for me and
she inspired me to visit rural areas to make this campaign a success.”
Expressing serious concern over the "heinous" practice of female
feoticide, Ex-President Pratibha Patil exhorted the Indian society to change its attitude towards girl child.
Meira Kumar, the first woman Lok Sabha Speaker
Raveena Tandon who has been associated with numerous NGOs and social activities was in Jaipur recently to promote a campaign aimed at saving the girl child.
The sex ratio in India
According to the Census of India 2011, Child sex ratio drops to lowest since Independence.
Indicating a continuing preference for boys in society, the child sex ratio in India has dropped to 914 females against 1,000 males
- the lowest since Independence - in the provisional 2011 Census report released on March 31, 2011.
Sex ratio and child sex ratio (0-6 years) - Census 2011: India
Despite a slew of laws to prevent female foeticide and schemes to encourage families to have girl child, the ratio has declined from 927
females against 1,000 males in 2001 to 914, which was described as a "matter of grave concern" by Census Commissioner of India C
Chandramauli. Though an increasing trend in the child sex ratio (0-6 years) has been
seen in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in all remaining 27 states and Union
Territories, the child sex ratio shows decline over Census 2001. The highest child sex ratio has been reported in Mizoram (971 females
against 1000 males) and Meghalaya (970). Notably, Punjab and Haryana, which have traditionally seen low sex
ratio, have recorded an increasing trend but still remained at the bottom of the list.
Haryana has 830 female children and Punjab 846 against per 1000 male child. Haryana's Jhajjar (774 females) and Mahendragarh (778 females) districts
have the lowest sex ratio while Lahul and Spiti district of Himachal
Pradesh has the highest sex ratio (1,013 females).
Uttar Pradesh (29.7 million), Bihar (18.6 million), Maharashtra (12.8 million), Madhya Pradesh (10.5 million) and Rajasthan (10.5 million)
constitute 52 per cent children in the age group of 0-6 years. Population (0-6 years)
2001-2011 registered minus 3.08 per cent growth with minus 2.42 for males and minus 3.80 for females.
Kerala ( 1084) has the highest sex ratio followed by Puducherry with 1038. Daman and Diu has the lowest sex ratio of 618.
Religious leaders on female foeticide
On April 20, 2011 a widely respected and one of the oldest Islamic seminaries in Lucknow
has said that female foeticide was nothing less than a murder and was not permitted in Islam.In a "fatwa" , the Lucknow-based "Darul Uloom
Firangimahal" has said that it is "un-islamic" to abort the foetus after
determining its sex. "Islam does not permit abortion," said Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangimahali, chief of the institution and a senior member of the All
India Muslim Personal Law Board, an apex organisation of the Muslim community in the country.
The "fatwa" was issued on Tuesday in response to a query by one Dr Huma Khwaja, who wanted to know what the shariat (Islamic law) stand is on
termination of pregnancy after determining the sex of the foetus. "Just as a murder is a sin, to cut off a part of the body (foetus) is
also a sin in the eyes of Islam," Maulana Firangimahali said in the fatwa. He said that it was the duty of the human beings to consider the girls
(female feotuses) as gifts of the god. "Society will progress only if
the girls survive," the well-known sunni cleric said in his fatwa. The Maulana has also called for stern punishment to those indulging in
female foeticide. The ?fatwa? assumes significance in view of the recent census report, which pointed out that 63 districts in Uttar Pradesh had
disproportionate male-female ratio. The census also reported that the number of girls in 0-6 age group in the state had dropped by 10 lakh
even though the population of the state went up by three crores.(DHNS)
In a show of unity, several religious leaders assembled at New Delhi on June 24, 2006 and
pledged to launch a nationwide movement for the abolition of female foeticide. Condemning the increasing ``inhuman and shameful'' practice of female
foeticide, they said: ``At this national convention of religious leaders, we all take oath that we would use all resources at our command to
propagate to the masses to shun the atrocious act of female foeticide in our country.''
The National Convention of Religious Leaders on Abolition of Female Foeticide and Infanticide was organised by the Indian Medical Association,
the UNICEF and the National Commission for Women in the context of the alarming decline of female population, as indicated in the latest Census.
Lohri in honour of the girl child
On January 13, 2011 nearly 2,100 girls below one year of age attended a function,
"Lohri beti ke naam", organised by the National Integrated Forum of Artistes and Activists (NIFAA) in honour of the girl child to create awareness
against female foeticide. Film directors Mahesh Bhatt and Satish Kaushik joined the function in
Prominent religious leaders
Prominent religious leaders at the convention
said female foeticide was responsible for the lowest existing sex ratio of 933 females per 1,000 males.
Among the various reasons attributed to female foeticide was the dowry system. ``There should be social
awakening against dowry system.''
Hindu religious leaders have decided to launch a
crusade against female foeticide in Mathura. Eminent politicians of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar, social workers and poets
are expected to attend the inaugural function scheduled for tomorrow at the
Vatsalya Gram Vrindavan here, Sadhvi Ritambhara, the chief architect of the crusade, told reporters on Monday morning.
"Female foeticide is a crime and it has nothing to do with the Hindu religion. The crusade against it would start on December 16,
2008 with the congregation of saints, Shankaracharyas and social workers. Eminent politicians have also been
invited for the occasion," Ritambhara said. She claimed consents of eminent sadhus have been taken for the programmes which
will be conducted as part of the crusade. "Since female foeticide adversely affects the psyche of the woman on whom the
abortion is conducted, the sooner the evil is buried, the better it would be," she added.
Prominent religious leaders at the convention included the Shankaracharya of Kanchi, Sri Jayendra Saraswati;
Imam Maulana Abdul Aziz Jafar from New Delhi; the Jain leader, Upadhyay Guptisagarji; the Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri Masjid, Maulana Mufti
Mukarram; Ramakrishna Mission's Swami Jitatmananda, the Arya Samaj leader, Swami
Agnivesh; the head priest of Delhi Parsi Anjuman, Ervad Cawas Daraius Bagli; the vice- president of Bahai faith, Dr. A. K. Merchant, and Sadhvi
Sex Ratio and Girl Child
The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing the scheme of “Dhanalakshmi” as a pilot programme to provide a set of staggered
financial incentives for families to encourage them to retain the girl child. The Government has also declared 24th of January every year as a
“National Child Day” to bring to centre-stage the problems faced by the girl child and create national awareness. The Government has also taken
several measures to improve the sex ratio at birth in the country. During the 1991 Census, sex ratio in the country was 927 females per one
thousand males, which increased to 933 females per 1000 males during the 2001 census. The Government has enacted the Pre-conception and Pre-natal.
Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selections) Act, 1994 under which stringent punishments have been prescribed for using pre-conception
and pre-natal diagnostic techniques to illegally determine sex of the foetus.
The Supreme Court issued notices
The Supreme Court of India has issued notices to the Indian government and the
states and union territories on a petition seeking stricter implementation of laws that ban pre-natal
sex- selection tests and sex-selective abortions in India. A concerned Supreme Court observed that the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection)
Act 1994 (PCPNDT) that is meant to prevent female foeticide in India, has failed.
The petition brought to the court's
attention the rampant practice of sex-selective abortions in many parts of the country, with doctors indiscriminately conducting
sex-determination tests and carrying out abortions because of lax implementation of the PCPNDT Act.
The discovery of a large number of female foetuses in a well at the house of a doctor in Punjab was a pointer to the
impunity with which provisions of the PCPNDT Act are being violated.
This imbalance would have serious repercussions for Indian society in future, especially on the status of women, the
petitioner said, leading to increased sexual violence, trafficking and the reduced mobility of women.
Rajasthan steps up raids on clinics
Alarmed over the state's skewed sex ratio, the Rajasthan government has planned more steps to curb pre-natal sex determination
tests at ultrasound clinics here. The steps include increasing the number of health department inspection
teams and equipping them with devices like hidden cameras and voice recorders to keep an eye on these clinics, an official said
on May 28, 2011.
These devices will help the health department teams which have exclusive
responsibilities to raid clinics offering ultrasound scanning services and look for evidence of pre-natal sex determination tests, the officer added.
Dr Harshinder Kaur on female foeticide
Dr Harshinder Kaur, who is consultant pediatrician at Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, a crusader for
women rights and who has made a mark in the field of female foeticide . Dr Kaur’s paper presented in Geneva elucidated the status of women in India and
especially Punjab. Sharing the Government of India and Punjab official data and UNICEF and WHO data, Dr Kaur highlighted the abysmal state of women in India. She declared female foeticide and
infanticide as the prime targets for official intervention. She exhorted the United Nations to donate liberally and help the poor and needy girls
of Punjab on their education and for their health and to ensure that the monetary help reaches the grass root level.
Why should women be considered lesser citizens- an wonderful book
Women become modern-day slaves in brothels. Or they are killed before
they are born as in India and China. Or they are left to die from diseases related to childbirth like fistula in poor countries, where
gender combines with poverty to become a deadly cocktail of suffering.
As wives, their dignity is mostly at the mercy of the men, especially when they are poor and dependent.
Pulitzer-winning journalists Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl Wudunn have
co-written a magnificent book of stories of both the sufferings and heroism of women in different parts of the world. The idea that binds
the book is the question of why women should be considered lesser citizens to the extent of being reduced to slavery and worse.
The fact that a girl is killed in the womb or as a child almost every minute in India or Pakistan does not make news in those countries, the authors note.
These harrowing stories might lead you to suppose that this book is a feminine version of the Book of Job. But the authors also write about
how education and a bit of financial help through micro-credit can transform the lives of women.
Obviously, the purpose of the book is not just to present disparate stories but to evangelise the cause of the "second sex", as Kristoff
does in his New York Times column. It is part of a huge campaign by the authors to keep these issues alive in public consciousness and end the
suffering of women caught in prostitution or disease. Their talent as writers alone would go a long way in spreading the word.
Satyamev Jayate an eye-opener about female feticide
The maiden episode Satyamev Jayate is regarded as an eye-opener as it highlighted how
unethical medical practitioners are hand in glove with families wanting to kill the female unborn baby and how educated people are also involved
in it. "The show is extremely hard hitting. It`s strange that the most well educated people carry out the worst of crimes like female feticide and
domestic violence. First, people pay to get the girl child aborted, and
then they pay to buy girls in order to fulfil their sexual needs and to
give birth to their sons. Where is the common sense in all this," asked Ravinder Kaur, a professor.
Kaur was referring to the fact that as many as 15,000 women from Bihar,
Orissa and Andhra Pradesh have been brought and sold to families in Rajasthan because of a dearth of girls in the region.
According to the 2011 Census, the rate at which the unborn female child totals 10,00,000 a year. The report also highlighted that there were 914
girls for every 1,000 boys. "What Aamir Khan is doing is fantastic. He has shown all aspects of the
issue - the minuses and what could be done to prevent it. He has not left it hanging in the middle. He has shown the total picture. He has
done it in a way that it will touch the hearts of people," said Ranjita, a Delhi-based counselor.
The series started with the case of Amisha Yagnik from Ahmedabad who
said she was forced to abort her unborn female child six times in eight years, while Parveen Khan, from Morena in Madhya Pradesh was brutally
beaten by her husband for having given birth to a girl child. Delhi-based doctor Mitu Khurana was asked by her orthopedic surgeon
husband and in-laws to abort her girl twins 20 weeks of conceiving.
Satyamev Jayate song - O Ri Chiraiya is dedicated to all those girls who did not get a chance
to live in this world. This is the song from very first episode of Satyamev Jayate. In this episode Aamir Khan deals with a critical issue
of female foeticide in India.
Vedio Music O Ri Chiraiya
Plan International to highlight plight of girl child in India
On October 31, 2011 when the world population is projected to surpass seven billion, Plan International will celebrate the birth of a girl child
near Lucknow, the capital of India's most populous State of Uttar Pradesh, the organisation said.
The newborn will be issued a birth certificate by State authorities, at a function. The organisation has made birth registration an integral part of its girls' rights campaigns, it added.
The births of several girl children are being terminated in India every
year, even though sex-selective abortions and use of ultrasound technology for sex-determination are illegal, a note from the
organisation said. India's 2011 Census says that the ratio of girls to boys has dropped to an all time low.
The national figure has fallen to 914 girls for every 1,000 boys between
0 and 6 years. In some States like Punjab, it is as low as 846 girls to
1,000 boys, Plan International said.
Let girls be born. Female foeticide is a crime
*HALF THE SKY How to change the world * Nicholas D Kristoff and Sheryl Wudunn -Hachette India
Equipped with well-researched instances and case studies on female
feticide, Aamir`s one-and-a-half hour Satyamev Jayate was simultaneously
telecast on Star Plus and DD on Sunday caught the audiences` attention.