4 Main Reasons Why Indians Prefer a Son

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First Light.”

and

To Prime Minister Modi’s “Beti Padao Beti Bachao” scheme.

As a mother of two girls, all through the years, I have had people telling me, about the importance of having a son. So last week I decided to chat up with people I know- both young and old- to understand what the actual thought is. And I must say I was appalled at what came out of it.

When I was expecting my elder one, the “renowned” elderly women of my colony would often judge the shape of my pregnancy bump “Mubarak ho, lag raha he pehla bachcha ladka hi hoga”, (Congratulations, looks like your first born is going to be a boy). I used to brush this kind of statement with a smile. Hubby and me never really bothered about gender and were more concerned about sailing through pregnancy and delivery smoothly. Of course I proved their prediction wrong and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Their first reaction post delivery was, “Yeah kaise ho gaya? Tumne Krishnaji ki puja ki hoti tho aaj Bal Krishna tere godh mein khel rahe hote.”(How did this happen? If you had worshipped lord Krishna, today he would be in your arms).

When I was expecting my second one, my household seemed tensed (except for hubby and me). My parents-in-law wanted their dear son to have a son. It was of importance to them. Hubby and I of course seldom bothered. When the second girl was born, no one said anything. The celebration was kept minimal and the air of disappointment could be felt.

This is probably the story in many more households. People don’t really neglect the girl child once born, but a male child is often preferred. And these kinds of individuals are present in every strata of society-doesn’t matter whether they are educated or not, doesn’t matter if they are in their 30s or in their 60s. The thought still prevails.

So here are the reasons people resonated.

  1. Economic factor: The traditional social set up focuses on the son being the main bread winner of the family. He is expected to earn and take care of his parents in their old age. When I mentioned the fact that girls are financially independent today and earning their own living to a 60 something Mrs. Tiwari in my colony, here is what she had to say, “Beti kama bhi leti he, tho usse thodi paise lenge. Damaat kya sochega?” (Even if the girl works, how could we take money from her? What would the son-in-law think?)
  2. Higher financial liability on the daughter: Here is another ridiculous reason I heard. It is more expensive to bring up a girl child. Not only do you have to educate her, you also have to save up for her marriage and may be for other occasions in her future life.
  3. More responsibility and more cautiousness with a girl child: Ok so this reason beats it all. Girls are an additional responsibility. With the number of rape and eve teasing around, there is an additional responsibility of protection of the girl child. One always has to be on tenterhooks when she goes out.
  4. Reasons resonated by the elderly. Continuing the family name and the task of doing karma has always been on the shoulders of the son. This is still something people are concerned about, despite girls now coming forward to do the last rites of their parents. At least I was happy that the young educated individuals I spoke to didn’t advocate this much.

I have learnt one thing after this exercise- Schemes will be launched in plenty by the Prime Minister. Schemes would come and go. But what really needs to happen is a change from within each one of us. At the grass root level we need to evolve new thought processes and advocate these to our next generation. It is only then would issues such as gender biases cease to exist.

I shall leave you with a video that speaks volumes about the existing thought process. Brilliantly made by “Grey India”

Linking with : http://www.writetribe.com/write-tribe-pro-blogger-challenge/

  1. This topic is too stifling for me. I would like to share about an elderly woman in my relation whose eldest daughter died of dengue. 4 years later her son’s wife gave birth to a boy and the elderly woman was of the opinion that her deceased daughter had done a lot of good deeds and so she had come back in the form of her grandson. Didn’t she demean her daughter’s soul this way?

  2. A great post. Let me point out one thing. A perception stands among Indians that it’s out of love to a male child that parents prefer one. In my knowledge it’s not, but for selfish reasons. If you observe how a male child is brought up in a house you’ll know this. He is made a total dependent on his mother and his sisters since childhood, to the extent that his world is woven around those females. This is deliberate that in future he would define his wife in terms of the females he knows. This is the case of a lot of mismatch between him and his spouse in future. In many cases, a wife’s survival depends on how willing she is to mold herself into the female images in her husband’s head, in which case she has no life,if she resist it again she has no life. At the same time, parents always love the girl child and goes out of the way to support them. So male preference is only for parents’ economical survival, nothing more nothing less. My sympathy actually goes for the male child.

  3. Well as a mother of two girls I’ve had the same experience of how people greeted my daughters’ arrivals with a visibly disappointed “o”. And once again the commiserations were from strangers and not family. I of course countered with the fact that I will not have to share my home with a strange woman once my girls got married…..and that really shut them up!

  4. That video. The one line said by Modi gave me goosebumps! I agree with all the points above. Even the other day I heard a relative say, “Mani has 3 sons. 2 of them ill treated him. Only the 3rd one treated him well. That is why he has a son and the other two have only daughters.” I had my blood boiling. But no matter what we say, old people can never be changed. We’ll end up being the rebels of the family. It is sad.

  5. It’s sad that people still think this way. I have a sister, we are just two daughters. Though our family sufferred a lot of financial troubles, me and my sister managed to finish our studies and got placed with jobs. We were able to come out of the financial strain because of that. We didn’t buy our husbands either. Girl or Boy, it doesn’t matter, as long as we have got what it takes to go ahead and live.
    As for the point that girls need to be more careful, I think it is applicable to boys too in this world filled with demons. In India, we are not aware of the sexual abuses against boys, but they do happen. Boys and girls are all the same.
    Liked your thoughts in this, Ramya.

    1. Glad to hear about you Vinitha. I just wanted to bring out how a large percentage of our society still does gender biases. And I am glad there are people like you who think otherwise. Cheers to that!!!

      1. What you said in the post was absolutely right, Ramya. Gender bias is still there. I was pointing out that it should not be there because boys and girls are same. When we were in US I had seen many couples having trouble because they were having baby girl, this was during the pregnancy. That too some of them were having a baby after lot of miscarriages. Just like you said it all comes from their family. It doesn’t matter that they are working and living in a country like US. The mentality was dragged down to 18th century India. I could only pity them.

  6. Reblogged this on sakthikumar50 and commented:
    Yeah…You are right. The 4 reasons you have furnished are also correct. But my case is different. My father had 4 sons and no daughters. My younger brother has 2 sons, yet to get married. I have got 2 sons and 4 Gran sons only and no daughters or Grand daughters. We only knew how earnestly we had been expects for a Daughter or Grand daughter. Definitely a Daughter would shower more care and affection than a Daughter in law. Yet we are rare exceptions in India.

  7. Yeah…You are right. The 4 reasons you have furnished are also correct. But my case is different. My father had 4 sons and no daughters. My younger brother has 2 sons, yet to get married. I have got 2 sons and 4 Gran sons only and no daughters or Grand daughters. We only knew how earnestly we had been expects for a Daughter or Grand daughter. Definitely a Daughter would shower more care and affection than a Daughter in law. Yet we are rare exceptions in India.

  8. I totally agree with this! Even though time is changing, the educated parents are attempting to get around this issue. However, with the grandparents with the time they grew up in, have a different mindset and cause trouble. It’s terrible to hear about the different stories. For example, my grandfather’s youngest brother has a son who has 3 girls. You could imagine the things they would say. People make ridiculous accusations like the grandfather of the 3 girls is losing weight because hes stressed about it. They also take the news like a death in the family, particularly if it’s the second or third girl. The celebration of the life is varies as well, for example the “lohri.”

    Kudos for you for writing this!

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