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