Saturday, August 5, 2000
M A I L  B O X

...for the cause of daughters

THIS refers to the write-up ...for the cause of daughters (July 22) by Priyanka Singh.

Times have changed and so has the human psyche. The purdah is no longer a barrier between the world and a middle-class Indian woman. Love marriages are no longer a taboo. Joint families have given way to nuclear families. But despite all these changes, lingering in the background is the craving for a son in the middle-class set-up. The urban middle-class families have not been able to extinguish the flame of desire for a son but education and modernisation has made them considerate enough not to let their daughters get affected by it. They shower on their daughters love, care and concern. But a desire so strong ultimately gets reflected in the upbringing of the girl child.

Unlike a sonís birth, a girlís birth does not evoke feelings of happiness and gaiety. "I suffered from haemorrhage on hearing about the birth of my second daughter" says a mother. Such severe reactions are not uncommon.

Why this setback on the birth of a girl child? Why is the daughter not an answer to her parentsí aspirations? The social respect for the girl child will increase if womenís economic contribution to the home and her time invested towards the welfare of the family were more widely known and appreciated.

What is needed, above all, is a change in attitudes. To expect the present generation to change their value-system would be like asking a cat to bark. A heartfelt welcome to the girl child whether second or third born can be possible if the present-day daughters convince their sons that just as they have duties towards their parents so have to their wives. They should see to it that their own daughters are economically independent, bold and strong enough to secure a position in the male-dominated society.



Beauty of Kashmir

Pran Nevileís article "What a heaven she must make of Cashmere" (July 22) made interesting reading.

Marco Polo, the famed traveller, in his memoirs has written "The inhabitants (of Kashmir) are brown skinned and thin, the women are very beautiful, with such beauty as goes with a brown skin".

Jawaharlal Nehru had likened Kashmir to a very beautiful woman, "Like some supremely beautiful woman, whose beauty is almost impersonal and above human desire, such was Kashmir in all its feminine beauty of river and valley and lake and graceful trees." He had further gone on to say, "And then another aspect of this magic beauty would come to view, a masculine one, of hard mountains and precipices and snow-capped peaks and glaciers and cruel and fierce torrents rushing down to the valley below."