Earlier in Forum







Q: How to stop female foeticide ?
(This is the first instalment of readers’ response)

Make social environment less hostile for women

Though female foeticide is a national shame, the social fabric and government policies are increasingly tilted against women. In the given cultural contest, there will be a rare couple opting for a female child. The day grooms become available without a hefty price tag, female foeticide will end. The need is to turn the mindset of the people against the gender bias and end the imbalance in socio-economic situations, so that women get to live with dignity and honour. A girl child is unsafe in the womb and even outside. Rapes and sexual harassment at workplaces are reaching demonic proportions. Indeed, social environment is becoming increasingly hostile for women. There is official and public apathy towards such horrendous acts. Recently, only four MLAs attended a workshop on ‘sex selection and elimination of females’ held for all Punjab legislators. Look at the fate of the Women’s Reservation Bill and the Punjab Government’s decision to abolish free education for girls up to graduation. Victim’s sexual history and not the rapist’s act becomes the central point in the trial. Only 10 per cent of the Judges would want their daughters to seek legal redress for domestic violence. Seventeen laws on female foeticide have failed to resolve. The resolve of the Medical Council of India to disallow doctors guilty of female foeticide to practice needs to be iterated. We the members of All Daughters Club feel blessed and privileged to enjoy the genuine care, concern, affection and sincerity of daughters and would prefer to father a girl child again.

— DR AMRIT SETHI, Bathinda

Legalise sex determination

Female foeticide is not only a medical problem, but also has widespread social ramifications. Legalising sex determination in a socially acceptable manner may prevent female feoticide. Parents who have the first female child and want to choose the gender of their second child may be allowed to have sex determination through an open legalised system. Besides, stopping female feoticide, this may have some impact on population control as well. It can even help improve the financial status of a family by curbing unwanted births. A similar success in preventing illegal and criminal abortions through the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act has been achieved in the past 20 years. With social and state aspirations at crossroads, this step can help solve the problem till the social norms change gradually to the very need of society.

— Dr G. P. THAMI, Chandigarh

Illiteracy is the culprit

Women are gaining equality in today’s world. As a result, the incidence of female foeticide has surely decreased, but it is still prevalent. Illiteracy and ignorance among the people, especially among the lower strata of society, demand for dowry, etc. are the main causes. The number of female foeticide cases has decreased in those areas where the education level is high. Therefore, education plays a key role in reducing female foeticide. The birth of a girl child is also associated with dowry, which is considered a liability for her parents, so they prefer killing her rather than giving her an opportunity to live. Therefore, ban on dowry may also help in stopping female foeticide.

— DIYA SODHI, Panchkula

Need to spread awareness

The government should make sincere efforts to stop this cruel act. Sex determination tests like sonography and amniocentesis should be banned. Import of machines that determine the prenatal sex of the baby should be stopped and strict instructions should be given to all hospital authorities not to carry out these tests. Only Maharashtra has taken stern action by putting complete ban on it, whereas this practice still continues in other states. The best way to put an end to this evil practice is to spread awareness among people, especially in rural areas. They should be made to realise that this could lead to an imbalance in society. Already the male-female ratio in our country is 100:93, whereas, in other parts of the world, it is 100:105. Right from the school level, emphasis must be laid on gender equality. People should be taught to respect a woman and welcome a female child as a blessing and not as a curse.


Introduce one-child norm

Being a woman, I strongly condemn female foeticide. While people worship Goddesses, they mourn the birth of a girl child. The mentality of people can be changed if the government starts one-child policy in the country. This is the only way to prevent them from indulging in such a ghastly act.

— ANU SOOD, Ludhiana

Doctors should come forward

The government should take firm steps to get rid of this menace. Besides, spending huge money on advertisements to educate masses, it should also take stern action against those who are indulging in it. There is need to evolve a psychological approach, as fear of punishment has not achieved desired results. Doctors practising in urban/rural areas, who develop a special bond with patients over a period, can play a constructive role in spreading awareness. They should educate people that the birth of a girl child is not a curse.

— Dr VINOD GULIANI, Baijnath, Kangra

Amend the law

The latest Census report shows an alarming decline in sex ratio. The recent figures predict a dismal future. If the female-male ratio continues to decrease, it would give birth to abusing of women, both sexually and physically. The male is considered to be the legal heir of ancestral property, that’s why people indulge in female foeticide. Therefore, the government should amend the law of inheritance and give women equal right to inherited property, irrespective of caste and religion. Women should also have equal rights and status in government jobs, promotion, etc. Authorities concerned should deal out harsher punishment to those who are found guilty of sexual harassment. Political parties should evolve a consensus on the Women’s Reservation Bill to give due representation to women in the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and state Assemblies. The government should also provide girls with free education up to matric. If they become literate, the future of the country would be more bright and prosperous.

— SIMMI MOHINDRU, Jalandhar City

Bring change in mindset

There is an urgent need to bring a change in the old-fashioned mindset of our male-dominated society towards the girl child. It can be achieved by educating people, initiating awareness programmes, forming anti-foetus-killing groups and highlighting the dangers of a lopsided sex ratio. Doctors must be held accountable, as the onus lies on them to ensure that pre-natal diagnostic techniques are not misused. In case the above measures do not work, sex determination tests should be banned, since this medical breakthrough is being misused to take away the right to life itself.

— ANUSHA SINGH, Ambala Cantt

Girl child a boon to society

The increasing number of female foeticide in our country is a clear sign that we are still living in an orthodox era, adopting a narrow approach towards the various prospects of life. The sure way to stop this brutal and cunning act is to educate people and make them aware of the importance of the girl child in today’s world. They should have some humane feelings towards them. It’s high time we realise that the girl child is not a bane but a boon to society.

Girija Suri, On e-mail

Punish the guilty

Exemplary punishment should be given to doctors and parents who indulge in this heinous crime. They should realise that women are more sincere, compassionate and caring than men. Efforts must be made to restore their honour. The menace of dowry and other social customs disgracing women should be firmly dealt with. More crusaders should come forward to bring about change in the attitude of society. Everyone has the right to live.

— V. K.TANGRI, On e-mail

Adopt ancient Indian way of living

The problem of female foeticide cannot be solved merely by framing stringent laws. In fact, the problem should not be seen in isolation. It should be seen with human greediness in destroying natural resources, killing birds and animals, disturbing the very balance of nature. Female foeticide should be treated as the result of human lust for money and wealth. The only way to stop such practice is to adopt the ancient Indian way of living, including ancient education system. We should stop westernisation of society by putting curbs on total consumerism, TV commercials and serials that depict woman as a consumable item. Let us don’t forget that what we call progress is an exchange of one nuisance for another. The middle class, where this practice is more prevalent, should realise that the nature, if disturbed, hits back hard and allows no time to repent.


Free your mind from prejudice

The people need to acknowledge that the girl is no longer a burden but a bread-winner of the family. She is the owner of ornaments like compassion, gratitude, forgiveness, etc. She is the one who cares for two families. If given a chance, she can prove her mettle in any circumstances. One should remember that she is the one who gives birth to the so-called "vansh ko aage badhane wala". Female foeticide cannot be stopped until our mind is freed from prejudice.

— BINDIA SARAF, On e-mail

Religious bodies should act

I think the problem lies in the people’s minds, which are more or less under the influence of various religious leaders. If all the babas, guru maas, including religious bodies, declare that female feoticide is a sin, and those who commit this sin would not be allowed to enter the abode of God, then the people may desist themselves from indulging in such a heinous crime.


Introduce stringent laws

All of us are sons and daughters of Bharat Mata. We are all proud of being Indians. On the other hand, many of our daughters are being killed before they can open their eyes in this world. By committing such sin, we are hurting the soul of our Bharat Mata. We forget that we are living in the 21st century, where there should be no difference between a boy and a girl. Only stringent laws and awareness among the masses can help stop this ugly practice.

— ROHIT SHARMA, On e-mail

Next Monday: More letters on this issue


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