Monitor ultrasound centres
Improve moral education and enforce legislation. Treat your sons and daughters equally. Determining sex and terminating the female foetus is a sin. Populations with more males remain at the risk of a social unrest. All religious organisations should come forward to educate the people on the issue. At weddings, the Pandit while reminding the bride and the groom of the rights and duties of a couple should also mention that terminating a female foetus is a sin. The government can ask TV channels like Sanskar and Astha to educate young couples. The MTP Act needs an amendment. MTP should not be conducted as a measure of family planning. Enforce the PNDT Act strongly and monitor clinics with ultrasound machines strictly.
PARAGO, Tanda (HP)
Female foeticide is a social problem and stopping it completely is a difficult task. A near total control is possible only by keeping medical centres under a strict vigil and by imposing heavy sentences on doctors aiding the practice.
Dr K. L. GARG, President, IMA, Kurukshetra.
Religious discourses to go a long way
If the Census 2001 were to be believed, then by doing simple calculations one can work out that at least 2 out of 10 Sikh boys would become forced bachelors because of female foeticide. The Sikhs are said to have the worst sex ratio. Even the ban imposed on pre-natal sex determination test couldn’t curb this menace. Besides the legal enactments, religious discourses on female foeticide and dowry at the religious gatherings will go a long way in improving the situation. Guru Nanak said: "So Kyon Manda Akhyia, Jis Jame Rajan" (How can we say that woman is feeble, for it’s she who gives birth to the wisest).
HARPREET SINGH, Chandigarh
Science can change things
Science has give woman a better control on her body. It’s now easy to get rid of unwanted pregnancy. New education should overshadow socially constructed gender biases that hinder effective implementation of laws against female foeticide.
HARSH CHOPRA, On e-mail
The following words should be written on the walls of schools and hospitals:
"Female foeticide is injurious to future bridegrooms."
Prof RAJAN KAPOOR, Nakodar
Religious bodies should act
Female foeticide has resulted in an alarming imbalance in sex ratio across the country. To curb this menace, the Supreme Court has directed the Centre and state governments to ban sex-determination tests and implement the provisions of the Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act. Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh have jointly coordinated actions against female foeticide by directing district civil surgeons to strictly monitor the activities of private clinics and take action against the guilty. Religious and social organisations should also raise their voice against this menace. Any doctor found indulging in such activities should be arrested and his licence be cancelled. Health authorities should also try to educate people to remove the negative attitude towards the girl child.
M. L. GARG, Chandigarh
Provide aid to educate girls
A girl child is seen as a burden in our society. The questions of marriage and dowry start playing on the minds of parents soon after her birth. A family having one or two girls does not like the idea of having another girl child. The menace of female foeticide can never be curbed if these harsh realities are not dealt with effectively. It can only be eliminated with the spread of education, particularly among the middle and lower strata of society. The government should provide financial assistance to the parents having more than two daughters so that they can educate and marry them off. With these measures taken, the evil of female foeticide can be reduced if not completely stopped.
RAJESH KUMAR, Amritsar
Make sincere efforts
Centuries-old social evils cannot be eradicated in one stroke. Such things require political, social and financial commitment right from the grass-root level. The government has by and large successfully overcome certain ills to come up with birth control, mass immunisation and conservation of wildlife/forests etc. I believe that gender discrimination, too, can be wiped out if the authorities concerned make sincere efforts. Sex-determination tests should be completely banned and violators should be charged with "attempt to murder". There is need to make students, social organisations and gram panchayats aware of this issue. The government should also ensure that better education is given to the girl child.
R. S. RANA, Una (HP)
Educate the masses
The main reason behind female foeticide is longing for the male child. However, in today’s world, women are no less than men in any segment of life, be it sport, education, space research, politics, business or any other field; their success rate is at par with their male counterparts. The steps taken by the government in the form of different incentive schemes have not proved fruitful. Therefore, the government should launch a mass awareness programme at the grass-roots level to highlight the role of female in today’s world. It can help change people’s attitude towards the female child. The presence of parents must be ensured at various seminars and workshops organised to educate the masses. The motive behind these should be to change the hearts and minds of the parents as well as to awaken their inner conscience. If we succeed in doing this, parents will not go for pre-natal foetal sex determination, and question of female foeticide will not arise.
Dr MAHABIR NARWAL, Kurukshetra
Need to change attitude
There is no single solution to the problem of female foeticide. Ours is a male-dominated society, which is still having its roots in feudal institutions and traditions. The very seed of female foeticide is in the mind of the common man. So there is an utmost need to change our attitude towards the girl child. It is an irony that even a woman does not spare another woman. She plays different roles as a mother and mother-in-law. Only universalisation of education can minimise this problem. All rights—political, social or economic—come to a naught if she remains illiterate. The government should provide special facilities to women for their all-round development. The people who resort to female foeticide or indulge in such practice should be severely punished under the law. They should be deprived of common civil facilities given by the government.
AJAIB SINGH, Budhlada
Think of the approaching doomsday
The increasing rate of female foeticide is really alarming, as it threatens to cause a serious imbalance among the human species. Human wisdom has limits. Man craves for the male child, but he hates to allow the soil that breeds these lovely flowers to inherit the Earth. Can we bear sons in thin air? The sweetest fruit has to grow on a tree and the tree has to be rooted in the soil. By denying life to the girl child, we are passing a death sentence on humanity itself, and each girl killed finally amounts to bringing D-Day closer to the doorsteps of humanity. Somebody has rightly said:
Let men say what they will, Woman rules them still.
There is no doubt that our world is male-dominated, but an entirely all-male world is a highly misconceived proposition. Tampering with God's will is nothing short of the original sin, which has the potential to cause untold misery to mankind.
Dr J. S. ANAND, Bathinda.
A woman should never give in
Despite being the most prosperous state, Punjab has achieved the dubious distinction of having the worst sex ratio. To tackle this problem, stress should be laid on educating and spreading the awareness amongst would-be mothers. It’s only the mother who dotes over her kids without making a distinction between a son and a daughter. Everyone else has selfish motives involved. Mothers-in-law, having passed through the same stages, paradoxically stresses on a male child because she was able to bear one. Most of the doctors conduct sex-determination tests to make a quick buck in the guise of helping the expecting mother. This act can only be stopped if the woman stops giving in to the pressure put by her family.
Dr G. S. BATTU, Patiala
Create economic equality
Female foeticide is the modern way of eliminating the girl child through various techniques. Though stringent punishment can reduce the menace to some extent, it cannot be uprooted completely. The root cause of this problem is the economic inequality between the boy and the girl.
A girl is considered a financial burden since her birth. On the other hand, the birth of a son is celebrated with great fun and fare. If we want to stop this menace, we should create such conditions where the girl can become a bread-earner of the family. If we fail to create equality on the economic front, we cannot stop this menace, which is flourishing clandestinely in modern life.
J. B. S. NANDA, Ludhiana
Enforce two-child norm
An infanticide survey reveals that 42 per cent girls and 25 per cent boys perish in the womb due to human actions. Some suggestions for the State and people: Strictly enforce two-child norm and give exemplary punishment to the guilty. Make education compulsory for girls up to Class XII.
Give women equal religious rights. Deal severely with those who commit atrocities on women. Deal harshly with those who are involved in trafficking of women. Do away with Devdasi-type old practices. Amend the law of inheritance. Institute different awards for women to recognise their efforts.
Wg Cdr T. L. BHARDWAJ (retd), On e-mail
Make law more stringent
The following measures should be taken to stop female foeticide: Advisory committees should be formed to take corrective measures to remove this sin from society. The PNDT Act should be made more stringent to restrain the people from committing such a ghastly crime. The government should organise awareness camps and workshops to make the public aware of the value of the female child. Licences of doctors who are directly or indirectly involved in this crime should be cancelled. Special reproductive health projects should be sincerely followed to save this valuable gift of God.
PREETI KIRAN, Panchkula