As the title says, have become a Nani (Hindi for maternal grandma) the second time. My niece brought a beautiful baby Girl into this world a couple of days back. She already has an adorable little girl, aged four (the first one to call me Nani), but that didn’t lessen the excitement of the arrival of this new member of our family.
Babies, no matter how many I see, always arouse a sense of wonder in me. Looking at their tiny hands, feet, sweet little nose, ears, lips, makes me believe that miracles do happen, for each baby that is born is God’s miracle. You only have to ask people who are unable to have children, how they pray for this miracle to happen to them.
So naturally, everyone in the family is rejoicing; be it the ‘Didi’ (older sister), Dada-Dadi (paternal grandparents), Nana-Nani (maternal grandparents), Chacha (dad’s brother), and all the relations that can be named. But there are such people also, who are biased by the regressive mentality, one that still haunts our society- The want for a male child.
And surprisingly its not the elderly( they may be expected to believe in it), but young, educated and self-dependent women who say things like- “oh! if you had a boy it would have been so much nicer! or “if it was a boy the family would have been complete” etc.
In my country, given its high population and now the high cost of living and education, most people plan for not more than two children in the family. Add to this the desire for a male child and you have the perfect recipe for disaster, for the girl child. These beliefs have give rise to the biggest social malaise of our times- Female foeticide. Yes, that means that parents go for sex determination of the foetus as early in the pregnancy as possible, and if its a female, its aborted. It is all illegal, of course, but still people and so called doctors do not shy away from such practices. Young mothers-to-be are sometimes forced by their in-laws, or even by their husbands to do away with the unborn child.
I sometimes find it unbelievable that anyone can even think of killing their unborn child. A child, whether a boy or a girl, brings so much of joy into the lives of the people. A baby’s sweet laughter can bring a smile on the dourest of faces. Their innocent babblings, their efforts to reach their various milestones and then reaching them, their efforts to mimic the people around them, all can fill any person with joy. It is every parent’s dream to watch their children grow into lovely human beings. And yet, our society discriminates against the girls.
The result is a skewed boy-girl ratio in almost all the regions of our country. Government is taking its own measures, making laws, trying to implement them more effectively, but things will change only when the people will start to think differently. We all have to do our bit to save the girl child. WE, because, only we as women can bring about a change in the thought processes of our largely patriarchal society. Beliefs like these cannot be changed by force or by laws alone. The change will HAVE to come from within the society, from within the minds of the people. Only then our society will have truly moved into the new ages, into the 21st century.