What Is India News Service
Thursday, November 08, 2007


"Female infanticide is the intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of females."

The phenomenon of female infanticide is as old as many cultures, and has likely accounted for millions of gender-selective deaths throughout history.  In all cases, specifically female infanticide reflects the low status accorded to women in most parts of the world; it is arguably the most brutal and destructive manifestation of the anti-female bias that pervades the "patriarchal" societies. 


In rural India, the centuries-old practice of female infanticide can still be considered a wise course of action.  According to census statistics, "From 972 females for every 1,000 males in 1901 ... the gender imbalance has tilted to 929 females per 1,000 males. ... In the nearly 300 poor hamlets of the Usilampatti area of Tamil Nadu [state], as many as 196 girls died under suspicious circumstances [in 1993] ... Some were fed dry, unhulled rice that punctured their windpipes, or were made to swallow poisonous powdered fertilizer.  Others were smothered with a wet towel, strangled or allowed to starve to death." 

The bias against females in India is related to the fact that "Sons are called upon to provide the income".  With this perspective, it becomes clearer that the high value given to males decreases the value given to females.  The problem is also intimately tied to the institution of dowry, in which the family of a prospective bride must pay enormous sums of money to the family in which the woman will live after marriage. 

Indian state governments have sometimes taken measures to diminish the slaughter of infant girls and abortions of female fetuses.  The government will give the family $160 in aid per child.  The money will be paid in installments as the girl goes through school.  She will also get a small gold ring and on her 20th birthday, a lump sum of $650 to serve as her dowry or defray the expenses of higher education.


Once loath to reveal breakdowns in social stability, China's State Population and Family Commission admitted last winter that "the increasing difficulties men face finding wives may lead to social instability". (A Rising Bachelor Nation , Hindu, Editorial, The Hindu, Oct 26, 2007)

THE number of infants who die before they complete one year in Punjab is disturbingly high at 44 per 1,000 births. (Murder Of Infants, Tribune, Editorial, The Tribune, Oct 25, 2007)

Dussehra and the worship of Durga is over but the imagery of the goddess stamping out evil remains embedded in our psyche. (Winning Over Evil , Telegraph, Malvika Singh, Oct 23, 2007)

CHELLAMMAL is a frail, old woman, shy otherwise, but anger surges through her as she speaks of Vijaykumar Mill in Palani. Her daughter was one of the 789 girls working there as apprentices under the “sumangali” scheme for Rs.15 as daily stipend. (A Tale Of Woe, Frontline, Correspondent or Reporter, Oct 12, 2007)

President Pratibha Patil described the declining number of girls in the country as "a matter of shame." Launching the "Save the Girl Child" campaign on Gandhi Jayanti, President Patil warned that the skewed sex ratio may endanger the stability of society. (A Matter Of Shame, Asian Age, Editorial, The Asian Age, Oct 05, 2007)

One of the finest panel discussions that formed part of the Incredible India@60 campaign in New York, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, Tourism and seven other ministries, was the one titled ‘Women and Global Leadership’. (The Changing Indian Woman, Business Line, Rasheeda Bhagat , Oct 03, 2007)

Punjab loses every fourth girl. By the 2011 census, we would be killing off 10 lakh girls a year. (Stop Murdering The Girl Child, Tribune, Correspondent or Reporter, Sep 26, 2007)

Internationally sex ratio is defined as the number of men per 1000 women. (Gender Bias, Hindu, Ramya Kannan , Sep 25, 2007)

Ours is a country caught in a strange social dichotomy. On the one hand, we worship the Mother Goddess in her many manifestations, including the girl child (a kanjak), and on the other we have gained notoriety as a nation known. . . (Save The Girl Child, Tribune, Ruchika M. Khanna, Aug 02, 2007)

India is a land of many inequalities, none greater than the plight of women in society. (Gender, Or Seniority, Tribune, S. Nihal Singh, Jul 31, 2007)

Police in the eastern Indian state of Orissa exhumed skulls and body parts believed to be from three dozen aborted female foetuses and murdered girls in an abandoned well, a grisly find that highlights the persistence of infanticide in the country. (Three Dozen Aborted Female Foetuses Found In India, Guardian (UK), RANDEEP RAMESH, Jul 24, 2007)

The shocking discovery of body parts of what appear to be fully formed female foetuses in a pit of a nursing home at Nabaghanapur in Orissa is a national shame and a scandal that should outrage the conscience of every citizen. (Killed In The Womb, Pioneer, Editorial, The Pioneer, Jul 24, 2007)

An Indian minister has proposed that all pregnant women register with the government and seek its permission if they wish to undergo an abortion. ('Indian Register' For Pregnancies , British Broadcasting Corporation, Correspondent or Reporter, Jul 14, 2007)

A two-day-old baby girl in India has survived after being buried alive in a field by her maternal grandfather in the south of the country. (Baby Survives Being Buried Alive , British Broadcasting Corporation, Correspondent or Reporter, Jul 07, 2007)

A TWO-DAY-OLD baby girl was found alive in a grave in southern India after she had been buried by her grandfather who did not want to bear the cost of bringing up a girl, authorities said. (Baby Girl Survives Being Buried Alive, Singapore Times, Correspondent or Reporter, Jul 07, 2007)

Hindus are competent to decide on the entry of non-Hindus into temples, argues Anuradha Dutt. (Sacred And Profane, Pioneer, Anuradha Dutt, Jun 28, 2007)

Perturbed over the persistent falling sex ratio at birth of 0-6 years (SRB), an indicator that points towards the obnoxious practice of sex selective abortions in Tamil Nadu, the State unit of All India Democratic Women’s Association . . . (Aidwa To Launch ‘Save Girl Children’ Campaign , Hindu, R. Ilangovan, Jun 21, 2007)

Not many get to choose the place they die in, but knowing Ramachandra Gandhi, one gets an eerie feeling that this peripatetic thinker would have wanted to breathe his last moments in a place that was his home – and yet not his home – for so many . . . . (Ramu Gandhi: A Solitary Thinker In Smug, Noisy Times, Tribune, Manish Chand, Jun 18, 2007)

Indian police have arrested a man posing as a doctor who allegedly carried out abortions of female foetuses in an affluent Delhi suburb and flushed them down the toilet, an official said Friday. (Indian ‘Doctor’ Held Over Female Infanticide, Daily Times, Correspondent or Reporter, Jun 16, 2007)

Pravin Togadia calls to unseat "the enemy of the farmers" Modi doling away farmland to industries: Togadia Rectify your past mistakes, speakers tell community (Anti-Modi Forces Unite At Patel Community Meeting, Hindu, MANAS DASGUPTA, Jun 13, 2007)


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