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Female Foeticide: A Curse of History

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Archived_Member16, Aug 8, 2009.

  1. Archived_Member16

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    Female Foeticide: A Curse of History

    By KHUSHWANT SINGH

    Long ago, girls were killed to protect them from Muslim invaders. Now, it's dowry.

    Punjab has a long history of doing away with newborn girls. The preferred method today is foeticide after a sex determination test, but centuries ago the practice was to bury them. This tradition perhaps goes back to the days of repeated invasions by Muslim armies from the northwest, who used to carry off girls as booty for their own pleasure or to be sold in the slave markets of the Middle East. Today, it is the extortionate dowries that parents of girls have to provide upon marriage. The custom of polyandry in Punjab probably arose out of the shortage of girls - the eldest son of a family would take a wife, his younger brothers would also have access to her.

    One of Guru Nanak's oft quoted hymns condemns the denigration of women: 'We are born of women and nurtured by them, we fall in love with them and they bear us sons and daughters. How can you belittle women who give birth to kings?' His words had little impact - the killing of newborn girls continued as before, though practised more among the land-owning zamindars than by the common folk.

    At the end of the first Sikh war, when the British annexed half of the Sikh kingdom, the Sikh zamindars of the region met John Lawrence, who had been appointed commissioner, to confirm their land holdings. He insisted on their signing pledges that they would not bury lepers alive, refrain from burning widows and stop burying newborn girls. The zamindars protested, saying Lawrence had promised that the two sides would not interfere with each others' religious customs. Lawrence agreed that he had indeed done so, adding that British religious custom was to hang anyone who followed these practices. That put an end to sati and the murder of lepers, and though female infanticide was checked it probably continued surreptitiously.

    After Independence, and the passing of the Hindu Code Bill giving equal rights to inherit ancestral property to sons and daughters, things again took a turn for the worse with the murder of newborn girls gaining momentum, especially in propertied families. With medical science able to detect the sex of the child in the womb, the practice has become much more widespread, resulting in a situation today where the ratio of females to males in Punjab is the lowest in the country.

    Religious leaders and institutions like the S.G.P.C. and the Akal Takht make only feeble attempts to put down this criminal practice and their efforts have failed miserably. Kuree Maar (daughter-killer) is a common abuse in Punjab - an abuse that those who indulge in the practice have learnt to take in their stride.
     
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  3. spnadmin

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    We have suspicion of Kuree Maar (daughter-killer) (and grandchild killer) right within the SGPC itself. So it will be an uphill battle on this issue.

    Thank you
     
  4. Archived_Member16

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    Narayanjot Kaur Ji:

    Their motto has been: "Do what we say, not what we do !" :mad:
     
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  5. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    The Sikh Reht Maryada (SRM) could not be clearer. Section Four, Chapter X ( [SIZE=-1]Living in Consonance with Guru's Tenets (Gurmat Rehni)[/SIZE], Article XVI

    states point-blank:

    l. A Sikh should not kill his daughter; nor should he maintain any relationship with a killer of daughter.

    Daughter-killing is an evil, barbaric practice, which I consider the single greatest danger facing the Sikh nation today. I believe Guru ji will save us from from extermination from outside forces. I do not believe Guru ji will save us from ourselves.

    As to dowry, Article XVIII of the SRM states:

    l. No Sikh should accept a match for his/her son or daughter for monetary consideration.

    That seems clear enough to me. If these were followed, along with the hukamnama regarding not having lavish weddings, there would be no substantial financial excuse for any Sikh to kill his/her daughter, whether before or after birth.

    So much for the technicalities and legalisms

    Although I respect the institution of the SGPC (sort of), I have no respect for its current membership. Frankly, I believe there are many antiPanthic practices the individual members indulge in. I try to keep up on the news about such matters. We are Sikhs. This is our institution. It is our responsibility to clean it up. Let's get busy, jis!

    Chardi kala! :ice:

    Mai
     
  6. spnadmin

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    Now on another thread it is stated that the claim that Punjab leads in female foeticide is a myth - Here is the link. http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/inter...truth-revealed-its-offense-speak-punjabi.html

    In all fairness both sides of the story should be heard.

    How does this difference of views from one media or government agency to the other get sorted out? And does, at the end of the day, make a difference whether Punjab is in the lead or not?

    What are our thoughts on this?
     
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  7. Admin Singh

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    I think there should be an Independent International Monitoring Authority governing and gathering such statistics in an unbiased way with out Government intervention... perhaps asking for the impossible... :ice:
     
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  8. spnadmin

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    Aman ji

    I don't know how either. But whether Punjab leads or not, the population differential of males to females is suspicious -- unless those figures are also false.

    How does UNESCO gather data about the medical status of people worldwide. That I don't know the answer to. Is the information gathered by governments and fed to UNESCO or is is gathered independently? Does anyone know?
     
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  9. Mai Harinder Kaur

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    I remember reading back in the 1970s a psychological report that said that one of the surest ways to drive people into insanity is to lie to them systematically until they no longer have any sense of what is truth and what is lie.

    The GOI isn't stupid.

    Am I the only one whose head is swimming in six directions at this point?

    Chardi kala! (We need that bow!)

    Mai
     
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  10. yadwinder kaur

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