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Opinion Sadly Weep Our Daughters In The Land Of Five Rivers


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Sadly Weep our Daughters in the 'Land of Five Rivers'.

..For sadly weep our daughters in the 'Land of Five Rivers'.

GOD….Are you a man or a woman?

The pages of Sri Guru Granth Sahib are replete with many names for God, some are masculine in gender while others are feminine…But that, that remains a commonality is that all these names are used to describe God. A fair deduction drawn from this is that our Gurus did not consider God to be either male or female.

The Mool Mantra states that God is Ajuni (Unborn), in other words, God belongs to neither sex.

If this be the case, then why does our patriarchal society impose stern taboos only on the being of girl child?

Why do our girls get subjected to biases and remain illiterate and ill-treated?
For all its glory that we talk of, it is a horrendous practice in Punjab where by infants are murdered …All without a single exception are little baby girls put to death by their own parents or at the least by their mute consent.

This observable ritual of female infanticide is as old as the Sphinx in many cultures …the Arab and Asian countries, such as Algeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India have remained till date male dominated in mind sets and place a much higher worth on the male gender of the species. A large number of infants are killed at birth immediately after it is revealed that they are not a male child.

It is maybe a symptomatic manifestation of the evil dowry system…. If a son of one family is to get married to a daughter of another, the bride’s family is expected to give large sums of money and gifts to the groom’s family. So, what we make of this is quite simple….That having a daughter is a monetary burden on the family as a whole and it may bankrupt a poor folks which have more than one daughter. Dowry is legally not acceptable and banned, but then the ban is largely ignored and has become a social curse of mammoth proportions far more demanding than it was in yester years.

It is now up to you, young people to say ‘NO’ to Dowry…Take no dowry….give no Dowry.
Reject It.

This ‘Son Syndrome’ coupled with the financial burden of having a girl has perhaps egged on the practice of infanticide in regards to the female babies.
What have I done ?

It is quite possible that some of the hapless parents of baby girls are reluctantly driven towards infanticide for the fear of the financial demands that will be imposed on them. Next time we hear about this ghastly sin heaving our society. We should stop and take the 'Halo' off our head, for in some ways we are responsible for the rot that has set in. It is the entire fabric of society that is rotten,the pitiful mother often has no say in this, she in all likelihood remains sidelined…. The decision to kill the little baby girl lies with the patriarch of the family…. But he does not dirty his hands himself. Midwives are there….Midwives are very common in rural India …she assists in childbirth, and if need be for a generous consideration may be coerced to put an end to life of the little baby girl soon after her birth.
Did you know that there are family secrets passed down generations, much like the recipes, for killing these infants?

And you will shudder to think how? ….It is so horrific that it feels like it is the dark ages and not the 21st century.

Sometimes the infants are fed milk laced with sap of poisonous plants or pesticides. Others are given rice paddy with the husks still attached to swallow …This slits their tender throat. Other methods include feeding them salt to increase blood pressure.

I have heard of some very gruesome physical methods as well…like being stuffed in clay pots, holding the baby by the waist and shaking it - which snaps the spinal cord - or simply snapping their necks…..One of the popular serials currently being aired has tried to lay bare the ugliness and shows little girls drowned in large urns of milk and water.

The heartless remorseless perpetuators responsible perhaps settle the qualms that I’m sure they have, by thinking that these methods are all quick and painless, which they are not and little infants must suffer. Okay, they may be painless and simple for them to execute… But they are barbaric.
Can we allow this to happen?

Remember if we keep quiet, then we become partners in crime.

In China girls are abandoned in hospices, where they live in poor conditions and starved to death. These places have earned the nickname the "dying rooms" because they spend most of their lives chained to their bed and being fed meager amounts of food.

A woman in Islam is not usually allowed to choose who she is to marry. She lives her without a persona behind a niqab or a burqa. In many Muslim countries a woman cannot leave the house without a male relative's presence or permission. She is often beaten by her husband and could be divorced with simple ‘Talaq’. Women in Saudi Arabia emerge time and again as victims of discrimination and human rights violations because of the gender bias in law, social mores and traditions. In Saudi Arabia women are not allowed to drive or leave the country without approval from their husband or father.

If this is not all…We now have ‘Honour killings’…...And these are not occurrences in the remote interiors of Bharat….But the killings are the urbanised feudal continuance of caste discrimination in towns and cities of modern India…To be real even Delhi.

Honour crimes are acts of violence, usually murder, committed by brothers, uncles and in some cases a father is part of the plot against the young girl of the family, who is seen to have brought dishonour upon the ’Khandaan ki izzat’. This ill fated girl is targeted for a multiplicity of reasons, ….refusing to agree to an arranged marriage, being the victim of a sexual assault, seeking a divorce—even from an abusive husband—or committing the sin of being in love…..Heavens help, for this is adulterous in the eyes of the sanctimonious family. The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that "dishonours" her family is sufficient to trigger an attack on her life.
Ahh!! How can we forget the trauma of child marriage….a detrimental time-honored practice that weds children. Here, once again it is the girls, very young girls married to men who are usually much much older than their new bride.

Fortunately ‘Sati’ is one social evil that is more or less an exception now….Sati is the Hindu practice of a widow immolating herself on her husband's funeral pyre.

"Sati" means a virtuous woman. A woman who dies burning herself on her husband's funeral fire was considered most virtuous and worshipped as a Goddess, and temples were built in her memory.

Sati was supposed to be voluntary, but it is known that it has often been forced. Setting aside the issue of social pressures, many accounts exist of women being physically forced to their deaths. The practice of Sati was prohibited and widow-remarriage was encouraged….nevertheless it has remained a law on paper and very little can be seen in practice.

Guru Nanak challenged the idea of woman being inferior to man and unchained her from gender biases inflicted on her by the man centric society.

In one of his hymns, he said:

From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married. Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come. When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; to woman he is bound. So why call her bad? From her, kings are born. From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all. O Nanak, only the True Lord is without a woman. That mouth which praises the Lord continually is blessed and beautiful. O Nanak, those faces shall be radiant in the Court of the True Lord. || 2 || (Page 473)

All the Guru’s gave woman a status equal to that of man. They regarded woman as man's companion in every walk of life. The Gurus thought this equality in time would be of mutual benefit.

The Guru’s said that a woman is the first teacher of man as his mother. Her role is to mould children and discipline them. She has to be educated so that her children may develop their potential to the fullest. She was allowed to join holy congregations, participate and conduct them…and was called 'the conscience of man'.

To the extent we saw that women soldiers fought side by side with male soldiers in some of the battles which Guru Gobind Singh fought.

That was then, it is times today that scare me, the devaluation of social fabric scares me….

I would like to ask these ‘honourable men’ of the patriarchal set up…..
Are our daughters children of lesser God ?



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