Gender discrimination

We must accept without hesitation that Indian society has not treated the feminine gender with as much of respect, courtesy and equality as is desirable. The scourge of discrimination has brought much criticism to our doorsteps. Generally speaking, the Indian mindset of discriminating girl against boy has been endemic. From religious, social and economic point of view discriminating the girl child against male child is disastrous for our society.
Recently most of the member countries of the United Nations celebrated the International Day of Girl Child. The Prime Minister had called for eradication of female feticides. At the same time, he invited suggestions for Beti Bachao Beti Parhao (save the daughter educate the daughter) movement across the country.  Incidentally, the Prime Minister took up the issue in a public rally at Panipat in Haryana.  We know that some sections of Haryana society are notorious for female feticide and discrimination.  But Haryana is not the only state with such a backward mindset. The Prime Minister asked his audience a cogent question. If you do not want a daughter, how you can get a daughter-in-law, he asked. According to the Census, Child Sex Ratio (0-6 years) in India was 927 girl children against per 1,000 boys in 2001, which dropped to 919 girls for every 1,000 boys in 2011. Dwindling number of girl child has been noted not only in Haryana but in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal also.
The main reason of female feticide and discrimination against girl child in our society is the heavy expenditure the parents of the girl have to bear on her marriage. Poor villagers cannot afford to incur huge expenditures mostly spent uselessly. Therefore they prefer to put an end to the girl child even in embryonic stage if they can. Almost all State Governments have put a strict ban on pre-natal gender identification and those who are found indulging in this crime are punished. But we have unscrupulous radiologists, doctors and medical practitioners who disclose the gender of the child when still in the womb of the mother which becomes motivation for the parents to force the mother for abortion in case it is a female child. This is a crime against society, against nature and against religion. Only cruel and inhuman societies will do that.
The Prime Minister, while rejecting discrimination against the girl child, has also announced some steps by the Government to provide incentives that would help change the diseased mindset.  Under Sukanya Smridhi Yojana young girls below 10 years of age can open accounts in banks. Four girls actually in the below 10 age group opened their bank account on spot. The young girls can develop the habit of depositing their money little by little till they come of marriageable age and by that time there can be some amount of money that would support her parents in arranging her marriage.  He once advised the villagers to plant twenty trees as soon as a girl child is born to them and by the time she comes up of marriageable age, the trees will have grown big and would yield good deal of money to provide financial support to the parents to marry off their girl. There should be planning and one of the aims of family planning was that such means and sources should be tapped as would meet the needs of the parents at a particular time in their lives.
It is true that education has spread to rural India and an enormous network of primary, middle and high schools is in place. The number of school going girls has increased in comparison to what was the situation three or four decades ago. Obviously the percentage of literacy among the girls has also increased. But we should remember that population is also increasing and that neutralizes the efforts of uplifting the female population in the country. This notwithstanding, the roadway to saving the girl child from atrocious treatment and even physical liquidation is to give her education to whatever level possible. The girl child should come out of the four walls of the house and interact with other children in the schools and colleges and other professional institutions so that exposure instills confidence in them and they can become an asset to their parents.
The Prime Minister has taken a bold but a very righteous cause. For century after century, we have made girl child a victim of our cruelty and discriminative treatment. Let that chapter be closed. The PM is right in saying that we should not open the ugly debate as to who supports discrimination but what we need to do is to think right and spread out the message of righteousness throughout the country. A girl should rise with her head high in the society. She has to be the pride of the nation and not a subservient and unprivileged underdog. We congratulate the Prime Minister for a bold initiative of changing the ugly mindset among some sections of society who believe in gender discrimination.