I am my parents’ second daughter.  I was born in a very small colony-kind of place.  My mother tells me that when I was born not many people came to see me as I was the second daughter!  I was fortunate though that my parents didn’t lament!

India, a country where Devis are worshipped and girls abhorred.

Right from the time a woman conceives she gets blessings that “May you give birth to a son!”  I remember once I had gone to a God bharai (baby shower) and in a ritual the would-be mother was fed sweets only by the male children and not the females lest she would give birth to a daughter!  Isn’t it ironical that age-old traditions haven’t changed in spite of science and technology getting so advanced!  Rather technology like sonography is misused and female feticide is a result of it.

There have been many instances that I have encountered or heard in my life regarding gender bias which makes me cringe.  My mother says there was a couple in her vicinity who had 2 daughters and 2 sons.  Whenever the family went out, the sons were taken to the restaurant for a nice treat whereas the daughters made to sit in the car with biscuits and bread.  It is ironical that the same set of women again follow the same practices of gender discrimination.

When I was expecting my second child, my daughter, somebody had exclaimed, “Why did you plan for another child?  You already have a son.  No chinta.”  How should I explain such morons that kids are not investments.  A son is not an “asset” and a daughter not a “liability”.  I simply wanted children, not investment for my future!

Day in and day out we see girls being molested, raped, tortured, being victims of acid attack, dowry victims.  Why is it still so rampant?  Not just uneducated but so many educated independent women are also victims of this!  Whenever some such thing happens the society doesn’t hesitate to blame the victim.  “Maybe she was out late in the night, maybe she wore a short dress, may be the girl didn’t adjust enough in her new family, maybe she is too egoistic, maybe she is too educated, etc., etc.

All the “dos and donts” are always taught to the daughters, not the sons.  If the boys commit any mistake its simply remarked as “Boys will be boys” but if a girl commits a mistake the entire society will make her life hell!

Two years back when my only brother had his second daughter, so many people showed sympathies.  “Only son with 2 daughters!  They can try for a son again!”

The reaction that people had on my birth more than 3 decades ago still remains the same.  Wonder what will bring the change because I see so many highly qualified, so-called elite and educated people still treating girls as inferior.

It’s high time we brought a change.  Instead of relying on others, every home needs to start bringing a change; only then will the birth of a daughter be celebrated.

Just imagine, if the educated and well-to-do people have such thought process what is the status of the girls from underprivileged background!!  They are poor, illiterate people who despise the birth of daughters.  Those girls are not given proper nutrition, they are deprived of their right to basic education.  They are made to work hard right from a very young age.

But we cannot be negative!  We should be positive and try our best to bring little changes.  CRY has been trying to bring such positive changes since many years now.

Here is a small example of how small efforts from CRY is making the children aware of their rights and bringing positive changes.

Here is the story of Kunti:

Kunti hails from Prithvi Nangla village.  She is11, and an active participant of the children’s group.  Her sister was stopped from going to school once she finished class V because parents felt that it is not safe for her to travel far from the village. Kunti would have faced a similar fate but she managed to convince some families to send their girls along with her. “If we go together, nobody can touch us. . I am not scared. I want to study and will not leave studies come what may”. She said with confidence.

Once another girls of the children’s group informed the group that the teacher of the primary school has asked her mother to pay 100 rupees for giving the transfer certificate, Kunti was aware of children’s rights and their right to education, so she decided to confront the teacher and asked the teacher to give the receipt for the money he is taking to give the transfer certificate.

That’s a commendable job by Kunti.  The confidence she gained was because of the knowledge.  Let the girls, be it from any strata of the society, be given respect, love, her rights so that she can hold her head high and live a wonderful life.

We should take steps for “Ensuring Lasting Change For Children.”


Ritwika Mutusuddi (The author is an independent blogger)

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