Female Foeticide In Punjab and What Bani Says
By on February 26th, 2009
“Punjab has enacted a shameful drama by earning the dubious distinction of leading the country in following the practice of committing female foeticide. It is the biggest stigma on the face of a civilized society which boasts of falling in top brackets in respect of literacy rate and per capita income. This was stated by Mrs Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Chairperson of the “Nanhi Chaan Foundation” and wife of Punjab’s Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal in her inaugural address on the opening day of the two-day national seminar on “Female Foeticide: Role of Society and Technology” in the Punjabi University’s Senate Hall, here today. The seminar is being organised by the University’s Department of Social Work in collaboration with ICSSR, Chandigarh.
Emphasizing the point that no home can function well without a woman, she said that only a collective effort could help thrash out this menace from the society. She urged the enlightened community of teachers, scholars and doctors to spearhead the crusade of eradicating this ‘clumsy malady’ from a prosperous state like Punjab. She further said that the skewed female-male ratio was giving birth to other crimes which were increasing with each passing day.
Dr Jaspal Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Punjabi University, in his presidential remarks said that the deepest irony of the time was that on one hand we are celebrating with overwhelming zeal and vehemence 300 years of coronation of Guru Granth Sahib, which in no uncertain terms rates women as supreme to their men counterparts in every respect, and on the other we are still engaged in intellectual gymnastics eight years after the Apex Court gave a directive to the Government to implement the provisions of Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act banning sex determination tests and sex selection to prevent female foeticide. The situation, he said was unpalatable and unimaginable in some parts of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi, where gender discrimination in terms of female foeticide has witnessed a sharpest drop and dip in male-female sex ratio as low as 1,000 to just above 700.
It is a shame in a country where we worship girls as kanjaks or as shakti that we are still not taking enough practical measures of stopping the macabre practice, which is sure to spell doom for us all with disastrous impact on future generations. Technology, he said, has made the task of systematic extermination of female foetus much easier with ultrasound machines playing the villain, facilitating selective cold blooded murders. The portable machines have further worsened the situation with quacks carrying and using them in villages beyond the clear sight of a few compassionate people or volunteers of some NGOs, Dr Jaspal Singh added.
Keynote speaker, Prof Ashish Bose, a former Professor in the Delhi School of Economics and a noted demographer, said that religion can play a significant role in rooting out the perilous practice of female foeticide. He suggested for appointing health vigilance officers to regularly monitor the implementation of law aimed at illegal sex-determination tests, NGOs starting intensive campaigns instead of making lukewarmish efforts, changing the mindsets of multi-layered generation gap and channelising the energy of the youth in positive directions.
Director, Seminar and HoD of Social Work, Dr Manjit Singh said that female deficit has remained a horrifying feature of our society which has ironically increased with advancement in technology. Though the son-preference syndrome and gender discrimination have become global phenomena, they are ‘excessively predominant’ in India, especially in Punjab and its neighbouring states, he said. Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Dr Manju Verma advocated ‘cultural shift’ from dominant to partnership culture for minimizing the practice of female foeticide.
What Bani says: Page 473
मः १ ॥
भंडि जमीऐ भंडि निमीऐ भंडि मंगणु वीआहु ॥
Bẖand jammī▫ai bẖand nimmī▫ai bẖand mangaṇ vī▫āhu.
From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married.
भंडहु होवै दोसती भंडहु चलै राहु ॥
Bẖandahu hovai ḏosṯī bẖandahu cẖalai rāhu.
Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come.
भंडु मुआ भंडु भालीऐ भंडि होवै बंधानु ॥
Bẖand mu▫ā bẖand bẖālī▫ai bẖand hovai banḏẖān.
When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; to woman he is bound.
सो किउ मंदा आखीऐ जितु जमहि राजान ॥
So ki▫o manḏā ākẖī▫ai jiṯ jamėh rājān.
So why call her bad? From her, kings are born.
भंडहु ही भंडु ऊपजै भंडै बाझु न कोइ ॥
Bẖandahu hī bẖand ūpjai bẖandai bājẖ na ko▫e.
From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all.
The Rehat Maryada for Sikhs bans female infanticide. I think anyone who does this in Punjab, who kills an unborn female child should be excommunicated from the Paanth!