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April 3, 2008

Title: Female Foeticide Myth and Reality: 374 case histories of women who have undergone female foeticide in Punjab, India.

Author: Anurag Agarwal


Preface: Punjab has one of the most adverse sex ratios in the country. Overall sex ratio in the state is 874 females per 1000 males and it shows further declining trend in the children. Sex ratios for the age groups of 0-6 years and 0-1 years are 793 and 747, respectively. Through abuse of ultrasound scanning, parents are going for sex selective abortions. Every year more than one hundred thousand female fetuses are killed in Punjab.

The book is based on the interviews of 374 females who had undergone female foeticide. These interviews based on comprehensive questionnaire were taken by the volunteers of Istri Sehat Sabhas (Women Health Groups). To understand the psyche of these women, quantitative tools were applied to analyse how certain socio economic factors such as caste, education, financial well being, etc affect the thinking and perception of these women.


The findings of the study negate many of the common beliefs and perceptions strongly held by most of us. For example, there is strong religions advocacy on this issue based on the presumption that women who undergo female foeticide do not realise that it is a sin and if they were made to realise it, they would not commit the sin of female foeticide. The reality is that 85% of the women who had undergone female foeticide already had the realisation that it was a sin. This is the reason why the present form of religious advocacy has not worked.

Gender bias is the interplay of various socio-economic factors and is deeply rooted in our mindset. Modern medical technology has worked as a catalyst to metamorphose strong preference for a male child, with desire for a small family, into female foeticide. In this book I have tried to give and insight into the psyche of the women who had undergone female foeticide, which is essential to have any successful strategy to combat this menace.

About the Author:

Anurag Agarwal is a graduate engineer from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur. He later joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). He was Managing Director of the Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC), responsible for management and control of 156 secondary level government hospitals having bed capacity ranging from 30 to 400 beds. He was also project director of a World Bank assisted project of about $ 100 million, to revamp and modernise the secondary level health care in the state of Punjab. He was also Head of the Department for a prestigious 800 bedded Institute of Mental Health at Amritsar. Currently he is the Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, Punjab.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2008 2:33 pm

    You’re doing this here, I am doing it there. Let’s combine our efforts. If I have your permission, I’d like to link what you write on your blog on mine.

  2. mistersingh permalink*
    April 4, 2008 3:34 pm

    Please feel free to link the contents on this blog to yours. I visited your blog, your team is doing a great job.

  3. April 5, 2008 12:04 am

    Shall definitely do it once I’m back from holiday. Thanks :).

  4. Harish Sharma permalink
    October 28, 2009 4:53 am

    I am seriously concerned about the mindset of people on this issue. India is a multicultured country but the female foeticide is uniformaly present in all parts of the country. The economic conditions, religion, cultures, geographicl states varies but the female foeticide is present everywhere in India irrespective of these variations. Some latent and underlying psychological factors do play some role.

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