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The Beginning of the End?

May 26, 2008

It is happening. It has begun.

The consequences of low female-to-male sex ratio have begun to show.

Those protesting the female feticide have argued that if female feticide continues, soon there will be a time when men will find it hard to find a bride. Many of us bloggers have amused ourselves at the state of affairs when that happens. Well, it looks like we won’t have to wait too long for those times. The amusement ride begins.

A story in the Times of India reports that a gang (of women) has been looting men having a hard time finding brides. Apparently, the women (gang-members) first provide women for marriages for a sum (30,000 – 50,000), after which they rob the families and disappear. No, they do not leave the ‘bride’ behind but take her along too. Follow the above link for the story.

Will this be the beginning of the end of female-feticide?

(My argument against female-feticide is not from a utilitarian theory or consequential theory but from Kant’s categorical imperative. That is, female-feticide is wrong not because it will create a shortage of women for men, and therefore in the interest of the larger number of people to stop female feticide. Female-feticide is wrong because it is wrong to discriminate against any social category; this being a universal principle, irrespective of the harm or good it causes to others outside that social category.

So, though the above story does draw attention to one of the consequences of female-feticide, I do not make it the centerpiece of my argument against female-feticide.

The story does give a tickle, though, I must say.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2008 7:09 am

    OK, i m going to rock the boat a little here. I quite like the work you are doing through this blog and respect the fact that you are doing it in spite of being a man.

    However, I do believe, firmly, that female infanticide is better than subjecting the girl child to a lifetime of humiliation and abuse. Therefore, families who do not want girls, should not get them. Ideally, they should just choose the gender of their baby at conception, when it becomes possible, so that there is no foeticide.

    To not have a daughter is a curse. Not just that a daughter is a blessing, but that, no daughter is a CURSE. however, Punjabis in general and Sikhs in particular, can either have dowry deaths or daughters. Not Both. And society is not going to change anytime soon.

  2. Mr. Singh permalink*
    July 13, 2008 1:54 pm

    I gather you are implying a hierarchy of the 3 choices you mention in your comments:
    A) Subjecting the girl child to a lifetime of humiliation and abuse.
    B) Killing the girl when she is born: infanticide.
    C) Choosing (male) gender at conception.

    The hierarchy of preferences implied is one wherein A is the worst that can happen to the girl child, and C is lesser of an evil as compared to A and B. You are suggesting that C should be allowed. Because choosing a gender at the conception is a lesser of the evils, there should be no problem with it.

    Though I may be inclined to agree with you on that ranking, I cannot find myself agreeing with your conclusion. I believe that we should not settle for choice of gender at conception.

    Why so? At heart of the issue is the discriminatory mindset. It does not go away with having only male babies.

    Allowing gender choice during conception is like being a gatekeeper at the concert hall: we cannot let the blacks in otherwise the white guys will beat them up and hurt them. So, to protect the blacks, we should keep them out of the concert hall.

    It is like not letting the untouchables in the temples. If we let them in, the priests will injure them, will insult them, will ridicule them. So lets keep the untouchables out of the temple for their own good.

    Lets choose who we let in the temples rather than letting everyone in and then dealing with the situation.
    Lets choose who we let in the concert halls rather than letting both whites and blacks in and then dealing with the situation.
    Lets choose who we give birth to, lets choose girls over boys at the time of conception, rather than letting girls arrive in this world that will hurt them, and then having to deal with the situation.

    I think, the problem in the above cases is not the blacks, or untouchables, or girls, (or any social category that has been discriminated) but the concert halls, the temples, the societies. It is these institutions that need to be rebuilt. Any institution that breeds, perpetuates, strengthens discrimination against some section of society, and stokes the prejudices against those sections, should either be corrected or then not allowed to continue. It has no place in a society that claims to be civilized.

    If society cannot stop the discriminatory attitude against the women, it goes against the fabric of the fundamental unit of society – the family. I disagree with you that if families do not want girls they should be able to not have them. I believe that people who want to continue with the discriminatory attitude against women should not be allowed to have a family and – thereby – children.

    Choosing a gender during conception may appear to be lesser evil of feticide, infanticide, or a lifetime of humiliation or suffering; but the truth is that it is nevertheless an act of violence that hides all the goriness it is actually about.

    If we start the battle with the idea that it is futile, that the society is not going to change, the battle is already lost. And with that mindset, we would be leaving the possibility of gender-equality to chance. And it is too important an issue to be left to chance.

    You sure did rock the boat, I must say 🙂

  3. Mr. Singh permalink*
    July 13, 2008 9:00 pm

    correction to my comment above: I meant “lets choose boys over girls” instead of “lets choose girls over boys”.

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