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The more they change, the more they remain the same

February 23, 2011

Another study in Punjab surveying the attitudes of young couples regarding girl-child is in the news. The study was conducted by Dr. Harshinder Kaur, (who many will recognize for her drive against female-feticide in Punjab, her book made into a movie, her talks across the globe and at the UN on this topic, and her struggles with the administration in her native state of Punjab, and who is now serving as the deputy medical superintendent of Rajinder Hospital in Patiala. Ah well … before this post becomes a post on Dr. Harshinder Kaur  – I will dedicate one to her soon – let me get back to the study).

The study interviewed 3000 couples across different villages in Punjab. Here are some highlights of the results of the study as reported in the Times of India:

  • 37% of the couples said they only wanted a male child and if they had one they would not want to have a second child.
  • 11% said they would have a second child if they had a daughter as their first child, but would not go for a second child if they have a son as their first child.
  • 2% categorically stated that they wanted only a male child “at any cost”.
  • The percentage of couples happy with having only a female child is only 3%.

As per the article, “another interesting fact, which came to light, is that the rich were more interested in having only a son compared to the poor. Many rich couples openly said they didn’t want a female child, while among the poor, only one couple said no to a female child even as the remaining 70 couples said they accepted the girl child as a gift of god.”

Comparing the results of this study with the one she had conducted in 2008, and also with several studies others have conducted over the past decades, the one thing that can be sadly concluded is that the attitudes towards the girl child have not changed.

People visiting Punjab after a long time often carry with them the image of how much things have changed over time. However, some things, the more they change, the more they remain the same.


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