Saturday, June 21, 2008


The preference for male children over female in India is no secret. In 1970, my mother shared the same maternity ward with another woman who had given birth to a daughter. The young woman was completely terrified about what her family and inlaws would think. My mother remembers that this woman's family and inlaws did not celebrate the birth. In fact, they were disappointed in the woman, and looking at their behaviour, you would've thought that there had been a death in the family. Of course, it is the woman that gets blamed for the sex of the child too.

This is utter rubbish and completely unacceptable for a culture that long worshipped the feminine as the ultimate manifestation of the sacred forces of the universe. Education, education, education is the answer to all problems. Reminds me of an instance when I was 17 in India on my summer hols. An aunt of mine was chatting with another lady about some poor woman who kept giving birth to daughters and was harassed by her inlaws because of it. I had studied the details of sex determination via genetics in 12th grade, and I could not help announcing 'but it's her husband that determines the sex of the babies!' I mean it's like blaming the oven for not turning out cookies after you yourself put in the ingredients for a cake. I got even more annoyed when my aunt and her friend, women well into their 40s and beyond, giggled and blushed at my unmentionable opinion.

These are things that must be addressed to all men and women, to all boys and girls. It's not a joke. Not any one gender is better than the other; they are meant to live in harmony, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. I like both cookies and cakes quite fine. They've both got sugar, maybe not spice, but definitely everything nice.

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