I bring you this article after a lot of soul-searching. Please bear with me as this is a huge deviation from my usual articles about scriptures, festivals, traditions etc. But I feel so strongly about this issue, and it’s connection to the foundations of our Hindu faith, that I feel it is worth talking about. I understand that this is perhaps not what you “signed up” for, but I hope that you will read through and at least reflect, and maybe respond, on the thoughts in here.
India Census 2011
The results of the latest census from India reveals an alarming trend that the ratio of female to male children (0-6 years) has dropped dramatically from 927:1000 (2001) to 914:1000 (2011). This trend has a lot of well-meaning folks, who have been working hard to fight this downward spiral, very worried.
Despite a slew of laws to prevent female foeticide and schemes to encourage families to have girl child, the ratio has declined from 927 females against 1,000 males in 2001 to 914, which was described as a “matter of grave concern” by Census Commissioner of India C Chandramauli.
But why raise this issue on this blog? What does this have to do with hinduism? Isn’t this a social issue?
Hindu Society and Religion
Well, like anything else in India, most social issues are intertwined with religion (we are still a primarily Hindu nation) and the (often incorrect) interpretation of the scriptures.
So, I asked this question on my twitter account
“In the land where we worship Durga and Kali, why are we letting our female children fill orphanages and die of starvation?”
Very quickly, I got a reply from a friend whom I deeply respect and who has taught me a lot about my own faith over the years –
“… because our worship is fake?!”
To my mind, this reply was a huge indictment and questioning of our reverence for the female Goddesses in Hinduism. We all celebrate festivals in honor of Durga, we revere Saraswati, we pray to Lakshmi – and yet, we as a society, forget all this reverence when it comes to the choice of a child?
So, I ask you to reflect on this, gentle readers, and tell me
Is our worship of all these female goddesses really fake and hypocritical?
If not, then why do we persist with this ‘preference’ for a male
female child? “… because we want to perpetuate the family name”, is the answer given most often.
Well, my proposition is that we should strive to perpetuate our value system, our culture, our Dharma, and above all, our compassion and love for ALL children, male or female!
So, what do you think? If you agree, then please join with me in working towards stopping this insanity. If you don’t agree, that’s okay too – but please spare a thought, and I hope and pray that you think about it the next time you say a prayer to Durga, Lakshmi or Saraswati.
Please tell us about your thoughts – Leave a Comment below. Thank you for reading and sharing.
Dedicated to Mothers around the world (and particularly in India) on Mother’s Day, 2011
Postscript: After I had written most of this article, I met a couple who adopted a girl from an orphanage in India. The ratio of girls to boys in the orphanage? 20:1.