In India's capital city which is in celebration mood with the arrival of a new government, a man killed his wife
and two daughters aged 2 and 6 months. Their crime? Well the former had not given him a son, and instead born two girls that also needed to be killed. The man and his mother had tortured the poor woman for her inability to 'produce' a son and of course for not having brought enough dowry. But let us forget the dowry issue but get back to sex determination saga. To have a boy you need the Y chromosome and that is something a woman DOES NOT HAVE. So she can never be responsible for the child not being a boy.This is a scientific fact and unless we petition to God to change things, this will remain a reality. This was discovered in 1905
by Nettie Stevens who realised that sex determination is due to the presence and absence of the Y chromosome. Women do not have it so how can they be held responsible for something they do not possess biologically.
However it seems to have been traditionally held that women were the ones who determined sex, and over the ages, women have suffered the worst humiliation for producing girls. In some cases, like the one cited above, a woman had to pay the ultimate price for something she is completely innocent of. What happened to the innocent until proved guilty!
I have been nurturing the dream of another project, this one named project Y that rhymes with, as my grandson would say as he is into rhyming words, Why! I wonder why, whether it is in biology curricula or sex education, this fact is not made crystal clear. Even to children one could easily say: papa provides the seed and mama the place for the seed to grow.
Now whether the seed is an apple or an orange depends on papa. If little boys and little girls were told that at an early age, then the millions of women would not have to suffer a cruel fate.
I know such a project can only work if it is done on a large scale by the State machinery on the lines of an earlier family planning programme initiated many decades ago when catchy slogans appeared everywhere: Ham do, hamare do - we are two, we have two
-. I have been thinking of a slogan but my copywriting skills are not the best. So if somebody can come up with one, it would be great.
As I said this is mammoth task, one that large international agencies should have adopted long ago. To my mind, it would also bring a perceptible change to the number of children born, while of course freeing women from a 'crime' they are innocent of.
But who will bell the cat or even cats I should say? That is the question. In our country sex is taboo and considered 'wrong', though it is the basis of creation. Hence sex education is defiled by some fringe elements who want to 'protect' the honour and tradition of the land. But it is time we talked about it and if the word S** is offensive, then find one that suits your misplaced values, but it is really time we talked about it unabashedly. How can we as a nation, hold our head high when a woman is murdered with her two young children because she gave birth to them!
Will the new Government which has the numbers look at this problem with honesty and courage so that no woman has to ever pay the ultimate price for bringing a little girl into this world.