By Anang Pal Malik
The biggest disease we are suffering from in this era is that we now look to government to solve problems created by social mores. Government of course comes into picture in case of female infanticide because of socialism. But we are in fact demanding more of what is causing the problem: Big Government. A Bigger Government with more powers will only aggravate the problem as the reader will soon learn. Here are the causes of female infanticide in India, and solutions:
1. We have a system called dowry. In this system, a guy who is the father of a boy, becomes entitled to confiscate, extort from the father of the prospective bride a sum that depends on the future earnings of the boy. The earnings of course include the earnings in the form of bribes.
2. There is a law against dowry in India. But just as I have said always in case of corruption, a law against anything is meaningless till the society first considers it wrong.
3. In the case of dowry, the society not only doesn’t consider it wrong, it is in fact considered honourable. Dowry items are first displayed at bride’s place and neighbours and relatives are invited to admire and get impressed, the ritual is again then repeated at groom’s place. The esteem of the groom’s family depends on the dowry received.
4. The Indians feel so entitled to this extortion, this loot by consent, that earlier if the bride failed to bring the expected dowry, they felt entitled to murder her. The folks who do not possess courage to intervene if a girl is being molested, or who shut themselves in in their homes if some street level thug comes and threatens them, felt enough outraged if cheated of dowry that they murdered a human being in their own home.
5. The murders of brides had become so common by ’70s that society had to take notice, police was forced to act, and murders actually started resulting into convictions. Media and Bollywood chipped in with campaigns.
6. So killing daughter-in-law was no longer the option available. What to do? Indians started appraising the paying capacity of the prospective bride’s family. In this they have become such experts that they can any day beat best of world’s investment bankers, and appraisers.
7. Fathers of girls without paying capacity discovered that they may have given their daughter best of formal education, best of sanskar, but somehow, the match doesn’t come through.
8. And here comes the great socialism into picture. Socialism in India, in the form of government servants, has created a privileged class that has job security for life, unlimited amount of money in the form of bribes, an access to all things in short supply through quotas, freedom from queues, freedom from parking restrictions, freedom from house hunting, freedom from school runs for admission. Outside this privileged class live the hoi polloi; insecure in jobs, with poor salaries because of less jobs and more aspirants, always house hunting, always trying for school admissions, suffering power cuts, watching their Maruti 800 towed away. The government servants, in collusion with the politicians, and as a direct result of the socialism they are practicing, have made sure that Private sector in India is always gasping for breath. So, if you have managed to enter a government job, you are almost the king, otherwise you are condemned for life.
9. So the father of every girl tries to get a sarkari groom. And because they are so few in numbers, a very large number of girls have to chase very few of them, the only deciding factor becomes ……..yes, you guessed it: dowry.
10. Therefore people discovered that even after staking their life’s saving they could never be sure of giving their daughter the life she had till marriage. Most painful for a family was to marry the daughter beneath them. What to do? They started killing them in womb.
11. The problem of daughter-in-law killing was not daughter-in-law killing, but dowry. A society that honours unearned, that finds nothing wrong in one man extorting from another man, was condemned to see the female infanticide. It never addressed dowry. It never treated dowry what it is- extortion, loot. It never made dowry shameful. Daughter-in-law killing was only a symptom, root disease was dowry. Symptom was treated, but the disease was never addressed. And as happens in case when only symptom is treated, the disease came back in even more virulent form – the female infanticide. And the account is still not settled yet. As the male-female ratio deteriorates, and males without mates increase in numbers, the society will have to pay a real horrible price. If people think they can survive with 10 to15% male population without a wife and a family, they are living in delusion.
12. So the only solutions to female infanticide are: a) an all out, relentless campaign against dowry in the society, at family level, at community level, in Caste associations, in religious bodies. b) complete dismantling of socialism, so that a government job becomes like any other job, and jobs with similar remunerations are aplenty in the market. And girls also get to work because of job availability so that a marriage doesn’t make or break a life, and also, getting into a government job doesn’t make the difference of heaven and hell. As the “demand-supply” gap is bridged in the marriage market, the mad chase and bidding will vanish, and so will dowry, and so will female infanticide,
13. If we go after only female infanticide, without addressing disease called dowry, and another disease called socialism that creates a highly privileged class into which every father wants to marry his daughter, the result would be same as happened when we went only after murder of daughter-in-law, without addressing the root cause of dowry. The symptoms would come back even in a more virulent form. Some new technique, something even more horrible than female infanticide.