Is it possible to solve a problem without treating the cause?

Chatterbox says we can’t solve problems without tackling the cause. I agree.

Somebody I was in a discussion with, seems to think we can solve problems while we cherish and protect what’s causing them. He says,

“The technique of dragging in ‘unhappiness’, ‘girl baby killing’, ‘bride beating’, ‘mental torture’ etc., to spurce up ones’ point have been over-used by ‘modern’ ‘liberals’ who then denegrate the indigenous culture to peddle their favorite western ideology.”

To understand why female foeticide must be brought into social issues related to women, he must ask himself,  ‘Why do we prefer male children?’ (Or even, why don’t we want girl children?)
An honest answer will show what needs to be changed.

Unless girls babies are wanted, valued and loved as much as all other children, the society will not take their education, happiness, self reliance, safety, dreams, health, confidence, pleasure, freedom and them, seriously. So the cause of every other social problem related to women is that parents (and society) don’t value girl children enough.

Here’s an example of how seriously girl baby aversion is taken, he says,
If there is shortage of girls, it means there are more prospective grooms that she can choose from- so she has a good chance of finding a groom suitable to her and her community’s liking, isn’t there ?
Fact: In Haryana, with the worst gender ratio in India, girls are married (sold) to more than one brother in a family, wives are also ‘bought’ from North East and Kerala.

Do you agree that India’s girl child aversion is a symptom, and a result of many other problems?

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55 thoughts on “Is it possible to solve a problem without treating the cause?

  1. That is a very sorry, scary and shameful state of affairs 😦 😦

    The use of the word ‘sold & bought’ and the attitude to treat marriages this way; being used for a relationship meant to be based on compatibility and willingness to live together for a lifetime is a sheer sign of how deteriorated the social standards and mindsets of people have become over time.

    Thank you IHM for a sweet mention 😀

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  2. ““If there is shortage of girls, it means there are more prospective grooms that she can choose from- so she has a good chance of finding a groom suitable to her and her community’s liking, isn’t there ?“

    That’s the dumbest thing I have ever heard! What I have read is that “the high male-to-female ratios often trigger …violence.”

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  3. What has wanting a girl child got to do with finding a groom? Basically, he means, the ultimate goal of parents of a girl child is to get her married…See, it is this mindset that makes people not want girls…Marriage = Dowry + Wedding Expenses…I agree with you, unless the source of the problem is tackled, the outcome will not change…How will girls be wanted if the mindset doesn’t change?

    As I see it, the government and the media have to play a larger role…

    – The principle of equality between men & women should be more widely promoted through the media to change the attitude of son preference and improve the awareness of the general public

    – The principle should also be reflected in specific social & economic policies to protect the basic rights of women and children, especially female children

    – Govt. regulations prohibiting the use of prenatal sex identification techniques for nonmedical purposes, dowry and compulsory education for all should be strictly enforced, and violators should be punished (unless the mindset changes, law enforcers will continue to be lenient)

    Me – I agree Sraboney! I think media should be made more responsible – the stuff we see being propagated is unbelievably regressive.

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  4. IHM, whenever a woman has stood up for another woman in the family, things have moved forward for women. Of course, that confidence to stand up comes from being educated , and having the ability to earn a living of sorts. This also, grudgingly earns her some respect from the males.

    In some societies, education for women is deliberately downplayed. Other issues like the gotra stuff is highlighted, and the community hold over the girl’s future is ensured.

    The reality is, that aversion to the girl child will go, only when she is seen to “benefit” a family. For that education and some skills training is required.

    Currently, some societies ensure that this never happens, and subjugation of women is perpetuated. Its like the hare and tortoise doing a race in a circle. If we paid half the attention to education of the girl child, and health of the girl child, than we do to things like IPL , fights between Ambani brothers, and corrupt netas, we would get somewhere.

    Me – Nothing to add Suranga!!!! I strongly feel, “The reality is, that aversion to the girl child will go, only when she is seen to “benefit” a family. For that education and some skills training is required. ”

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  5. Why girl child is not preferred or other way around why boy is preferred..

    1. Boy helps in growing the family tree…
    2. Boy will take care till the parents die….though this myth should have broken by now…
    3. easy to bring up a boy with less tensions…( dont have to bother if boy is dropped last in sch bus..hmm)
    4. girl anyway does not belong to this family…one day she will fly…
    5. Plus the expense part..

    simple terms inherent liking to a boy ..more so with mothers? ( may be she does not want her daughter to struggle like her)

    but tell me, is dowry problem is teh same what itw as 20 yrs back? i dont think so…..with globalisation etc, definetly we have seen lot of improvements…specially with lot of females who are self reliant…

    the good thing to me is, you see improvement day by day…

    Me – Sunder inherent liking for boy babies is simply to feel proud and secure, I don’t think mothers actually prefer either gender if the social conditioning wasn’t there.

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    • I can’t understand this longing for perpetuating the family name…We’ll be dead and gone, so how does it matter if our name is carried on or not? Anyway, why is the name so important? Most of us are ordinary, so what’s so great about our name? Genes get diluted anyway, why does the name have to stay?

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    • Why doesn’t the girl belong to ‘this’ family? If belonging to a family is based on genetics, then ‘this’ family is certainly where the girl belongs!

      Me – Why is this so difficult for a majority of people to understand? Because it is actually believed that genes pass on from the sons, ‘that’s the way it has always been.’

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  6. Its very cheap to think girls as a burden to their family,and selling them as of the goods.
    by this they are degrading the purity of marraige.
    only when the society is thinking that the girl baby is very precious automatically all the problems in the society comes to an end

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  7. I’ve never agreed to the fact that boy babies are superior to girl ones. Maybe its becos, my parents never treated us differently. Actually, made my brother do all that we do and vice versa. So, its shocking to know that many of them in our own relatives circle, prefer baby boys. And they were silently regretting to have a girl.

    Now, when I am a mother of two girls, I see those relatives – I find them happy with what their daughters are doing for them, in spite of rejecting them, when they were young. The daughters are doing for their parents, what they thought only a son will do.

    Its been burnt into ppl’s minds for hundreds of years that the male will carry forward the torch of that family. Its not possible to undo them all, in one lifetime of ours. The changes are happening in some cultured families. For these changes to be felt in other places, there needs to be lots of awareness.

    Me – Uma I so agree. All around me I see daughters caring for parents and I hope others are noticing too. Parents are also learning that they do not need to bow down as ladkee-wale (as parents or family of the bride, when she gets married).

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  8. Let me tell you of what is happening in the village near our home. A girl (Gujjar) eloped with a man (Gujjar again) from the neighboring village. Now both the villages are neighboring ones and it is decreed that they will not have marriage rishtas. Yesterday the panchayat along with the local MP (all belonging to the girls Gotra) came and ordered all the village (belonging to boy’s gotra) to produce the girl and boy within two days failing which they would rape/abduct all girls and kill all men. My driver and maid come from this village. For the past two days both of them have been bringing their daughters to my home while they work. They have no other option. The girls are just objects to be punished since they belong to this village – this is the status of girls …. just things to be raped and revenged upon since they belong to a particular community and village. …..

    I dont think the girl and boy will live long. I hope the daughters of these two persons escapes without any harm.

    This is 21st century Haryana …

    Me – this is so horrible!!! These people should be caught and punished. Hats off to those who still manage to defy this … but where and how do these people have so much time, inclination and motivation to find and kill the young couple… from the threat it’s obvious what kind of mindset such people have.

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  9. The attitude that Beta will become ‘budhape ka sahara’ after all the girl is ‘Paraya Dhan’ is the root of all the problems.
    Also, the problem lies in the fact that most people are so hung up on a girls virginity before marriage that if god forbid she is raped or has an affair…then she becomes tainted.

    Me – I agree Lazy Pineapple, if she was a valued member of the society, this would have been no issue, we would have said, ‘Women will be women”.

    Having a Hymen that breaks and a womb that carries a child works against her…
    Men are not stuck with a baby…they can walk away any time..

    Me – This too could have empowered her – like Kunti, she could have chosen the best genes for each baby. She would have been able to negotiate better child care too.

    Also age old customs of Dowry are so evil…ughh..I wonder how educated people still ask for it..
    makes me so angry…

    Me – If girl children were valued their parents would have refused any alliances with dowry demands, instead being worried that the girl might live in ignominy of being unmarried…

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  10. It’s all about Money, honey!!
    Traditionally, men have been the ‘bread-winners’ of a family. Which is why both men and women ‘hold men in high esteem’.
    It is very unfair, though. Because it does take two hands to clap!!!

    It is only now that women are able to go out of the four walls of her house and ‘rake in the moolah’.

    It will take a LONG LONG time to break the mindset and accept the fact that both men and women are EQUALLY important to society!!

    Lovely post, IHM. Very thought provoking!

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  11. I totally agree with Lazy Pineapple’s words where she says that boys are supposed to be caretakers of the old parents and girls are just to be married off with the expense of the dowry and fancy wedding involved.

    Phoenixritu’s news scares me. It’s very shameful that the local MP is also involved in this nonsense issue and went along with the Panchayat to threaten the other village.

    Imagine a world where all the girl babies were killed. What would we do with all men? Someone needs to explain to these primitive stone age folks that their mother was born a girl baby too.

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  12. This is such a deep rooted thing. People still believe that a boy means security in the old age.

    Me – Smitha I feel this is one the main reasons why boy babies are preferred, the parents see the child as an asset to the family.

    As you said, unless the root cause is tackled, cosmetic changes here and there will not help. It does not matter that a girl is ‘allowed’ to work, if she is still considered someone who has to ask for ‘permission’ to work, you know.

    Unless the mindset changes and accepts that a girl and a boy are equals, in the sense that they deserve the same opportunities and rights, and that both genders have an equal and important contribution to the society, things are unlikely to change.

    Me – Can you think of why do parents feel girls are less equal? Does it have something to do with how much her birth benefits the family?

    Infact, just by virtue of the fact that a woman can work, so she should be accorded equal status, is again, I fee,l a cosmetic change. Because by saying that a woman is equal, she can work too, aren’t we saying that when someone is not gainfully employed, they have a lesser contribution to the society?

    I think girl babies being wanted, will come about only when people stop considering that only the bread winner counts. Only the person bringing in the money counts. And once this happens, hopefully people will not have to ‘buy’ bridegrooms to get their daughters married off.

    Me – Smitha but even if a woman is working, the groom’s family is able to demand that any loans taken for her education are cleared before she married, even if she is earning. :\
    What makes a girl’s family accept such terms?

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    • It is so ridiculous, isn’t it? Girls families feel so insecure about having an ‘unmarried’ daughter at home, that nothing matters beyond marrying her off. Unless the concept that a daughter is always ‘parayi’ is not gotten rid off, this will continue.

      I do think it all boils down to money. The fact that a girl means a drain on money while a boy means income, for people who think this way.

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    • I too thing it is redicilous..just look around..you will see more examples of women looking after parents than men…But even then the root cause is said to be women(the wifes)…
      Sometimes I do agree that women is the cause for her own destruction, one for not standing up for her own clan and another for letting the men role the roost…

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  13. Of course it’s a symptom. And if we take the last argument seriously – namely that it’s good for women that there are fewer of them, then by logical extension, it must be bad for men! It’s a zero sum game then…Of course, his logic is flawed because he assumes that women must be empowered if their numbers are low. Reality is the other way around.

    His initial point about using child marriage etc. to denigrate a system of thought is perfectly right though. And it should be that way! Let me change his sentence to show you how it really sounds:

    “The technique of dragging in “Holocaust”, ethnic cleansing, ” spying on citizens“, ‘ gas chambers’ etc., to spurce up ones’ point have been over-used by ‘modern’ ‘historians’ who then denegrate the Nazi culture to peddle their favorite western ideology.”

    Sounds good doesn’t it? 😀 . I mean words like “Holocaust” and “Gas Chambers” have such a negative connotation!

    Me – !!! Exactly!

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  14. “If there is shortage of girls, it means there are more prospective grooms that she can choose from- so she has a good chance of finding a groom suitable to her and her community’s liking, isn’t there ?“- LOL..really, IHM, I feel like laughing at this flow of thought.

    This mindset itself makes it obvious that the reason a girl is brought into this world is to get married off. Her only function in life is to serve her husband and her inlaws and of course deliver them the ‘sons’ who would carry their family name ahead.

    Why cant she be educated and encouraged to make herself financially and emotionally independent in her own right? Why do the parents feel the only way to a secure future of a girl is marriage? The very thought that she is ‘paraya dhan’ wreaks of a materialistic attitude in people.

    The only solution for this age-old regressive thinking is to pluck it out of our minds and start bringing our daughters into this world with a smiling face and not a frown. They are as much a part of our family tree as the sons. They are as much a blessing from God as the sons.

    I hope we realize that soon.

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  15. Yeah, this thought is indeed deep rooted. But IHM, I still feel, there is something about us Indians which makes us different from western ideologies. Opression of women happened in all societies and it gradually was eradicated as societies progressed and became modern. The same is happening with India as well. The evils of Dowry and opression of daughter in laws these days seems to have significantly gone down, at least in the urban educated middle class and upper middle class people. Yes, there is a need to continously hammer it so that even the remaining traces of the same disappear.

    I’m not sure if the commentor meant the same thing but as I’m aware of your thoughts on the Joint family system, I’ve to tell you this:

    I was just in a seminar last month and an economist was speaking about the Indian economy and the recent recession etc. He was a noted speaker but I don’t remember his name now. He mentioned that the worth of the values that support the Indian economy are beyond any measurement. For instance, the western economies spent billions of dollars each year on health care of seniors. In India, this is taken care by the joint family system. The hidden effect this system has on the economy is huge and immeasurable in monetary terms.

    Me – But those who keep this system alive, those who give all their freedom and labour and best years of their life to support this system – are they economically empowered? Aren’t they treated like free labour?
    Their parents, infact still feel vulnerable enough to pay for their keep with their dowries, and they still remain economically totally helpless.
    Most widows end up at their parents place for example. And they can do nothing if the husband is having an affair, or is violent.
    And they are not valued by the family or the society.

    Coming to the human angle, when I was in Switzerland, I met a few Marwadi joint families on holiday there. These days joint families aren’t that lopsided like earlier where everything was controlled by the MIL and the DILs just had to sit and obey. That was when you could say that the girls were being opressed. However, these days, the Joint family dynamics have changed significantly. Though DILs stay together with MILs, they do not seem to be as opressed or as earlier.

    Me – 1. Any oppression, however lesser than earlier, is still bad for the one who is being oppressed Rakesh.
    2. And also consider what hap[pens to those who do not have any sons?
    3. And what about their feelings for their own parents?
    4. Is this system not like slavery? They are given no choice and forced to do something that nobody else wants to do (i.e. live with the spouse’s family and serve them) and they are kept in dependence so that they do not become too modern or too ‘azaad’ (free), or ‘par nikal aye’ (she has sprouted wings) and refuse to follow these rules(which were made without consulting them).
    5. I have friends who are taking care of the elderly – but they live in their own homes, so it is possible for both the partners to take care of both the sets of parents. Isn’t that a better system? (In a normal Joint Family system, there is no way to take care of a daughter in law’s parents)

    You know, how always, I haven’t really got the hang of being against this sytem. I have changed my thoughts a great deal on this as a result of reading your opinions (Like earlier, I seriously thought that If a man had self respect, he wouldn’t overstay at his wife’s house. Yeah, I was ignorant but thanks to you, you’ve made me a JKG :)) But this is one thing that just doesn’t go away. This is one thing that I can’t find serious fault with. Yes, there are small issues but there are small issues everywhere in life and everyones got to deal with them. There are far major benefits as well which cannot be overlooked.

    Me – Rakesh if there are benefits then the women should have no pressure of custom or tradition or family name or society and they should still be willing and glad to have a system like this. Why not make it truly optional for women?

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    • Isn’t it normal to so simply say ‘The evils of Dowry and opression of daughter in laws’? I agree with you, there is something that makes the indian ideology different from western ideologies. And it’s wonderful that we’ve been able to keep this difference. But there was one sentence that caught my eye.

      You said:
      Though DILs stay together with MILs, they do not seem to be as opressed or as earlier.

      ‘As oppressed as earlier.’

      As oppressed?

      While the ‘evils of dowry and oppression of DIL’s’ (how easily we use this phrase!)

      has gone down, it hasn’t gone down significantly. You say it has, in the middle and upper-middle class of our society. I don’t know about that, but I can, with assurity say that it hasn’t gone down in the lower class of our society. And much more than half of our population belongs to this class.
      So has it really gone down significantly?

      Me – Blabberblah the oppression hasn’t really gone down in educated classes either, female foeticide is most common in middle class. Neha Chikkara and thousands more like her die in cities. IN villages one doesn’t even think twice about such cases…

      You call this a small issue and say that there are ‘far major benefits’ and I’m surprised at your optimism!
      If these ‘major benefits’ are for just HALF of the population, then are they really major?
      And these issues are definitely not small.

      Of course economic benefits are great. Absolutely wonderful.
      But the economist who made this impartial and rather clinically detached statement was talking from only an economy point of view. It’s like saying that, since it’s economically more viable to cut trees or use plastic, or kill tigers, lets kill them all. (Bad example, but hopefully, you get what I mean)

      Me – Economic benefits of slavery were great too. And making someone work and live a life without giving letting them see what their options are is slavery

      It all appears hunky-dory when you see a family on holiday, with little kids running around, the DILs laughing and smiling, and MILs reasonably relaxed. But they’re on holiday, remember? What of when they’re cooped together in a hot kitchen in a dusty sweaty summer day (when you could order in food, and maybe spend the afternoon a cool AC room watching TV)?

      Me – I agree. On a hoilday I recently took, we heard some yelling from the next room, in a five star hotel. I thought it was their TV (the sound was faint) . Our friends who had the room on the other side of this room asked us in the evening if we heard a scream – they were worried the woman might have been killed! We saw the family in the evening, all looked a maybe a little stiff, but normal. :\
      The only way to know what a woman in such a situation really feels is when she are a friend she is confiding in, knowing you won’t get into trouble with her in laws or husband.
      So I agree with you Blabberblah.

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      • @IHM: You know, I agree to whatever you say but as I said, there is still something about this system that makes it work and that makes people think that it is a good system. When you say – Why not make it truly OPTIONAL? I think, even if the girl chooses to live in a Joint Family, you’ll put it on years of conditioning rather than thinking that she might really want to live in a Joint Family. No?

        I know, we’ve discussed a number of times on this and the ironic part is I myself stay away from my Mom Dad, (But I do stay with my elder brother and his wife). So I guess, we’ll always agree to disagree.

        @BlabberBlah: Yeah, I think the words didn’t come out right when I said ‘As Opressed’. What I meant is that not as many people are opressed right now, and it does work fine for a lot of people as well.

        And even I thought his statement was clinically detached (Coz. I’ve read IHM’s blog too much :)) but there has to be an iota of truth in what he says if almost all of the 1000 attendees nod in agreement. I couldn’t close my mind and completely ignore it either.

        In the lower class as well, I think there has been significant change. For instance, our maid in India doesn’t really talk about her MIL with contempt. Her husband is no more but she’s still staying with her MIL and her MIL at times almost feels apologetic for being a burden on her DIL. But the fact is, where would she go? I’m not sure if her own mother is alive as yet but if she was, I’m sure she’d be staying with her daughter as well since I’ve seen the lower classes not having such supposed egos. But the point is – Where do elderly people go in a country where people cannot really afford an independent home, which doesn’t have enough old homes, no health care for the poor etc.

        Again this is a contra-argument since I understand that it is equally difficult for someone who doesn’t have any sons. So yes, I whole heartedly agree that Girls should be able to live with and support their parents – This is a better change in society and this is an argument I would happily and willingly support rather than the argument of leaving both sets of parents alone and go along with your life as if we don’t care.

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  16. We need to stop asking the question, “Why people prefer boy child?” That is elementary. Let us instead ask ourselves, “Why are people sustaining such mindset even now ?” People are giving children good academic education but not intellectual freedom to decide their own future. That’s why orthodox traditions are carried very easily in next generation. Inheritance laws in the joint family has contributed lot to the preference of boy child. Now with the nuclear family, its very easy to break away from orthodox thinking.

    Me – Yayaver a lot of people still think Patriarchy which is so biased and opressive to the youth and to women is a good system, because it provides for the care of any parents who have atleast one son.

    We avert girsl because they are considered only as means in family. Always bounded by the narrow definition of four relation : daughter, sister , wife and mother. No body encourage their individuality. This dependency has reduced their stature in the society. Yes, India’s girl child aversion is a symptom, and a result of many other problems.

    Me – Absolutely, they are a means and that too, they are can be replaced or disposed (honor killed, bride burnt, infanticide) if desired.

    I was reading Osho few months ago. I will put down a stanza here, may be not relevant directly to this issue but please provide a feedback. I am still puzzled by it :

    Men are less interested in things than women – why? Because the woman has been
    so repressed down the centuries that she cannot even imagine possessing herself. She has been possessed like a thing; she has been completely dispossessed from her centre, hence she has become so interested in things. She continuously thinks about things: ’Have more money, have a bigger house, have a bigger car, ornaments, jewels, diamonds, this and that… go on having.’ The woman seems to be almost crazy. Why? She has been completely dispossessed by man, she has been thrown off-centre, she has been turned into a thing, so the only way to feel that she is, is to have a fur coat, to have diamonds, to have gold. That is the only way she can have a little feeling that she is also somebody.

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  17. The root for all this IHM?
    Lack of education.
    Sticking to patriarchy in the name of tradition.
    Money( yes, inheritance rules are set thus in order to ensure that certain people who are in power remain there).
    And hypocricy.
    Can we tackle these causes? Maybe not. but we can become aware of them.

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  18. Hi IHM – I read your post and all the comments and just feel really sad and helpless. We’ve all agreed that there is no difference – many of us have been blessed not to be treated differently….but just how do we get our message out? I’m not saying the debate is useless – no, on the contrary, it’s vital…but it has to spread to places like the one Phoenixritu shared about.

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  19. Terrible state of affairs.
    And yea, the attitude is the main problem in this country. that’s where each problem stems from!
    And is even more disheartening to see ppl of our generation revelling in this bad attitude displays. Bah!

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  20. Good read for Indian women:

    Did ‘Sex and the City’ ruin you, too?

    How did we let a sitcom convince us that self-indulgence and designer clothes were every woman’s right?

    Me – I think Saas Bahu serials do a lot of damage not ‘Sex and the city’. (I haven’t checked the link and I thought the show was quite harmless). Though I can understand why the show bothers a lot of people… including those who think sex, money and self indulgence or self reliance are ‘reserved’ for men.

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  21. A lot is written and spoken about this topic. What stumps me the most is the fact that this preference for boys is equally prevalent in Metros like Delhi. Rather there is a higher incidence of female infanticide with upper middle class and upper class in cities like Delhi. They have all the requisite resources to teach, nurture and give sound upbringing to a girl. They have the money for dowry, resources to fetch good education, platform to create a sound woman for society.
    In spite of all this, they do not prefer girls. Why? The mindset of boy carrying the family TORCH (whatever that means, may be Bajajs will cease to exist on planet if a boy is not delivered.and a girl will simply be married into some other name.)
    I have seen many educated families sighing heavily at birth of a baby girl. “Hamein toh koi bhi chalega. Ladka ya Ladki!Par ladka hota to aur khushi hoti.”
    HYPOCRITES, is all I will say.

    Ladies and Gentleman, Brothers and Sisters, if you have a girl child, arm her with good education (not literacy), teach her some form of self defense, help her emerge into a strong, independent woman. For I strongly believe that a sounds society can be create only with meaningful contribution from woman.

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  22. Being born in a family with more girls as children than boys, I will have to disagree that there is an aversion for Girl Child where I was born! In Kerala, I think this is not much of an issue as in other parts. There is no open demand for dowry here, just subtle ones. And most parents who value their daughters ignore such proposals.

    I agree that, the respect given to a woman in society and at home, just because she “rakes in the moolah” is not a good trend at all. SHE has always contributed to the society. Infact SHE has MADE the society.

    We take pride in saying that we take care of our parents more than the sons. Have we ever thought that the reason behind the SON not taking care of his parents, is generally the WIFE. Who is also a woman!

    What we need is a total revamp of the situation.

    1. All women should get equal oppurtunity for eduction. (With the trend that colleges are following now, I don’t think even the men can BUY good education these days)

    2. All women should get equal oppurtunity for employment. (With so many jobless men walking around, is that possible?)

    3. All women should be provided with free of cost and hassle free maids to take care of the kids. Grandmoms need their rest too!!!(Since moms are held responsible for the kids, working or non-working)

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    • Jyothi,

      3.

      All women should be provided with free of cost and hassle free maids to take care of the kids. Grandmoms need their rest too!!!

      So who will take care of the kids of these free maids??? Aren’t these maids going to be women and mothers?? Wont they need rest and respite. So you mean to say only middle class working women need to have help not the underprevileged women. May be the idea is working as maids will enable them to feed their kids……..

      Yes, it will indeed. But their young daughters will act as little mothers for their siblings and house keepers for absent mothers who will care for other people’s kids by compensating with their education to make time for these duties…….

      Is it not a time we start asking men to share their of childcare and house keeping. How long are we women planning to ride on the backs of less previleged women.

      When I write this I am standing on the shoulders of all the domestic helps my mother could ever employ while she was working to free me of doing chore so that I could work on my schooling.

      For a larger debate see the discussion between Desi Girl and Gori Girl

      http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/desi-parenting-raising-confused-daughters/

      Peace,

      Desi Girl

      Me – Couldn’t agree more Desi Girl. Thanks for responding.

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  23. its all in the genes of the people… the things they hear from the childhood makes the people believe that a boy is better than girl which is not true… 😦

    Like

  24. Totally agree. You know, I was about to be married to a guy (was almost manipulated into engagement and had to refuse right on the day of engagement upsetting a lot of people) who had 4 elder sisters. My family was totally gaga over that fellow. Good looks, good education, great family, great job and no bad habits. But I had such a nagging feeling about his 4 elder sisters. His parents obviously had 4 daughters in order to have a son. If they don’t value daughters, chances that they would value their DIL was remote. Thankfully, I did not end up there.

    Me – “His parents obviously had 4 daughters in order to have a son.” – I agree.

    Like

    • Tomboy,

      Congratulations!

      For listening to your heart and logic and not caring what faceless strangers or even what relatives would say.

      I could not call it quits coz’he was a brother and sister like me and my bro. But their standars were different for daughter and DIL. The daughter was treated as spoiled brat rather say devi and DIl was considered outsider to be kicked out.

      You made a very strong point but. In the folk wisdom I have heard people would not marry their daughters into a house hold that had too many sisters coz’ it was believed the guy will be busy doling out too much on these sisters on various occassions and not have enough to raise hs own family.

      Once again, your story needs to be retold empteen times toall young women.

      Peace,

      Desi Girl

      Like

  25. @Desi Girl and IHM :

    “Is it not a time we start asking men to share their of childcare and house keeping. How long are we women planning to ride on the backs of less previleged women”

    You have a point there regarding the maid. But, I was being sarcastic. Its highly impossible to get a free of cost and hassle free maid! Maybe robots might serve that purpose in future, with just the initial buying and maintenance cost. 🙂

    So your solution is men sitting at home and taking care of the kids! For the life of me , I don’t know how a set of parents, however helping hubby would be, can raise a child and work at the same time without outside help. Creche and nursery you mean? Honestly, I don’t know a solution to this.

    Read ur post on confused girls. I am sure every guy too has a different story to tell, nobody ever has a perfect childhood or teenage. The parents mentality then was, especially a father’s, that the son has to at some point earn a living for his new family. So arm him with everything they can. Daughters now are given oppurtunity to basic education, but how many will send their girls to far away places for further education or employment, even if they can afford it? The mentality has to change, like someone said, even if the girl is raped or not a virgin, she should be treated as a normal person.

    In peace too 🙂
    Jyothi.

    Like

    • Joythi,

      Lets begin with replacing our words. “Maid” seems someone serving the master; I guess domestic help represents some what equal footing. As it means the employer needs the help as much the helper needs the job.

      Jyothi: So your solution is men sitting at home and taking care of the kids!…

      DG: You twisted my words. I did not say men sit at home and do baby sitting. I clearly said it is high time women start demanding father of their kids to share parenting duties.

      Jyothi: For the life of me , I don’t know how a set of parents, however helping hubby would be, can raise a child and work at the same time without outside help.

      DG: Exactly as many couples in the US are doing. There are thousands of couples who cannot afford to pay child care, they take turns to baby sit and do chores and work in shifts. If one is choosing to be a middle class parent then they should also be willing to let go of some middle class previlege.

      Jyothi: I am sure every guy too has a different story to tell, nobody ever has a perfect childhood or teenage.

      DG: You lost the point about the “Confused Daughters.” The article focused on how subtle is the gender discrimination in educated families that it is even difficult to lay a fingure on it. A generation of parents is claiming modernity by educating and letting daughters work out of homes but still wants to preserve tradition that rests on the bodies of women be it virginity or attire.

      I did not see any sarcasm in your comment, you clearly enumerated your arguments. Now calling it a sarcasm is like minimizing a lesser point you made.

      About the parents sending daughters to study and work away from home, greater number of women from conserative families are doing so, take a look at calls centers. The question again remains is how they want women to preserve the traditions that oppress women.

      http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2010/06/20/a-desi-dad-human-to-the-core/

      Even in Kerela crime against women is on increase and dowry being one of them.
      http://sakhikerala.org/Status%20of%20Women%20in%20Kerala%20.html

      Joythi: The mentality has to change, like someone said, even if the girl is raped or not a virgin, she should be treated as a normal person.

      DG: Mentality is not weather that it will change on its own. Each one of us has to do our share. Change begins with me. Let me not gossip. Let me not treat a rape victim like a lesser being, let me confront anyone I know is gossiping or treating another person inhumanly and so on…

      Peace,

      Desi Girl

      Like

  26. 🙂 This discussion will never end. 🙂 Sorry IHM…. 😦

    @ Desigirl(DG)
    I read the article on domestic violence on the increase in Kerala. It could be true, since there are statistics to prove it. But, have you wondered why the violence occurs?
    It’s when a woman tries to defy her husband or her in laws or her parents and tries to make a reform in her life. I am paying homage here to these women who live in mental stress and undergo torture, and bring forward these cases to the public. It’s such actions and the support they get from other women which creates a revolution. Nothing short of a revolution will change the male mentality!

    DG: they take turns to baby sit and do chores and work in shifts. If one is choosing to be a middle class parent then they should also be willing to let go of some middle class previlege.
    Jyothi: I didn’t quite understand this. Middle class privilege? Where does class play a role here? The situation of women is the same in every strata of society. Just some are more polished than the others!
    Where I live, and I am sure in India too, most companies don’t work in shifts. Not all can work at Call Centers! Children will definitely be affected either way!

    I don’t think any woman(or man), educated or not educated, will ever look down upon a rape victim. But moral less girls (or guys for that matter), it’s a different thing all together. I would love the revolution to empower woman(or man) to be able to make their own choices, but not to adopt western animal culture.

    I can suggest only immediate viable solutions that sound logical to me. Its baby steps towards revolution in this case.

    Anyways, my main point was that woman should be considered important even if she is a housewife. She is contributing to society and always has been. So I don’t agree with the fact that woman should work out off home to be part of this revolution for woman’s empowerment.

    In total peace,
    Jyothi

    Like

    • Jyothi,

      I am sorry doing this on another person’s blog. I guess you need to do some homework before you make flat statements. I guess we all are guilty of that. At times we think being Indian we qualify to make statements about India that are not even factual or at other times we assume we are expected to know every thing Indian and about India just because we are Indians. So is the case of women and their problems. We are women so we ought to know every thing under the sun that ails women. But is more than what is visible to eye.

      Jyothi: why the violence occurs?

      DG: Because a person or a group of people assume they have a legitimate right or are entitled to and have power supported by law or culture to control the actions of another person or group. Be it upper castes perpetrating violence against Dalits on the pretext of fetching water from the community well or men beating their spouses for they did not do exactly what they wanted them to. Think would a man beat his subordinate at work because he did not meet the project deadline or follow the instruction.

      A man beats his spouse because he knows he can get away with it without any penalties rather the system/culture will support him. Remember, THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR VIOLENCE.

      A man/men make cat call at women or rape women because
      1). they think women are like objects and they can do what ever they want,
      2). know they can get away with it because culture will stigmatize the woman if she reports it and
      3). the law will support him as it will ask what was woman doing at that hour of time, has she slept with other men in the past or what ever else…

      Now about intimate violence against women, it is also called domestic violence because it occurs within the confines of homes, an assumed to be a safe space. Any violence is a learned behavior all genders are capable of committing it. More men abuse other men (refer general crime stats in any country) and also a greater number of women (through intimate partner violence) and some women also abuse both men (fewer in number than men abusing women) and other women (refer desi households).
      http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/2009/11/28/desi-in-laws-wedging-a-psychological-warfare-against-bahus/

      Jyothi: Nothing short of a revolution will change the male mentality!

      DG: Totally agree with you. Nanak, Jesus, Gandhi, Buddha all failed to generate compassion in the heart of patriarchal system for women and under privileged people only you dreaming of a revolution will definitely do it (pun intended and no apologies)

      REVOLUTION BEGINS WITH ME. Start confronting your own biases. I have problems with obesity (I constantly struggle with weight but at times I still feel fat people are slaves to their emotions so they over eat or they are just lazy where as the fact his some people have genetic disposition for fat or are dealing with some health issue that makes them fat). Challenge the male preferential treatment and rituals in your family and circle of friends. If a man cracks a mother-in-law or bad woman joke snub him at the same time. Initiate a discussion what prompted him to say such a bad joke. Confront anyone who uses MF, SF or what ever abusive and cuss words they are using? Ask the why not BF, FF??

      Jyothi: Middle class privilege? Where does class play a role here? The situation of women is the same in every strata of society.

      DG: This is your middle class privilege speaking. How can you and the domestic help you employ have same issues. Some of your issues could be similar but never same. Like wise a manager and peon cannot have same issues but many similar issues like being late to work. The boss was late due to high traffic or his car broke where is a peon is late because the bus was too full and he/she could not board it or the bus just did not show up. But people are worried about the education of their kids.

      You wake up every morning. Jump in the bath for a quick shower the running water in the tap refreshes you. You dry your hair with a hair dryer because you have electricity if there is a power outage then you have a inverter or generator. You dress up in a crisp saree, salwar kameez or business suit that may be you did not iron your self. You have breakfast at the table that is made on LPG stove. Then you pick car or scooter keys and zoom out of the door.

      During all this you also got your kids dressed for school packed their lunches and shoved them into school bus or drove them to school. And your male spouse just read the newspaper or may be helped you but not as much you wanted. Or he still has a hangover from last night and when on high he said some thing mean to you or even hit you.

      Now about the domestic help you employ or the female construction worker who constructed the building where you sat and typed this comment.

      She wakes up before the sun rises because she has to find some privacy some where on the railway track to relieve herself. Then to clean herself and have some drinking water for the family she has to wait in line at the community tap or walk few miles to fetch some water on her head. The she has to feed herself and her kids she either depends on kerosene stove or fuel wood that she has to find in the concrete jungle. It will definitely take more time for her to prepare a meal than it took you. You may say you have seen many slums have LPG stoves, refrigerators and TVs. So?? Would you like to live there?? 🙂 Back to the chronology of events if she is domestic help she has to reach work before memsahiba leaves. If she is a construction worker then she has to be even earlier because the contractor may not give her a day labor or someone who just came from village will grab her job. She still has work to do at home, clean and get her kids ready to go to school (if they even go)If they are very young a construction worker will put them in the on site crèche (not all places have crèches)that we middle class people operate for their benefit and pat our backs. If she is a domestic help her employer will not like her to bring her kids to work so who will mind them may be her minor daughter who is little older than her siblings. She’ll do the chores and may be go to the anaganwadi or even the afternoon school. where she’ll fall asleep because she is tired and has had not enough sleep and the teacher will say she is good for nothing. She’ll flunk and the school will chuck her out. Here goes her chances of bright future an education will bring now she is all good to fill her mother’s shoes as a domestic help when she retires. Think, will this ever happen to your daughter? will you let this happen to her?? 🙂

      Also, remember her husband is drunk, shares no chores or parenting responsibilities rather shouts, yells and hits her. Here you and she are on the same page. So what has class to do with it??

      If she were from your class she won’t be dealing with all the things I enumerated above and also the spousal abuse.

      Yes, children are affected in both the classes because men are not sharing their share of parenting duties and women are tired and they can do only as much.

      http://educationandclass.com/2008/05/16/middle-class-privilege/

      I could not find anything Indian context appropriate other than this:

      http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Talking_about_Consumption__How_an_Indian_Middle_Class_Dissociates_from_Middle-Class_Life.pdf

      Jyothi: Where I live, and I am sure in India too, most companies don’t work in shifts. Not all can work at Call Centers! Children will definitely be affected either way!

      DG: Yes, you are right. No shift work for most middle class Indians. There were no childcare options and maternity leave privileges in India but women raised voice and got it implemented. Start talking to your friends facing similar situation. Unite talk to your employers. Under the UN and ILO Convention they are bound by law if they are ISO 500 companies. Even the smaller ones with 25 or more employer have to follow some laws. But it is too much work besides coming to 9 to 5 job and taking care of house hold so you or I will not do it. We’ll wait for women laborer’s to go on strike and fight for our rights (that is the history of International Women’s Day).

      Jyothi: I don’t think any woman (or man), educated or not educated, will ever look down upon a rape victim. But moral less girls (or guys for that matter), it’s a different thing all together.

      DG: That is why educated people have been debating on internet in English how characterless was Nirupama for getting pregnant.

      http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?ucpg=3&cp-documentid=3884704#uc2Lst

      https://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/no-second-chances-for-an-indian-daughter/

      Jyothi: I would love the revolution to empower woman (or man) to be able to make their own choices, but not to adopt western animal culture.

      DG: The internet you used to present your views here came from west. The printing press that contributed to India’s independence was a product of west. So what is this western animal culture?? West gave us the idea about maternity leaves for working women, women representation in the leadership positions and education on and on… So what is this animal culture?? 🙂 Rapes, as if they never happened in India before MTV. Yeh, sure we forced the rapist to marry the raped and declared it Rakshesa Vivah. Great. (I will not elaborate on this please do a google search.) What happened during the 1947 roits, Godra roits were they west influenced?? What happened to all those women?? So many of them committed suicides because of stigma and they way there are taught a once raped a woman life is not worth living.

      Jyothi: But moral less girls (or guys for that matter), it’s a different thing all together.

      DG: What is moral?? What was moral 60 years ago is all upside down today. A Hindu man deserting his wife to beget a son in order to secure a place in heaven is moral. Now after 1956 Marriage Act his place in heaven has been curtailed as he can’t dump her on this pretext. Teens having sex is a moral issue but child marriage and teen wives having kids is ok?? Is the bond of marriage cure and cover all?? Bigamy is a problem but man visiting sex workers or raping a domestic help is ok because it is not visible to all. What is hidden is not a problem until it is exposed. Lets shove the dirt under the carpet.

      So morally a prostitute cannot be raped because that is her work. But doesn’t she have a right to say NO?

      Jyothi: I don’t agree with the fact that woman should work out off home to be part of this revolution for woman’s empowerment.

      DG: That is the whole point of this exercise. Women’s domestic work should be respected. It should be a woman’s choice if she wants to stay at home and raise kids or should go to work outside the home. If a woman is poor she has to work to feed her kids then it is not a choice it is poverty directing her actions. You and I can have that privilege but not a very large majority of Indian women. UmaS had a choice how many women will have that option??

      http://umsreflections.wordpress.com/2010/06/19/i-am-not-guilty-anymore/

      The whole idea is to treat women as Humans and supporting them in their parenting roles. Women do not get pregnant out of vacuum. Men are responsible for making babies so they should be shouldering the parenting duties. They don’t because we haven’t made that demand strongly rather we have employed other less privileged women to do father or husband’s job minus coitus.

      I guess this is done here if you have any questions please leave a comment at:

      http://girlsguidetosurvival.wordpress.com/

      IHM,
      Apologies for this on going discourse with one person, now on I am taking this discussion to my blog.

      Peace,

      DG

      Like

  27. >>”Somebody I was in a discussion with, seems to think we can solve problems while we cherish and protect what’s causing them”

    Did you clarify with him/her, whether what ‘seemed’ to you was really so ?

    >>“He says, “The technique of dragging in ‘unhappiness’, ‘girl baby killing’, ‘bride beating’, ‘mental torture’ etc., to spurce up ones’ point have been over-used by ‘modern’ ‘liberals’ who then denegrate the indigenous culture to peddle their favorite western ideology.”

    Female foeticide is not supported by bharatiya samskriti, which actually worships feminine shakti. Kali devi, Durga devi, Saraswati devi, Shiva in Ardhanareeshwara form, Manasadevi, Lakshmi devi, all exemplify the greatest respect that bharatiya parampara gives to shakti.

    So to use cases of female foeticide to denegrate the indigenous culture bharatiya samskriti is devious.

    If some people do not want girl child, the reason for that lies elsewhere, not in bharatiya samskriti or darshana.

    Me – Incognito – Do you think worshiping these goddesses has made India value it’s daughters? Do you know until – let me see, when I heard last – 1960s, and still later, early 1980s, girl baby killing was not unheard of even in villages around Gurgaon? A young friend remembers how her mother was advised by her in laws to ‘tentua daba de’ because she was the second daughter – she is only 32 now, so you know how recent this was.
    Denying a problem exists does not solve it. If we love our culture we must make sure it remains worth loving. A flowing river remains clear, stagnant waters stink – shouldn’t customs and traditions change with time?
    Have you ever wondered why we do not like girl children in India? I would like to know what you think is the reason if it is not in our culture of blessing, “May you have many sons”, “may you be a mother of many sons”, and of Gandhari and Savitri asking for a hundred sons? Why do we think sons carry the family name when we have an example like Indira Gandhi? I would like to know why do you think we dislike baby girls.

    >>>“Here’s an example of how seriously girl baby aversion is taken, he says,“If there is shortage of girls, it means there are more prospective grooms that she can choose from- so she has a good chance of finding a groom suitable to her and her community’s liking, isn’t there ?“

    Was the discussion about girl baby aversion ?
    or was that a response to your wild prediction that “Haryana might see more such killings(resulting from sagotra marriage) because now there is a shortage of girls” ?

    That statement, meant to bring out the inconsistency in your that baseless conclusion, you misrepresented as ‘supportive of girl baby aversion’.

    Was that deliberate ?

    >>>” In Haryana, with the worst gender ratio in India, girls are married (sold) to more than one brother in a family, wives are also ‘bought’ from North East and Kerala.

    Have you ascertained such is the case in every Haryana family, before you thus besmirch entire Haryana and its people ?

    Me – Incognito does is make it better if a certain percentage of families have to buy partners for their male children because of skewed gender ratio ? Even if one baby girl is killed and others are brought up with discrimination, the life for a girl remains equally sad. Rajasthan has a longer and better known history of killing baby girls, and there are villages that have no seen a ‘baraat’ coming for years – but Haryana and UP do not have any more respect for female babies than Rajasthan does. The killing is only a sympton of general disrespect.

    >>>“Do you agree that India’s girl child aversion is a symptom, and a result of many other problems?

    “India’s girl child aversion” ?

    India‘s girl child aversion” ?

    INDIA’s ?

    Apparently you lost your self-esteem in the classrooms where you learnt Macaulay’s lessons.
    If so, you are seeking to gain it in the wrong way. Denegrating your culture or your country will only make it worse for you. and your children.

    Me – Can you say that Indians like to have daughters? Do you live in India?
    Have you ever heard a newly wed woman being blessed with ‘May you have many daughters”?
    Have you ever been to a hospital where new born babies are born – seen how the families treat mothers of sons and mothers of daughters?
    Have you met pregnant women worrying whether they would have a son or not?

    dhanyavaad, namaste

    Like

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