Recent report published in ‘ The Economist’ once again raises a serious concern on India’s deteriorating sex ratio. It is ironical and sad that in a primarily Hindu nation this is the case. As per Hindu mythology the three most important areas viz-education, finance and security are assigned to the three Goddesses -Saraswati, Laxmi and Durga. These are perhaps the most important domains of public life.
A nation that is seeped in spirituality and provides solution to unrest in the mind of many people from the western world. Here we have thousands of gods and goddesses worshiped all over India. There is a strong sense of belief in Goddesses especially. Whether it is a firm faith in Durga-Puja in West Bengal or making a pilgrimage to Himalayas for Devi-Darshan the fervor is as high as ever. All over India Hindus have a great regard for the Navratras (Ten days of worshiping Goddess Durga that comes twice in a year). On conclusion of these days there is a ritual of doing Puja of Kanjak Devis (little girls in the family or from the neighborhood are treated as Goddess to seek their blessings)
I fail to understand the Hindu mind that could worship Devi in the temple and believe in its power to provide but not in the girl child. Sometimes I feel that this preference is high primarily in some of the Northern States. Here I can’t help ignoring the influence of the mughal rule as well as neighbors like Pakistan. If we delve deep then these are the parts of India where even today we find a lot of co-relation with the Muslim culture. Not excluding the effect of India’s own Muslim population as well.
It is a hard fact that in India girls till date are considered more as a liability whether for educated or uneducated parents. Whereas boys are the breadwinners and hope for the future. Even though the ritual of dowry has been abolished but the wedding expenses are still done by the girl’s parents. So it is not only the wedding but the groom search which is again a difficult process. To sum up a girl is a vain investment – right from the beginning on her upbringing and education then her marriage till she dies even her last rites. Along with there is a responsibility that she remains chaste till she gets married. In comparison to boys girls are considered as a source of worry.
On the other hand Hindus have a deep rooted fate in the power of Durga to heal and lead to miracles but never believe that their girl can also perform and provide for them during their old age. If given the opportunities and right upbringing they can outdo the boys. It is a fact that a daughter shares a stronger bond with her parents. Someone has well said ,”a son is son till he gets his wife while a daughter remains a daughter till the end of her life”.
Whatever the case be, the decline is sex ratio is a serious concern because a society can not progress with an imbalanced population. The preference for a girl child is as good as for a boy child. Both contribute in making of future generations. Education alone can not resolve this problem. The need of the hour is along with education there must be equal opportunities for work and rights to expression. Only this can eliminate the tag of liability associated with girls and make their birth a reason for happiness not sorrow.
It is not for nothing that the three most important domains of public sphere are given to Goddesses and not Gods because they are certainly better at managing things in general.