Thursday, December 30, 2010

Daughters A `Liability'?

In India, all women must confront the cultural pressure to bear a son. The consequences of this preference is a disregard for the lives of women and girls. From birth until death they face a constant threat of violence. See the project at

By Manuwant Choudhary

A judge of India's Supreme Court Gyan Sudha Mishra in her declaration mentioned her daughters marriage as a `liability' Indian newspapers screamed `Daughter As Liability.'

A closer look and maybe its hard to accept this fact but in India daughters are looked upon as a liability irrespective of the women's reservations in parliament and irrespective of the fact that India's most powerful politicians are women....and they are without reservations. Sonia Gandhi, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, J. Jayalalitha.....Brinda Karat.

India's leader of opposition is also a woman Sushma Swaraj.

India's speaker in Lok Sabha is Meera Kumar.

India's President is Pratibha Patil.

Yet, since 1980 there are some 40 million women missing in India by way of murders, trafficking or just plain ill-treatment.

So Sudha Mishra's admission is just bringing this very hard reality into the public domain.

What really drives this anti-women cultural phenomenon in India..if you understand Indian society you will see the desire to bear sons is because sons mean more dowry..while a daughter means you pay her a son is an `asset' while a daughter a `liability'.

So what do governments do..they ban dowry.

Anyone found giving or taking dowry is put behind bars. But it doesn't stop simply because of greed and also because giving gifts is a human need. Its the demand for it thats really the cancer.

In that case the Supreme Court judge also can be charged under the Dowry Act.

I once visited a prison in Bihar and was shocked to find so many women prisoners. Surely, Bihar could not have so many Phoolan Devi' I inquired from them as to what brought them here..and their reply was that they were falsely implicated under the Dowry Act.

I saw women had small babies in prison and the state did not provide them with milk or food or even some recreation simply because there was no allocation.

My story on NDTV compelled the government to provide for children born and living in India's prisons although they had not committed any crime.

I am actually against declarations because they don't mean a thing.

For example Laloo Prasad Yadav would classify his daughters as `assets' because the public love him so much that for his daughters weddings he gets crores of rupees and gifts from the public. And the taxmen accept this view.

Laws cannot stop anything.

Even socialist land ceiling laws do not allow for women to be considered as a unit in the family, so when you have laws that encourage only sons you will get this kind of India - an India of men.

I hate it.

(will Vogue Commission me to do stories on all the beautiful women of the world?)

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