Think hard. Search every corner of your mind for words that can match this act called female foeticide. Chances are that you may not find one. Female foeticide in India is one such dark realm that words can’t enter.
Words fail because there is no way to explain how the nation continues to be in a self-congratulatory mood when 7,000 female foetuses are eliminated each day (Unicef—State of the World’s Children 2007). Worse still, there is no way to fathom how mothers are turned into killers here, and how suddenly motherly instinct seems like a multi-dimensional deception.
There were a few incidents that took place in mid-2007 that I have never been able to forget.
When Abdul Rahman (52), a village farmer from Andhra Pradesh, took away his two-day-old granddaughter from her mother, he knew exactly where he was headed. For he did not have to dig deep to know why he despised the little one and at the same time, was able to despite all women in her. Had it not been for that tiny hand sticking out of the freshly dug grave asking for life, perhaps no one would have known how this angel survived despite all the efforts of the criminal.
A few days later, we heard the news from Nayagarh in Orissa where over 30 female foetuses, packed in polythene bags, were taken out of a well. False dismay, heartless rhetoric, and shoddy efforts to arrest the killers followed as usual.
These deeply criminal deeds, too difficult to conjure up for even those dark and demonic forces of the subterranean world, came so easily to the killers that they could wash their hands of the entire mess with just a shallow pit or careless dumping. For them, these little ones are not beings, but some insignificant, tiny biological occurrences with jerking gestures struggling to create an illusion that they exist, deserve a life—howsoever absurd, like all other things in life.
So no wonder why one does not need to dig hard—a mere scratch on the surface reveals these horrors. Until another inadvertent digging, these abandoned images deflect, float into the distance, and sink into the oblivion pointing a finger at the feeling we have in great surplus in this son-hungry country: heartlessness.
But what this benighted land does not realise is, buried though, these mutilated images will remain as relics to remind us of the blighted civilisation we have become; the abandoned cemetery that we fondly tend to—our country.
No one knows how many more have been buried already. But certainly, they are in millions as studies suggest—irrespective of religion, economic status, and geography they belong to.
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