Keeping it Within the Family

Allow me to introduce you to my sister. Her name is Dr. Sameera Ganti, and she is indeed a medical graduate. From India. The land, if you recall, from which the atrocities of misogyny seem to never stop. It may seem a little harsh to call it misogyny, but to some extent I think that this issue has a basis in that.

She was angry about the incident, and in her frustration she wrote an article which I believe expresses these thoughts better than I can. Having asked her permission, I now present it to you in its full form.

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“The rules are different. You are a girl.”

It is illegal in India, for a doctor to reveal the sex of the unborn child to the parents. When I tell this to my friends from other countries, it shocks them.  They cannot understand such a strange law. The words “female foeticide” are uttered and there is an uncomfortable silence.

Grown men have wept when they have been handed female bundles of joy, because that is not what they wanted. Then there were those that just turned and walked away as I held out their daughters for a first look.

“Nannagey maga beku Madam, magalu beda.”- Women who used to come for their antenatal checkups, in Moodabidri, a rural town in Southern India. Translated; I want a son Madam. I don’t want a daughter.

(Mother) India where people, men and women alike, worship Goddess Lakshmi for riches and prosperity; Goddess Saraswathi for knowledge and wisdom; Goddess Kali for courage, is the not the best place for a woman to be born. The irony is evident.

Don’t go out after dark, Beta. Don’t wear sleeveless clothes, Darling. Ladies do not drink; it sends the wrong signal to men. Be careful how you speak to men, lest you seem “bold”.  Clubs are for “loose” women who are asking for trouble. This is India, you cannot do as you please.  You will only understand when you have a daughter.

Would I want a girl child if I was in India?

I would carry her for 9 months, my love for her already overwhelming me. Her father and I would plan for her future, save for her, and prepare our little world for her. We would pray for her to come safely into this world.

When she is born, we would be amazed at the miracle that it takes to produce a perfectly formed human being. We would feed her, worry about her, love her, be obsessed by her. Everything she does would be a source of joy. Our lives would become about her.

She would grow up, becoming her own person with have dreams and aspirations for a future. She would work towards making a difference in the world, in her own little or big ways. She would become an artist, a lawyer, a dancer, a mother, a chef, a pilot-anything she wanted to be.

She would meet someone who loves her and she can share a life with. She herself would have children and we would feel that we have left a small mark in this big world.

Or

She would become a statistic or a name to be remembered because of the atrocities that were inflicted upon her.

  • Dec 22, 2012 -A 3-year-old raped in play-school in Delhi.
  •  Dec 29, 2012-Incidents of crime against women, which included chain snatching, molestation, kidnapping and murders, were reported in Pune.
  • – http://www.hum-coolie.com-There are estimated to be over 900 000 sex workers in India. 30% are believed to be children. Recent reports estimate that the number of children involved in prostitution is increasing at 8 to10% per annum.
  • Dec 18 2012- 23-year-old woman is savagely attacked and raped by a group of men inside a moving bus and her male friend is beaten up senselessly
  • Nov 27, 1973- Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse at King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEM), Parel, was sexually assaulted by ward boy Sohanlal Bhartha Walmiki, now in a vegetative state
  • January 11, 2011-Dr Mahalakshmi Y N was 26 years old when she was attacked by her ex-landlord Chikkabasavaiah on January 11, 2001. Mahalakshmi, who was staying in a rented house in JP Nagar, changed house when Chikkabasavaiah misbehaved with her. She approached police when he did not refund the advance amount. Angry over this, Chikkabasavaiah threw acid on her face while she was walking to her house in the evening. 

I could fill pages with such news and numbers. And what of the incidents that were never reported? Voices silenced because of shame or fear or a quite death.

In light of the recent heinous events, my heart goes out to the parents of “Damini” who were brave enough to bring her into the uncivilised hell that India resembles. Why does India hate its women so much? From Draupadi to Damini, it seems there will always be women who are at the mercy of men in India. If a female child is unsafe in the womb, what chance does she have on the outside? Women in India are not free. They never were. I can only pray and hope that in the future, they will be.”

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I read it and found it to be very well written, and reflective of my views. So here you are, dear readers. An interesting insight into the life of Indian women. Kudos to my sister, for a job fantastically done.

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This entry was posted in Family, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Keeping it Within the Family

  1. Bhavna Ramchandani says:

    Very well written, Dr Sameera Ganti. I like the way you integrated your own experiences as a young Indian woman and as a medical professional in India. I too hope and pray that women in India achieve the freedom that they very rightfully deserve.

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