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Why I dread giving birth to a baby girl?
I am pregnant and due to deliver in a few months but I dread giving birth to a baby girl. Not because I don't like little girls; I adore them, they are lovely angels, in fact I had always dreamed to have one; but because of the country and society I live in.

A GIRL in India has to live a tough life. She has to work twice as hard as her male counterpart in to order achieve a similar level of success but nobody recognizes it. She is expected to make sacrifices at each phase of her life and is painted as selfish if she refuses and decides to chase her dreams and aspirations. She is a second hand citizen in her own country and second rated in her own home.

Knowing that, I dread bringing into this world another second rated being. What kind of values would I instill in her during her growing up years...That she would never be able to live life freely...That she would always need to abide by rules in order to survive, let go of her dreams and ambitions many times in her life only to satisfy ego of the men.

And I say this even when I come from an educated background. My father is a professor at one the premier institutes in India. In my family, education was always a means to live a quality life. My father worked hard on me. He was and is my friend, philosopher and guide. He never treated me and my younger brother differently. Though, I had to go by norms of being back to home from school/college/tuitions before dark. The norms which I now understand were for my own safety. At the same time, I was never restricted to participate in events, interviews in other cities and countries if the arrangements were secure.

There was always a perceptible distinction of jurisdiction of work between my mother and my father. My mother used to take care of household chores and my father was responsible for earning money and overall well being of the family. All the while, my mother was hopeful that I would escape her destiny of cooking/cleaning/housework if I make it big through studies.

Under my father's able guidance I was able to crack IIT-JEE. The days at IIT were a song. I believed I could change the course of world. The self belief was so strong. I was empowered through knowledge. I thought that the distinction between men and women occurs only in stories, novels or among uneducated folks. For, in the elite intellectual class, women can be as powerful as men. They are businesswomen, entrepreneurs and trailblazers.

Little did I know that life is going to prove me wrong.

I bagged a job at an MNC and gave my heart and soul to my work. I got well deserved increments and promotions but I often heard that my male counterparts comment that I got good ratings because I was a girl. Ironically, they were the very same people who commented that most women colleagues do not take work seriously. Women employees take offs citing family issues (kids are not well; in-laws have to be received etc). Yet in my case they believed that I was somehow at advantage since I was a girl.

Strangely enough, I could only think of disadvantages. Unlike my male colleagues, I had to be mindful of work to home drop arrangements while putting in extra hours at office. I received unwanted attention and proposals from male colleagues which I had a tough time handling diplomatically. The other colleagues termed me "ambitious" as if it were a derogatory term for women.

I was selected for a long term foreign deputation to work at client site. My male colleagues vying for the same assignment reflected that girls are more "presentable" and good with "customer facing" and therefore are more likely to be selected. What I could not understand how a software professional relying only on his or her brain and technical know how to write codes behind a desktop earn brownie points for being "presentable".

At that time the remarks meant nothing much; they seemed more like frustrated ramblings. But I knew I had more to achieve and concentrated on my aim. I worked for over two years in the US, saving a decent amount which I envisioned would help me help my family and also to self-sponsor my MBA degree.

In the US, I met a person who shared and respected my dreams. He was kind, considerate and endearing. With our parents blessings we got married. That I was to live in a joint family post marriage did not seem to be an issue. I was to live with the man I loved, that was what mattered.

My husband came from an uneducated family and I believed that I would get the love, respect and encouragement just the way I got from my parents. But the perception of new family members was far from being liberal. Women are indeed at the end of social ladder. The food would be served to men folk first and the womenfolk would get the leftovers. The household chores are responsibility of women folk and a working professional like me had a dual role, juggling between office and housework.

Little would anyone realize that I work as hard as my father-in-law, brother-in-law and my husband and draw comparable salary. My work was only seen as a way to supplement my husband's income. It is very difficult for my family members to understand that a woman may work not just to earn money but can derive satisfaction from her work, can love her work and can harbor dreams to achieve more success. My parents- in-law would encourage their sons to do well at work, to spend more time at work. But I have to justify any extra work hours. I am supposed to take leaves for the least important issues.

Let alone work, there are concerns raised I spend time reading a novel or writing articles in spare time. A good daughter-in-law would rather use her spare time gossiping rather than pursuing a hobby.

I tried to reason that this was due to a generation gap between me and my parents-in-laws who are in their early 60s. But the brother-in-law and sister-in-law have a very similar mindset too.

I may have to forgo my dream of pursuing an MBA forever. I have the love and support of my husband but I would never want him to choose between me and his family. He deserves the love and support of his parents and siblings. He deserves to be with them. Family is important and worth making compromises but to direct the brunt only at womenfolk is not fair.

I personally do not despise my in-laws. They are truthful and god-fearing but I despise the mindset. The mindset which has stemmed from age-old value system which may not hold a solid ground today and in future. The mindset of treating women secondary, of stereotyping women, of not giving them their due, of being frightful of their success and intellectual liberation.

If I bear a daughter, what would I tell her? That she may chase her dreams and innocuous hobbies but subject to conditions, limitations, restrictions, bias, prejudices and perceptions.

COMMENTS (20)
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Rohan
All Fake Rape Allegations, courtesy National Law School, Bangalore. Update: There is a a lot of media trial of innocent men accused of dowry harassment and rape cases. Never ever women who filed false cases of dowry harassment or rape are punished, thanks to legal fraternity, lawyers, judges and law colleges. We rarely see lawyers or law students to oppose media trial of men and misandry in media. However, when you show them the mirror and question false cases based on media reports, they will get enraged (as evident in some comments below). They speak of gender equality, then why they presume guilt of men, while they can not presume that women may be lying. National Law School, Bangalore is a premiur law college in India. The main goal of this college is to educate the students to uphold truth and justice in the country. The last thing one would like to see is its students misusing the laws and judicial processes making false allegations or horrendous crimes to score points. The students of premier colleges making false rape allegations are not new. 3 years back, a foreign student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) made serious gang rape allegations on a couple of young fellow students and friends. The accused young boys were sent to prison for many months. After trial, it was conclusively established that the rape allegations are false and the crime has never taken place. Now, can these educational institutions and the entire system undo the damage done to the innocent young men? The whole problem is systemic. These law schools and sociology institutes teach radical versions of feminism and hate against men and society in their curricullum. The young minds are dangerously misled. The young students take the unscientific radical feminist theories as some highly academic theories and this creates intolerance and hostility in them towards men and the whole society. So, they often level false allegations of rape to get back at men and the society. When all accused men in rape cases are presumed guilty by the system, it leaves us with no choice but to presume all rape cases as false until it is conclusively established in a court of law that rape has indeed happened. Men must not be subjected to any collateral damage in this so called war against rapes, when in urban India, young women sleep with their live-in-partners for months and then claim,"he raped me for 6 months". What nonsense!! If anyone wants any sympathy for genuine rape victims, then an end has to be put to young women making false allegations of rape and these women must be severely punished for endangering life and liberty of innocent men and jailed for at least 3 years and fined up to Rs.50,000/-.
Kharga Lama
The girl is the mother -loving and caring, the source of all happiness in a family, sacrificing everything . Yet why people fear and despise having a girl child. Is it because of the dowry system?, I love my daughters equally, if not more than my sons. They are equal in my eyes and deserve to be helped wherever they are weak.And I am doing that irrespective fo their love for me. In fact, it is the weakest who needs help but the tradition is that most help only the stronger ones. The girl has to marry and go to some one's house andlive her life. And she needs all our support - financial, moral and everything. Your responsibility to your daughter doesn't end when you marry her off. That's when the responsibility begins actually. You have to help her live a good life, which doesn't mean pampering to the demands of her husband or the inlaws. I am not going to be called a father-in-law who lived off the dowry that my daughter in law's parents struggled hard to pay. Similarly, it is not necessary to have a son as your pall bearer or torch your funeral pyre. This ancient belief is more of a burden for the ordinary people who wants to live a happy life. When you are dead, you are dead meat. In the ancient texts, the goddesses are given such exalted status, but when it comes to human girl child, we humans have an inhuman attitude towards her even before birth. In fact many would like to abort it and many resorted to girl infanticide, and the law looked the otherside, communities and society condoned it, in fact with a sigh of relief. But think of it: without the girl, is the boy child going to be the father of man? Tell me, answer me. So go ahead and have the child, who knows she might be the next prime minister or great artist, a film star. Let her be born, give her the chance to be what she wants to be, like all human beings. Take heart.
Rohan
Marriage is a crime for men in India. Marriage - the most controversial social institution - has always been at the center-stage of debates. However, of late, since the last decade, a new trend of criminalizing marital disputes has begun. This trend has started victimizing the "Indian Husband" and his family in a big way and has resulted in, Skyrocketing expectations from men and nose-diving acceptance levels. Ever-increasing suicides by husbands - 6 times the rate they are born. Family-breaking. Child and elder abuse. Erosion of faith over the institution of marriage leading to promulgation of homosexual relationships, pre-marital sex, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. Increased juvenile crime. Drug abuse. Teenage pregnancies (the trend is catching up and no sooner would be a social reality in India). Resentment amongst affected, victimized and unheard men and their families towards the police, judiciary, the law and order system, the criminal justice system and the Govt. at large. Splurging divorce rates. All in all, it has created newer, unforeseen and unanticipated problems in the society. However, religious conservatives and social contractors are still not opening their eyes to the problem. Thanks to their stubborn behavior they are compromising human lives and human happiness in their over-zealous efforts to "save" the institution of marriage. However, quintessentially, all they do is to pressurize the man in the marriage to accept unreasonable demands from the woman and/or the society. For e.g. the recent drama that unfolded in Shoaib Malik's case. Till the time news of marriage of Shoaib-Sania were not reported no one (including Ayesha and her family) were really bothered about the alleged marriage of Shoaib and Ayesha. But as soon as the news came up, suddenly everyone was interested. Merely because Shoaib signed on the divorce papers does not validate the marriage because Shoaib had been subjected to "Extortion Patronized by State (EPS)" and was forced to sign the divorce papers. Marriage had been forced unto Shoaib.
Rohan
Husbands Committing Suicide 4 times faster than Wives. The suicide statistics for the year 2010 have been published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) - a unit of the Honorable Union Ministry for Home Affairs, Govt. of India. As usual, apart from painting a very grim picture about the society, the numbers tells a tale that better be called as tell-tale of the stress levels in the society, especially for husbands. Husbands, who are more often than not, passed off as unsung heroes for all the sacrifices and contributions they make for their families, are on the worst side of the suicide scale. Year over year, more and more husbands are committing suicides and despite efforts by men's rights groups to create awareness about the same, the message seems to be falling on deaf ears as we are only seeing an upward trend in the suicides committed by husbands. In the year 2010, 61453 husbands have committed suicide vis-à-vis 31754 wives. Similar numbers for 2009 were 58192 and 31300 respectively. That means a 5.6% annual increase in suicides by husbands compared to 2009 vis-à-vis 1.4% annual increase in suicides by wives. It means suicide rate by husbands is increasing at the rate of 4 times the suicide rate by wives. Yet, husbands are subjected to inhuman and unconstitutional laws like, 1. Section 498A, wherein, an uninvestigated complaint by wife against husband and his family can land the entire family in jail, or 2. The Domestic Violence Act, wherein the husband can even lose his hard-earned property owing to a simple complaint of allegations of domestic violence, even without a fair trial, or 3. Section 304B which can land the entire family of the husband behind bars without trial or investigation if the wife dies unnaturally (due to any reason, sickness, accident, insect byte, chronic or juvenile ailment etc.) within 7 years of marriage or 4. Section 125 CrPC wherein the husband is treated as a FREE ATM MACHINE to pay maintenance to a wife irrespective of fault, And many other such laws like Section 24, 25 of the Hindu Marriage Act; Section 22 of the Special Marriage Act, the biased child custody laws etc. To add to the woes, the Govt. of India has not allocated even a single rupee for men's welfare in the last 64 years of Indian Independence in the fiscal budget that comes year after year, even as 82% of the taxes come from men.
Rohan
It is a Wake up call for Indian Men as Government prepares law to destroy Indian Men! By citing some extreme cases of rape and murder, and relying on hyper media sensitivity and giving in to public emotion, the Indian Government and women organizations are on process to change the Present Rape law, as a knee-jerk reaction as mentioned below : (Present punishment for rape is minimum 7 years and maximum life sentence). Government and women organizations proposal under consideration: 1. The Punishment should be "Hanging to Death" even for simple rape, presently it is Rape and Murder. 2. Proposal for chemical castration to men. Accused have to prove that he had not committed the rape, the women is not required to give any proof (even medical test also not needed to file rape cases). Her verbal statement is sufficient to term any one as a rapist. She just needs to claim that she had been raped or gang raped and whoever is named will be arrested immediately and they will not get bail till the case is over, irrespective of how long the case continues, be it 1 month or 20 years. 3. As soon as she files the case, whether it is true or false, she will get minimum 2 Lacks rupee - rupees 50 thousands immediately and then as case progress. This is irrespective the case is true or false. 4. A rape complainant will get government job by default, so now you do not need any qualification or skill to get a government Job. You have to just cry rape and secure a government Job. 5. Consent to sex: Any consensual sex can be termed as rape with excuse like, she was drunk / made to drink, she was promised for marriage, she was promised for job, she was under threat, etc. This means that the consent depends purely on women's will and wish. She is even free to enjoy the consensual sex, later call it rape and en-cash 6. Most importantly the law commission advised to make the rape law "Gender Neutral", so that any rape by women to other women, men to other men, women to child can be covered, but women organizations and Govt are not ready to do that for reasons best known to them. 7. For any disputes in marriage or divorce the wife can file the Rape case on her husband along with 498A (dowry case), DV act, Crpc125, Section24, Child custody and husband will not have any defence. 8. There should not be any Punishment to women for making "False and Fabricated" rape or gang Rape case to anyone. 9. A man can't be file rape case against women even if she rapes you every day and then cut your body in 11 or 17 pieces.
Subhash Kisku
Hi Samishta, I am a male and my answer may stand the chance of getting rated as 'chauvenist view' , yet here are few points I wanted to make: (1) Few examples that you quoted are sad eg: males are served food first and women are fed on leftovers. I am not sure if you ACTUALLY mean 'leftovers' when you said that but in whatever condition it is sad. It is something that is been practiced since ages in many families for various reasons that probably suited the family and social structure at that point but are obsolete now. But I think it is fast changing. Request you to understand that. Its not the same everywhere in every house. You faced it in your in-laws place - unfortunate. Your daughter may not face it. So be a little optimistic about it. (2) You have been to IIT. which city? I have been to IIT-KGP. Have you ever seen how a 'lower caste' was put down at every step in an IIT? In hostels, in labs, classroom.... Many have committed suicides in the last 10 years. Do you think a 'lower caste' person should now grow up thinking whther he should send his son/daughter to school at all just bcoz he himself faced issues? Isnt it a little pessimistic thinking? (3) Worklife issues - sexual harassment at workplace - I understand that happens a lot. But probably that is why females have to justify their 'extra hours' to people who are concerned and dont know how to handle it. But the examples you quoted, like thinking about arranging a drop back at home - I think those are general precautionary measures. If you are complaining about that, then you will be complaining about your sanitary napkin. Common yaar, you are an IITian. If you do not have the courage to break free and protest to the problems and resort to cribbing - I wonder how are females supposed to liberate?
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