Why every little helps..

Deeps’ post and this post on Women’s Web prompts me to write on this subject again.

A lot of times when I start discussing the topic of the condition of girls in India, I get that ‘There she goes again on her feminist track’. The thing is,whatever I say, I feel that it is not enough. It will never be enough – until the date that people stop this yearning for a boy. It will not be enough until people stop treating girls as the unwanted sex. Until a girl child is welcomed just as much as a boy child is. Until people stop saying things like, ‘Pehla bacha ladka ho to santhusthi hai’ – this was said to a friend of mine.

How will mere words help, people ask. Well, I think, words help in its own way.

For one, some people accept it as part of culture. Having seen the boy child preference practiced all around, they take it for granted. They assume that it is normal for grandparents to love grandsons more than granddaughter(I have come across people claiming this- educated people, by the way). So when they hear/read people talking about the injustice, and the why it is so wrong to shun a girl child, they might turn a deaf ear initially, but slowly, I think it will make a difference. One of the people, who used to loudly proclaim how her son was the favourite of his grandparents, has now toned it down. She is now careful not to mention things like that in public again. Probably after she realized that not everybody thinks this way. Hopefully her thinking might have changed too.

I have seen this happen right in front of me. While people might not change their thinking right away, they might start to understand that culture is not a justification for everything.

The same goes for dowry. The more people talk about it, shame it, publicly, and stop treating it as part of our ‘culture’, the more likely it is to die away as a custom.

I am so vocal about this, that nobody in my friends/acquaintance circle dares tell me to have another child to have a boy. Somebody I know told a friend of mine to try again, maybe this time she might have a boy. Only to be told on her face, that she doesn’t care if she has a boy or not – she is happy with her daughter. That was the end of it.

Will all this talking make any real difference. I think it will. I think it makes people think – even if it goes against what they have always seen. And even if one person rethinks what they have grown up with, it makes a difference, don’t you think? At the very least, they might think before speaking in front of vocal people like us, some may remember not to let subconscious discrimination enter their actions, some might go even further.. From the place that we are at – any progress is better than no progress, wouldn’t you agree?

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24 thoughts on “Why every little helps..

    • I don’t think there is any danger of people ‘dumping their languages’. Being bilingual, or multi-lingual can only help. I can vouch for it personally.

      • Those ladies who were supporting Porn (“politically correct porn”, where there is no exploitation, my foot), are all victims of this English-medium induced ‘spine-wasting’ disease — if it is more widely accepted in the west, it must be swallowed by us Indians unquestioningly.

  1. “I think it makes people think – even if it goes against what they have always seen. And even if one person rethinks what they have grown up with, it makes a difference, don’t you think?” Absolutely, Smits.. it does, it has to! So let us keep talking, in fact let us urge others to talk about it too and make people think and rethink πŸ™‚

    • ‘ So let us keep talking, in fact let us urge others to talk about it too and make people think and rethink ‘ Yes yes, yes!!! Absolutely, Deeps πŸ™‚

  2. I heartily agree. Even if we can make one person ‘think’, really think, with our feminist chatter, we have made a difference. I do think it matters. πŸ™‚

    Sometimes, people are so deep-rooted in their so-called culture (in spite of feeling somewhere deep within their hearts that their beliefs are discriminatory), that such talk might jolt them. They might also have the comfort of knowing that what they have been thinking all along is not in their own minds alone.

  3. Brilliant post, smitha, but I sometime wonder how much of the slow change you mention is real… We Indians have a lot of hypocrisy. People realize that it is not cool to mention boy-preference in some circles, but do they actually make an effort to shed it?

    • I agree – a lot of people will just be doing lip-service – but just the fact that they try to conform to the general view – atleast outwardly means that at some level they are a tiny bit ashamed of their views but probably feel helpless to change it completely. It will not be an overnight change, but I do think it will change eventually. Atleast be being in circles where people do not condone such biases, they will be forced to not be blatant about it, don’t you think?

      • We can only be hopeful, and make whatever difference we can, even if it is by making a bigoted friend feel foolish publicly…

  4. hope is all we can have but definitely every little counts.. I am tired of debating about this topic.. even highly educated Indians settled in foreign land carry the same thought why o why? I have seen many cases myself 😦

  5. Honestly smitha i have never met people in my real world who wanted a girl child,it is the friends in this virtual world i got to hear that they wanted a girl child.May be the group in this virtual world is small but they do make a difference to the girl child born,she will feel wanted and she will be lucky to have such a parents….

    • Sari, I have met plenty of people who want girls:), but also plenty who still hold on to the age old concept of a boy child being a necessity 😦 Hopefully it will change, slowly – and yes, a child, be it a boy or a girl, will never lack for anything as far as he/she is totally wanted and cherished πŸ™‚

  6. Half the time we don’t act/ say on things where we should voice our opinion because we fell what difference will it make. But we forget that everythings starts from somewhere. However little the voice might be, there might be only very few listerns but the fact is somebody hears it and the most imp person that is our soul hears it.

  7. It is ridiculous, isn’t it? One would think that as we grow into a more evolved society, this sort of mindset would change. While people are more accepting now of ‘girl child’ per se, they still hanker after ‘atleast one boy’ in the family. Weirdos!

  8. how true At the very least, they might think before speaking in front of vocal people like us, some may remember not to let subconscious discrimination enter their actions, some might go even further

    the least benefit that we get out of this is at least such people will not talk when people like us are around and when you don’t say what is in your head at that time,you most probably think on it later, and how knows the later thinking might tweak in some brain cells here and there? !

    P.S. on Deeps’s post I had commented that I’ve so much to say on this one.and now your post too makes me feel I must ! shortly…

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