11 married couples were celebrated for having a daughter
One of the biggest stigmas in India is having daughters. Having a child should be a mother’s dream but in various areas of India, having a girl is considered unacceptable.
Despite society moving on from some of its old ways, the preference of having a boy rather than a girl continues to exist.
There are a number of reasons for this including carrying on the family name and being seen as the breadwinners.
However, a daughter is seen as a burden and are considered a worry, especially in terms of family honour.
Those who believe in such a regressive custom often put the blame on the mother. This can lead to various outcomes including abortions. If the girl is already born, then she and the mother can be treated badly.
Despite the stigma being a prevalent part of Indian society, some areas are taking positive measures to celebrate girls.
In the Gujarat city of Visnagar, they take part in their own custom, honouring the parents of baby girls and quashing the heavily stigmatised subject.
On November 26, 2019, 11 married couples were celebrated for having a daughter within the last year.
People wished good fortune on the daughters while the parents were presented with a cash gift.
The stigma of daughters was also rejected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who announced the Bharat Ki Lakshmi campaign to honour women. During the address, he said:
“Daughters are considered as Laxmi in our culture. Can’t we felicitate daughters in our villages and cities by holding public programmes?”
While the community of Visnagar show a progressive attitude towards daughters, the state of Gujarat also holds regressive behaviour.
A woman from Mehsana lodged a complaint against her husband and in-laws for abusing her and threatening to kill her if she gave birth to a girl.
She told police that after her marriage, her husband and in-laws would treat her badly, beating her regularly.
They also forced her to give them Rs. 25 Lakh (£27,000) in dowry.
The young woman later became pregnant but her in-laws told her that if the child was a girl, both would be killed.
Their threat prompted the woman to explain her ordeal to the police.
Officers registered an FIR against the woman’s husband and in-laws but are yet to arrest them.
The South Asian obsession with boys has led to abandonment and even murder. For example, a man from Uttar Pradesh beat his wife to death for giving birth to her third daughter.
This fear is the reason why sex-selective births are so high in the country. The likes of Rajasthan, Bihar and Haryana are the most common areas.
As pre-natal scans allow couples to find out what gender their baby is, some women have an abortion, if found to be a girl.
Despite sex-selective abortions being illegal, it is still practised. Some women even opt for back-alley abortions which can prove fatal for them.
In some cases, the mother does not have a choice. They are pressured to have an abortion by their husband or in-laws.
Even though the preference is for boys, it is actually them who suffer in the long run as the ratio between boys and girls is unbalanced.
Due to this, many men struggle to find a bride, leading to them having to purchase one.
Having a preference for sons over daughters remains one of India’s biggest stigmas.
Though steps like honouring them and their parents in Visnagar is positive within a society where women having daughters are not treated well compared to those having a son.