Putrarthe Kriyathe Varja is an ancient Sanskrit phrase which means, “we marry with the sole aim to have a son to keep the clan progressing”. This was the blessings that one of the relatives of my friend gave her some few days back.
And blessings in its more refined version kept coming at her till she finally conceived. What shocked me was none of the relatives (read aged 60+) actually blessed her with a baby girl or just a healthy baby! She was lucky to have a broad-minded family in the environment full of ancient thoughts and beliefs.
What is even more shocking is that such ancient thought process is still finding place in the hearts and minds of 21st century India. India, where most grandparents know to operate a cell phone, where women from various strata of society nowadays are employed and earning and are making a mark in their respective fields, where things around them have drastically changed, standard of living has increased but the thinking and the thought process have not changed. In spite of they themselves being a viewer of the change in society, it is surprising that they stick to this old age idiom so rigidly.
Extremely lucky are those who have very supportive in-laws, who do not differentiate between a boy and a girl and who are not obsessed with this nonsense. Even there are cases of high society people going for sex determination tests, having drugs like Misoprostol and so on only to find out whether the child is a boy or a girl. The amount of education doesn’t matter here (report). It seems that even if you have all the degrees in the world, the learning will only fall on deaf ears. This is one of the instances where our education system has failed drastically. And then to make it worse you have daily soaps like ‘Balika Vadhu’ airing prime time on national television!! It simply cannot get worst than this.
Despite of many living women role models in front of us, the majority still prefers a boy child because they feel he will carry forward the name of the family and look after parents in their old age while the girl will get married and go to another family. There are in fact so many examples before us that girls remain emotionally attached to their parents even after they get married while it is the boys who tend to go away or just be there out of a sense of duty, but people don’t seem to understand this.
What is more astonishing is Putrarthe Kriyathe Varja is also being followed in America! – The most advanced and developed nations of all. The recent poll conducted also voices the similar views, raising the preference for a boy over a girl child. And this is not the end. There are many polls, reports etc. which lay claim on the said fact.
So what can be the possible reasons for such a trend? (which are orthodox but still prevalent)
- Family and peer pressure for a baby boy for obvious reason
- Girls still considered as a liability (marriage, dowry)
- Boy will brighten their family’s name whereas a girl won’t
- Old age support
- Don’t want the embarrassment and shame that comes towards the family when the girl child faces any violence against her
And what can be the possible solutions?
- Grassroots literary camps must be organised targeting the change in the mindset of the people
- Constant advertising through various communication mediums
- Tougher laws
- Some incentives for raising a girl child so as to bring the skewed sex ratio to an equilibrium
But more importantly it is the family values that needs a recheck on most of the factors especially this differentiation between a girl child and a boy child even before s/he has come to earth.
Also, if one girl can brighten up the house, two light it up like a bright summer morning. So which parent would not like to have such joy in their life?
Time has definitely come to say bye-bye to this age-old idiom of Putrarthe Kriyathe Varja and say YES to girl child.
Hetal Kachalia is a preschool teacher in the morning and a dotting home maker by the evening. She blogs at http://ponderingtwo.blogspot.in.