Womenlines takes pleasure to welcome Prof K. K. Varma to share about his book ‘Life and Times of Unborn Kamla’, which is an intriguing book addressing issues of diminishing girls due to female feticide and infanticide in India. The book is certainly a must-read as it can make people introspect to find some solution and attract the attention of right authorities and associations who can put collective efforts to solve this problem. Please visit the links mentioned below to place your order for the book. In the article below Prof Varma has highlighted why he wants people across the globe to give attention to this book- “My book emanates from such feelings and emotional anguish and; equally; the absolute need for comprehensive documentation on the consequences of vanishing girls (diminishing daughters) consequent to female feticide as part of advocacy. Seen in this context, the book “Life and Times of Unborn Kamla” is possibly the very first of its kind.”
- The genesis
Human sufferings have always hurt me deeply even when I have not been in any position to do anything to alleviate it. Growing up as a development professional -the issue of human rights violations touched me deeply-often shaking my conscience and emotions. Such feelings increasingly got imbibed over the long years of working in social and developmental sectors particularly on women-centric issues
As a professional working on social issues, I have been distressingly aware of increasing skewed sex-ratio as a result of sex-selective abortions (female feticide)-an act which can only be dubbed as the worse kind of terrorism. The after-effects have been distorting demographic map of India with devastating consequences.
One has heard of human rights violations in different shades, context and socio-political system; may have self-experienced in some form at some time or other…….. but the act of denying someone the intrinsic right “to be born” defy all limits of barbarism, human sensitivity and civility. Given a conscious thought, there cannot be any other form of violence that’s more painful, more abhorrent and more shameful- a blot on human attitude, act and behaviour bordering on insanity.
What has been most unfortunate, reports about the low status of women in Indian society, gender-based differentiation; atrocities and crimes, physical and sexual assault; and unabashed practice of aborting female fetus has kept appearing in various media from time to time with religious regularity… but these have simply failed to evoke any desired response. These have just remained as one more incidents among crime reporting-soliciting little attention from society or the administration as such, leave alone leading to any proactive actions and effective measures.
- Face to face with earthy realities
That the menace has wounded the society no end- could be known only while working in outreach with the community during which I was confronted with its resultant repercussions and deeper scars- completely disrobing our social fabric, humiliating cultural pride, injuring moral values; and belittling what our great religion preaches. Various researches published in different articles and journals; and also reports appearing in media from time to time further confirmed and strengthened, rather sadly, my observations and ground-realities experiences.
The first hand exposure to such cruel maladies could be made possible due to my visit (as part of official responsibilities) to community projects on maternal and child health being implemented by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) across length and breadth of the country. Meeting, interacting with project communities mainly women opened sort of Pandora Box!
- Emotional anguish
Such exposure shook me no end! One basic question which troubled me and also most of us, I presume: “How can anyone deny the basic human rights to the newborn?” How a man placing the seed of a child into the woman’s womb decides if gender will determine the status of the newborn in the family. As the father responsible for the child’s birth he cannot have prejudice towards her. He is responsible for the unborn child’s gender. It is not the woman, but the man’s chromosome that decides whether the newborn is going to be a girl or boy. Yet, he with his family will torture the woman blaming her for giving birth to a girl. And the unreasoned bias is reflected in the way the family treats the newborn.
It made me further ponder “Can men do without women?”…. They need a mother to feed them, a sister to play with, in their youth they seek a ladylove for romance, a wife to have a family with… but they don’t want a daughter born to them! These double standards and ingrained hypocrisy have made the girl child more vulnerable – demographically and culturally as well.“
Every human life is a gift from the mother’s womb. We spend nine months in her womb, while she goes through all the discomfort in keeping us safe. Her hormones and body undergo changes, but she only wraps us in love, eagerly waiting to hold us in her arms. And then we are born, and she feeds us her natural milk. She fills our world with love, protecting us from the harshness that she is exposed to. Her every moment is dedicated to us. She sleeps according to the cycles of our waking, sleeping, crying and feeding. Our life is hers till we are capable of being independent.
We are nourished and nurtured every moment of our life by mother. She is our Mother Nature, our Mother Earth. She bears our burdens and sustains us through inclement weather and mellow Sun. And in return – we abuse every moment a future mother, inflict wounds on her and eliminate her even before she is born. Her crime? She has been born as a daughter! We will not let her see the light of day, lie on her mother’s lap and crawl on the ground… We treat her worse than our diseased cattle.
She is seen as an object of desire, manufacturer of male children and a source of cheap labor. Whenever found lacking in any of these duties, she is sold for money and bought for pleasure; she can be molested and raped mostly with impunity. And her fall in social esteem is causing a grave imbalance to the moral order.
Is this sane, civil conduct to go all out to get a bride, pay for one in a hush-hush deal, then if she is pregnant with a girl child, abort the foetus and sell her to a brothel?
Can this human psyche be adequately explained or analyzed? Can such diabolical behavior be justified by any logic?
My book emanates from such feelings and emotional anguish and; equally; the absolute need for comprehensive documentation on the consequences of vanishing girls (diminishing daughters) consequent to female feticide as part of advocacy. Seen in this context, the book “Life and Times of Unborn Kamla” is possibly the very first of its kind.
Sketched into well-woven document mentioning several case histories with narrations of individuals experience may appear to be harrowing but there are strong social undercurrents for researchers, administrators, policymakers and, last but not the least, the people at large.
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