Keeping her alive

Given the appalling state of public health in most of the country, child mortality is a major problem. One that is compounded by infanticide, particularly female infanticide, which completely skews the sex ratio in many states of the nation.

Books for Change, Bangalore, have a new title out by Koy Thomson and Ravi S K, BENEATH THE GRINDING STONE which describes a story of change-makers confronting patriarchy. Infanticide is the cut-price way to rid families of girl children. Killing your own child or ‘permitting’ their killing is an unnatural and appalling act, a powerful social taboo. Yet this slaughter of innocents is a socially approved practice in which mothers and mother’s mothers are complicit in turning against their own. Young girls who survive will turn to their grandmothers and say, “You tried to have me killed”. The astounding part of this story is that female infanticide and girl specific abortion are simply the outcome of every day discrimination against women and girls, running according to its internal logic. This discrimination seems to have reached a tipping point and is spinning freely towards its logical end- the extermination of girls before or at birth. What brought on this tipping point? Why has international law not recognized this result for what it is, the gender equivalent of genocide? And if it did, might we see the institution of patriarchy held as complicit in a crime against humanity?

In our Gender Studies section, Rs 120, 102 pages. ISBN:9788182910836

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