Female Infanticide is Brutal!
Barbaric cultural practice persists in Southern India
The practice of female infanticide is extremely brutal. Common
methods of eliminating newborn female children include feeding the
infants dry, unhulled rice that punctures their windpipes, smothering
them with a wet towel, or wrapping them in a wet towel to encourage
pneumonia. Others are made to swallow poisonous powdered fertilizer,
strangled or allowed to starve to death. Still others are fed large
amounts of salt to increase their blook pressure, or held by the waist
and shaken until their tiny necks or spinal cords snap.
Why would a parent do this to their own child?
For all marriages in India a dowry is expected to be given to the groom's family.
For a poor family, the birth of a girl can signal the beginning of financial ruin and
extreme hardship. In situations where the bride's family is unable to provide the
dowry they have promised, the young brides are sometimes burned to death by
the groom's family (25,000 every year!). In other cases the young girls are
mistreated and shamed because their family could not pay the dowry.
Sons, on the other hand, provide income and hopefully a wife with a large dowry. This
philosophy is embodied in the Indian proverb, "Raising a girl is like watering the
neighbor?s garden." Also, Hindus believe that parents cannot obtain salvation
unless they have a son to perform their last rites.
Both the dowry system and infanticide are illegal, but
both practices are so ingrained in the Indian culture that the laws have
not been effective. Culturally, sons are more highly valued because they
can provide for their families. Daughters are a financial drain and are unable
to contribute financially because they are uneducated which prevents them
from getting jobs.