• Antara Basu


The first and utmost accomplishment that an Indian woman can conquer is existence. And once her existence knocks on reality's door, kohl-rimmed eyes fight the next smudge; birth lest the fourth horseman should knock upon that door first.

In a country that prays to goddesses for the birth of a male child, people often seem to overlook the femininity of the deity to whom they pray. According to The State of World Population 2020 report released by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The world organization's sexual and reproductive health agency said: "that the number of missing women has more than doubled over the past 50 years – from 61 million in 1970 to a cumulative 142.6 million in 2020."

In this global figure, India boasts of the second position, with 45.8 million missing women in 2020. And China snared the first rank accounting for a total of 72.3 million.

To overcome the hindrance of so many prohibitive laws regarding pre-natal sex determination, what else do people do except getting creative? Be it age-old cultural wisdom, or the scientifically inaccurate but highly auspicious counsel of religious leaders. Or simply reducing women to sex objects and childbearing automatons till a male one pops out. That should do the trick.

The unfortunate and vicious cycle that nobody can grasp while they're busy worrying about the gender that'll define a new life. This deplorable sex ratio adversely impacts the marriage system, another money-making industry of the Indian culture. To compensate for the Indian loathing of the girl child, there is an equally massive demand for the girl bride.

Thus, as the number of male sprints towards a rise in comparison to that of females, the number of brides too proceeds towards decline. And since marriage is such an essential part of Indian life, are they going to get their sons married to other men?

Oh wait, they're against gay marriage too. Alas, the decriminalization of section 377 was a severe blow to orthodoxy and bigotry. Because obviously, the freedom of the LGBTQ+ community encroaches on the freedom of others' superior moral policing.

The government initiates scheme after scheme to educate and to protect the daughters of our nation. But the same government that relies on the trickle-down effect forgets; the strings of patriarchy puppeteers those they can't reach.

The UN report said,

"That every year, millions of girls globally are subjected to practices that harm them physically and emotionally, with the full knowledge and consent of their families, friends, and communities. At least 19 harmful practices, ranging from breast ironing to virginity testing, are considered human rights violations, according to the UNFPA report, which focuses on the three most prevalent ones: female genital mutilation, child marriage, and extreme bias against daughters in favor of sons."

But a utopic dream strives to exist within these dystopic circumstances,

Her great grandmother woke up as existence knocked on death's door. Her grandmother woke up to life, which refused to bow before the fabric of infanticide. Her mother woke up to life, which demanded of her of only sons. But, one day, she woke up to joy as the village elders gathered around, cradling the new birth; Durga.