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"Die, and send us your brother!" "...

we say, by eliminating them, to these little girls who have no right to exist.

(India 2005)


India is a nation whose population, since the beginning of the twentieth century, has been characterized by a strong imbalance between men and women. The last census in 2001 had created a real shock. Today there are sixty million missing women who are modestly called “Missing Women”. Missing, because not born or eliminated from birth.


For many families, being born a girl in India has always been a curse. Today, the ancestral preference for boys is facilitated and amplified by modern means of ultrasound. Modernity has come to reinforce harmful traditional practices. In the current context of fertility regulation, the majority of Indians wish to have at least one son and at most one daughter. The "financial burden" represented by the birth of a girl in a family (dowry, marriage costs, etc.) is even heavier in this increasingly consumerist and modern India where "to have a boy is to receive and to have a girl is watering the neighbor's field ”as the popular saying goes. So we eliminate these baby girls through selective abortions, infanticide or neglect after birth.


Since the 1980s, the male-to-female sex ratio has been very unbalanced in regions such as Haryana, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu, where it can reach 927 girls per 1,000 boys. The lack of women is such that men have enormous difficulty in finding wives. So, they try to buy them at all costs and a traffic in women is organized.

Women are bought and "imported" for a few hundred euros and little girls are sold for 4 kg of rice ... They come from the poor states of India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Mafia networks are being set up. Mothers order women for their sons from truck drivers who act as smugglers.

But many men will not find a wife.

They are called "dead branches", those which will not bear fruit ...


Baby girls are abandoned in recently created government "reception" centers such as in Tamil Nadu or given up for adoption and sometimes baby boys are stolen from maternity wards because going home with a girl is unthinkable. dangerous and shameful for a woman.


Forced polyandry, another consequence and not the least, begins to be practiced. Men sell their own wives for money ... And in families who cannot afford to buy a wife for each son, several brothers share the same wife ...


This drop in the number of girls heralds demographic and social upheavals in the years to come, which can only worsen. Faced with this risk, States and the Nation, as well as NGOs are mobilizing.

Sangams, local vigilance committees in the villages are created to monitor pregnant women, prevent them from terminating their pregnancy or eliminating their little girls at birth and this, until the child is six months old, under penalty of being reported to the authorities.


Aid for girls' education and micro-credits have been put in place. This monitoring network, associated with the mobilization of NGOs or local authorities, has already made it possible to save hundreds of little girls.

But much remains to be done ...


This problem touched and revolted me enormously. This is why I wanted to testify, to speak about it so that

"To be born a girl in India" is no longer a curse ...


Lizzie SADIN

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