explanatory Essay
1952 words
1952 words

Despite the clear prohibitions against child-murder by all major religions, female infanticide has been for centuries a prominent and socially acceptable event, notably in one of the most populous countries in this world, India. Even today, the extent of the problem is measured in alarming proportions all around the globe: “at least 60 million females in Asia are missing and feared dead, victims of nothing more than their sex. Worldwide, research suggests, the number of missing females may top 100 million.” The data is more astounding in India. According to the Census Report of 2001, for every 1000 males the number of females has decreased to 927 in 2001 from 945 in 1991 and continues to decrease. It is clear that the burdensome costs involved with the raising of a girl, eventually providing her an appropriate marriage dowry, was the single most important factor in allowing social acceptance of the murder at birth in India. Nonetheless, in addition to the dowry system, the reasons for this increasing trend have also been attributed to the patriarchal society, poverty and the availability of sex-selective abortion.

India's population growth has been rapid, resulting from longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality in recent decades. Before independence, the high birth rates were balanced out by high death rates. In the half century since India gained independence from Great Britain in 1947, the average life expectancy has risen from just 39 years to 63 years, as high as that in Russia today. Conversely, after independence, the numbers changed but mortality rates dropped without a matching drop in birth rates. The perception of children became very different. The urban poor contributed most to the population and the reason for this is that they started viewing children as “sources of income rather an investment”. They were seen as an old age security and the more the better. Furthermore, even though the mortality rate dropped, it was still relatively high compared to the survival rate. For this reason, fear of child death and contagious diseases caused the urban poor to contribute even more to the ever-increasing population. Part of the reason India is gaining on China as the most populous country in the world is that China has had very severe family planning laws, enforcing a one-child-per-family policy on most of the population. This policy was adop...

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... to be effective. As mentioned before the urge has to come from within the society itself and only then it will augur well for future generations of Indian girls, yet to be born.

1. “The Quest for a Male Child”, article by Dr. Madhumita Das.

2. “Female Infanticide and Foeticide”, article by Marina Porras.

3. “Again a girl! Are you not ashamed of yourself?”, article by Shoba Warrier

4. The Census Report, 2001 : A Government of India Publication

5. Case Study : Female Infanticide –

6. “History of Infanticide”, article by Dr. Larry S.Milner.

7. “Female Infanticide” -
8. “Darwin and the Descent of Morality”, opinion by Benjamin Wiker -
9. “India's Population Passes 1 Billion”

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that female infanticide has been a prominent and socially acceptable event for centuries, especially in one of the most populous countries in the world.
  • Explains that india's population growth has been rapid, resulting from longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality in recent decades.
  • Explains that india is an extremely conservative and patriarchal society, where women are considered inferior to men in all regards.
  • Explains that in darwin's the descent of man, infanticide was the most important restraint on the proliferation of early man. it is rife among the poorer population as it has at times been necessary for survival of the community at large.
  • Analyzes how the widespread availability of safe, and legal, means of abortion has had a profound effect on the prevalence of infanticide in the twentieth century.
  • Explains that the low status of indian women makes them insignificant compared to the males in the marriage market. the dowry system is rampant in india.
  • Describes the primitive methods of killing baby infants, such as poisoning or gagged female babies, and smothering them to death before the mother regained consciousness.
  • Explains that the census report, 2001 has fortunately come as a wake-up call to the indian government, as well as the medical fraternity and all concerned people.
  • States that the government has issued advertisements in national newspapers, periodicals, and magazines to mobilize public opinion against female infanticide. nursing homes and medical organizations must put up signboards stating that no sex determination is done on the premises.
  • Explains that non-governmental organizations have initiated preventative measures and developed programs to prevent female infanticide. a successful program is the danida healthcare project's street theatre.
  • Opines that reform must come from within the community, as no formal complaints are being lodged against the perpetrators. the government must show political will and a high degree of social and legal commitment to crack down on the offenders.
  • Opines that the decrease in the female sex ratio has brought into focus the terrible practices of female infanticide in india today.
  • Describes the articles by dr. madhumita das, marina porras, and shoba warrier.
  • Explains the case study on female infanticide, dr. larry s. milner's "history of infanticide".
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