Sarosh opens a Pandora’s Box
(Dr. Sarosh Ahmed Khan, MD, 48, was born in Srinagar. He pursued his initial schooling from the Victoria High School in Bombay (now called Mumbai), and matriculated from the New Era Public School in Srinagar. He completed his pre-medical college degree from the Sri Pratap College, Srinagar, and received his medical degrees (MBBS, MD) from the Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar. He is a senior consulting physician st the Modern Hospital in Rajbagh, Srinagar. Dr. Khan is the editor-in-chief of the Physicians Academy, an online medical journal, and the Vice President of the Kashmir Academy of Private Physicians. He is actively involved with the “Chotay Taray” Foundation dedicated to educating mentally and physically challenging children. Dr. Khan in his leisure time enjoys cricket, internet and music.)
Female Feticide in Kashmir
In 2009 I was shocked when I was called to see a patient not willing to lactate her child just because the child was a female. Subsequently I saw similar things in my practice and realized that the malaise is deep. The society has started to rot and nobody is bothered.
The pagans in Arabia, before Islam arrived, used to kill the female child by burying her alive. The modern day man kills her in the womb. What is shocking is that the mother (herself a female) is most of the times responsible.
I have numerous cases of elder neglect of parents, especially of mothers by sons. Till the father is alive the situation is slightly better, but deteriorates fast once he dies. It is the same mother who has pampered the sons and almost neglected the daughters. Ironically most of these widows are brought to the hospitals by the daughters! She cries, but it is too late. As if not learning anything from this experience, the cycle gets repeated as the daughter who cares for her, herself again craves for a son. I have half a dozen cases of elder neglect of mothers whose gazetted officer sons take them in a Scorpio to the government office disbursing widow pension. She waits in the queue till evening to get a paltry sum for her expenses for the month.
The statistics of the last decade in Kashmir are disappointing. The Census 2011 shows drop of 82 points in the child sex ratio (ages 0-6) in J&K–from 941 to 859. The headlong decline has been worse in the Valley districts. Pulwama has come down more than 200 points from 1046 to 831, Kupwara to 854 from 1021, Budgam to 832 from 1004, Shopian to 883 from 1011, Kulgam to 882 from 1003 (1).
There are numerous factors contributing to this tragedy:
Social and moral rot. Unaccounted money and lavish spending by these people. Dowry.
J&K the second most corrupt state in India.
No accountability on any front.
Thousands of cases of rape in last two decades. Victims and their parents say no child is better than a girl child.
Adoption of western style two child model for families.
The Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation & Prevention of Misuse) Act, came into effect in Kashmir as late as 2006, and allows a person to practice ultrasonography after six months of work experience. These inexperienced, less-reputed practitioners are often guilty of indulging in sexselection tests to earn fast money.
No punishment of the guilty. Unabated running of abortion clinics.
Promotion of the so called ‘liberal Islam” where abortion and other illegal activities are considered modern.
Areas like Kupwara, Leh, Kargil, Poonch, Rajouri — among Kashmir’s 11 districts that have witnessed the sharpest drop in sex ratio — are teeming with armed forces (2).
Lightweight, portable ultrasound machines mean tests can be carried out even in the most remote villages. Around 100 scanners had been seized in the initial crackdown (3), but long-term solutions are also needed which would need to be multi-pronged.
Your comments and suggestions are welcome.
1. Kashmir joins the all-India club of female foeticide. FirstPost. 28 June 2011.
2. A dream of freedom and the dead girls of Kashmir. The Telegraph June 23 2011.
3. Ultrasound scanners seized in bid to save unborn baby girls. Arab Times. 20 May 2011.