It is interesting how we as human beings are so inter-connected. We all live different lives and in different cities, and yet there is something more powerful that links each one of us. Incidents, situations, words, emotions, and technology link us all in more ways than we can imagine.
Sitting miles and miles away from India, where I belong and where I have lived my entire life, I cannot help but remain connected. While sitting at work in the US, my privileges allow me to have Indian newspapers delivered to my e-mailbox. It is now a common practice (due to time difference) that I wake up in the middle of the night, squint at my phone, and register some headlines of the day (even though, I don’t remember any of them, by the time I wake up!!)
One such headline, followed by an article, led me to a link on Youtube, this very morning and I was hooked to it. The video link (how I wish, there were subtitles) is about a reality based program that is being hosted by one of the Bollywood actors, namely Aamir Khan. The completely brilliant actor is also known for his humane and socially aware self. The program allows him to witness reality and live amidst social evils, and invite real-life heroes, perpetrators to talk about the issue. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyamev_Jayate_(TV_show))
The first episode was on a topic that shook the nation during its last census, last year. The decline in child sex ratio (0-6 years) from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 and further to 914 females per 1,000 males in 2011 — the lowest since independence in 1947, has been a cause for many a national debates. The sex ratios stood abysmally low in many states in India. Malpractices of sex determination despite the existence of acts like Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex selection) Act 1994, have prevailed. Despite several legal provisions, incentive-based schemes, social awareness, etc, the ‘unborn’ girl-child is the severely ostracized. And although it is just as menacing for a nation to dealing which the decreasing numbers, however more is it difficult for victims who go through this pain.
This program brought together 3 women with shocking stories, who struggled to give birth to their girl child and who were tortured to every possible extent, for bearing one . The first guest on the show was Amisha Yagnik from Ahmedabad. She said that she was forced by her husband and in-laws to abort her female unborn child six times in a span of eight years and further shares her experiences to finally give birth to a daughter later. The second guest, Parveen Khan from Morena, Madhya Pradesh shared the story of her husband disfiguring her face by biting it, when she insisted on giving birth to a female child against his wishes. Next, doctor from Delhi was asked by her orthopaedic surgeon husband and in-laws to abort her girl twins just after 20 weeks of conceiving. On the show, she said her husband and in-laws “took every wrong step to force me to abort” but thanks to her family ”I saved my kids.”
And however gruesome these stories may seem, these are realities that some survive in. They might not affect us in our day to day life, but they ache us. They connect us ‘in pain and solace’ to these women and many more around the world.