Is the Indian Girl a Panda?

“Are you passionate about adopting stray dogs, or saving tigers, the environment or girl child?”

This was the question posed to readers in The Asian Age newspaper (April 17, 2010, p.16)

Could the mass annihilation of any other human group—the Jews, Tutsis, or Armenians, be put forth in such terms by a major newspaper?
More than 50 million women have been exterminated in India. Killed through selected feticide –Infanticide — Dowry murders. It is a blood bath. A systematic and targeted annihilation. A fallout of a raging, lawless misogyny.
Yet India and the International organizations have stubbornly refused to recognize this as a legal and human rights issue. They have refused to treat this like any other genocide.
Instead the effort has been to de-humanize the issue. To treat it more like a problem of demography and gender ratios, or perhaps conservation, like that of tigers and pandas, as reflected in the newspaper article cited above.

Indeed, most campaigns and projects seem to be transplants of World Wild Life Fund projects to save endangered species of animals. “Save the Panda.” Hence “Save the Girl.” ‘Incentives’ are provided to communities to ‘conserve’ the girls! They are similarly supplemented with all the appropriate props – badges, posters, greeting cards and calendars. Buy these things to ‘save the girl.’
But who is saving the girl ?
Will we have a “reserve” for them like we do for Pandas?
Will we breed them, so we can have more of them for posterity?
Will we export samples of successfully ‘saved girls’ to the Washington National zoo, and give them peppy names like ‘Sita’ and Gita’ so excited children gape at them in glass cages?
What will it take for us to learn that ‘saving the girl’ is not a hobby?
When will we acknowledge that the Indian girl is not a panda?

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4 Comments

  1. Tom

     /  May 18, 2010

    Continue to speak out ……. it is interesting that we humans will take offense to helpless animals abused by man or woman …… except of course that child born of the wrong gender. Will it ever be trendy and hip to support the child silenced simply becasue she will grow to be a woman? …… Where are the woman’s right advocates when their own are put to death or sold into slavery. Some speak out but never enough! Never with the volume and strength that this “genderocide” commends!

    (Ahhh if the birth could have only been a male with so much potential!)

    How disturbed the way we view the value of a female birth!

    Reply
  2. Tom

     /  May 18, 2010

    Correction”

    Continue to speak out ……. it is interesting that we humans will take offense to helpless animals abused by man or woman …… except of course that child born of the wrong gender. Will it ever be trendy and hip to support the child silenced simply becasue she will grow to be a woman? …… Where are the woman’s right advocates when their own are put to death or sold into slavery. Some speak out but never enough! Never with the volume and strength that this “genderocide” commands!

    (Ahhh if the birth could have only been a male with so much potential!)

    How disturbed the way we view the value of a female birth!

    Reply
    • Rita Banerji

       /  May 19, 2010

      It is true. I find women’s groups in India often trying to tread the line. How can we put it so that it is not offensive to everyone? But look at any human rights violation and the fight to set it right — apartheid, slavery, and colonialism — unless you look it in the eye and call it by name — you cannot even begin to hope for change.

      Reply
  3. thank you, Rita,
    you inspired me to write in my daily wordpress blog an article with the title MERCY:
    http://flickrcomments.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/mercy/
    I’ve set a link to your IS THE INDIAN GIRL A PANDA – of course

    Reply

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