Statistics reveal that India's child sex ratio dropped from 964 in 1971 to a low of 918 in 2011. Between 2001 and 2011, the decline was seen in more than two-thirds of the districts in the country. A 2011 study published in The Lancet, it was revealed that as many as 12 million Indian girls may have been selectively aborted between 1980 and 2010. People in remote Indian villages still see girls as liability, because of the prevalence of dowry, which has been declared illegal. Sons, on the other hand, can inherit property, continue the family line, and play an important role in important Hindu rituals.
It was after giving birth to 14 daughters that an Indian couple were finally 'blessed' with a son. Kanuben Sangod is pregnant again and wants to have another son. Both Kanuben and her husband Ram Singh Sangod are small time farmers and the family lives hand to mouth. Their daughters help them in the fields. Of the 14 daughters born to the couple, two died while another two were married off at a very young age.
AdvertisementGiving birth to a son does not seem to have satiated the couple's desire for a male child. Kanuben is pregnant once again and the couple hopes it is a boy again this time. Kanuben said, "I got married at a very young age and wanted to have a male child, but 14 girls were born and eventually I gave birth to a boy. Now I am expecting again and we will feel good if a boy is born."
Kanuben is not willing to reveal her age. The couple has plans for another son as they fear if something happens to their only son, who is one-and-a-half-year old, their efforts will go in vain. The father admits that it is hard to remember the names of all his children. He said, "I have 14 children. I keep forgetting their names. It is hard to remember so many names."
President of Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Parishad (All India Tribal Council), Somjibhai Damor, explains, "Though girls are not shunned in tribal societies but having a son is considered essential to carry forward the family lineage. In our tribal society it is believed that there should be at least one son as he takes the name of the family forward. In our society birth of girls is not an issue, we welcome them as goddesses into our families."