Once upon a time a girl who was born in India”. It could be the beginning of a nice tale but, in this case unfortunately, it's a curse. It's a well-known fact that, for decades, having two daughters in China was forbidden. When a marriage had a second daughter they were forced to give her up for adoption or to pay a huge fine. But, what happens in other countries?

In India, killing the second daughter is a common fact and not only in the poorest areas or when you belong to a low caste, but in the richest regions of the country as well. And what is the reason for this appalling behaviour? Their parents will not be able to pay for her dowry.

A woman talks about more than ten different ways to kill a baby. Let´s go through that ghastly repertoire: feeding her with poisoned milk, pressing her face with a damp pillow, letting her alone without clothes or food, just to name a few. As you can imagine, their mothers are unable to do this but in a large number of cases, when they return from fetching water, they find their babies dead; maybe her mother in law, her husband, a neighbour or a traditional healer could have done the murderous job against her will.

The popular culture keeps two astonishing beliefs:

-        A woman who conceives only girls, is a disabled woman and she will only bring you bad luck.

-        If you kill the second daughter, the following baby should be a man.

In India, marriages aren’t out of love but out of family arrangements. The boy’s parents choose their future daughter in law. Some times boy and girl doesn’t know each other at all or, even, they are kids. Their parents will agree about the terms of the wedding and the amount of money that the girl’s parents are ready to pay for her, usually in the way of jewels. It is hardly surprising that lots of parents end up getting into debt for the rest of their lives and only for one daughter.

Nonetheless, women’s curse doesn’t end here. If they were to be widowers without a family or supposing that their parents couldn’t afford to pay for the dowry, they will join up in the devadasi system: a prostitution system “under the gods’ blessing”. Thus, hopefully, they won’t have to beg for food although nobody will show any respect for them.

That’s the reason why charity organizations have a hard job to do. They must fight against social rules, caste system, and the popular belief according to which if you live a miserable existence you will have to accept it and you can only wait for a new better life in your reincarnation.



© Plataforma creada por Alfonso Hinojosa - Profesor de Inglés de la E.O.I. de Santander