Andrew Buncombe: Official excuses are not going to solve this crisis

Share
Related Topics

In the states of Punjab and Haryana, famed as the home of the big fat Indian wedding, there is something of a marriage crisis. Such is the extent of the skewed gender ratio – the result, to a large extent, of female foeticide – there are not enough women to go round.

To ensure the young men of these largely agricultural states have a bride to wed when they reach the age of betrothal, a trafficking network has developed with young women brought in from other parts of the country.

"In these situations, marriage is not seen as being a relationship between two people. Women are seen just as sexual and reproductive resources," said Rita Banerjee, an activist from Delhi.

Many communities globally have a preference for sons rather than daughters. In India, the issue is complicated by inheritance practice and the cost of dowry payments when girls marry.

Of all the places where the balance between the numbers of young boys and young girls is skewed, nowhere is the situation more stark than in Jhajjar, a dusty town in Haryana, 40 miles west of Gurgaon, a satellite city of Delhi. For every 1,000 young boys, there are just 774 girls. Everyone here knows there is a problem. Spend 10 minutes chatting at a tea stand and you'll hear older men teasing the youngsters that their only chance of a bride is to pay for one from Kerala, a state in the south. Ask about the practice of selective abortion and everyone admits they have "heard" about it, and they can usually point you towards the nearest clinic, despite the procedure being illegal.

Education workers say classrooms have far fewer girls than boys. Health officials are trying to come up with ways of tackling the problem. But they also come up with excuses that obfuscate the issue. One senior health official claimed the "martial" nature of local people made it understandable there should be a genetic tendency for male children. When senior officials hold such views, it is unlikely the problem is going to be solved soon.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Executive

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exceptional opportunity has arisen for a pa...

Recruitment Genius: Kitchen and Bathroom Installers

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of designer kitch...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Jeb Bush's campaign will emphasise both his conservative record as a former governor of Florida and his commitment to building a more inclusive Republican Party  

American democracy is up for sale, and it’s a warning to us all

Shirley Williams
Pupils arrive at school with their parents at the start of a new school year  

School-run parents: be careful – very careful – what you wish for

Grace Dent
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border