India: The Female Holocaust [Excerpts]
Preema, a young woman from a rural village in southern India, is the 12th daughter born to her parents. Yet, she has no older sisters. Each time Preema’s mother became pregnant and gave birth to a girl, she and her husband killed the newborn—disappointed it hadn’t been a boy.
After 12 births, Preema (not her real name), was the only girl they allowed to live....India’s 2011 census indicated the scope of the problem: The country has about 37 million more men than women, the result of millions of baby girls being drowned, strangled, or aborted. “We are dealing with a sex selection that has become a genocide,” said Sabu George, a member of India’s Campaign Against Sex Selection, who testified at the hearing. George said [that] in the past decade alone, Indian parents eliminated 6 million girls before birth: “This is much larger than the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust.”
In India, a girl’s parents are expected to provide a generous dowry to her future husband....If the husband and his family are unhappy with the bride and her dowry, they might mistreat the girl or even murder her.
Although both dowries and sex selection are formally illegal in India, the experts at Tuesday’s hearing said officials have little motivation at the national, state, and local government levels to enforce the laws. Some leaders view the culturally ingrained practice as a convenient way to enforce population control.
Matthew Connelly, a history professor at Columbia University, said India’s sex selection epidemic was encouraged by the population control movement promoted in the 1960s by U.S. organizations like Planned Parenthood and Population Council.