Sex-selection, pop culture, and the tipping point

Is the tipping point (the level at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable) approaching for a change in attitudes towards the value of women and need to have sons?

There has been a widespread, public movement condemning sex-selection by the government, ngos, and others in the community for some time now (this hard-hitting song by Sarabjit Cheema is a must-see). Since Amartya Sen’s articulation of ‘missing women,’ the rights of women in developing countries have been at the forefront of international agendas. In a recent development, Sunita Rao, an Indian pop singer, has released a song condemning sex-selective abortion and become the spokesperson for the LAADLI campaign, funded by the United Nations Population Fund.

Suneeta Rao’s latest album WAQT’s press conference was held in Hotel Palace Heights, New Delhi. It was on behalf of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The singer is the official spokesperson of the Laadli campaign of UNFPA that focuses on the pleasure and pride of having a daughter and motivates people to fight injustice against the girl child. ‘The video of the first song in my album ‘Sun Zara’ is a dedication to all girls, Suneeta said, UNFPA has gratefully supported in making the video of this album. According to United Nations Population Fund, “This video has been made for the Girl Child, to address the issue of Sex Selection and to help stop female feticide”. [link]

The song mentioned above, Sun Zara:

YouTube Preview Image

Getting artists in the mainstream involved in social problems like this can be a great way to bring the issue into the sunlight, into daily conversation. It might not be effective in all circumstances (the Beastie Boys’ support of Tibet didn’t exactly change the Chinese government’s claims on the region), but for spreading a simple message, changing an outdated social norm, it could be effective. The lyrics don’t necessarily have a lot of substance, but her message- a condemnation of sex-selection is clear. Pop music may not be as popular as Bollywood in India, but it’ll still get play. Or if the play is too small, maybe the next collaboration should be with Bollywood.

The Deputy Director of Punjab’s Department of Social Security, Women & Child Development, Ashok Sharma, says that the overall ratio of girls to boys being born in Punjab is very slowly increasing. This agency tracks the number of births in every village through anganwadi workers, and collates totals monthly by district. (Their information isn’t available online). The state average for June 2008 was 801, and though monthly averages aren’t good measures (often sharply higher or lower, but average out over time), the birth ratios (number of girls born per 1,000 boys) by district in Punjab for June 2008 were:

Amritsar- 800; Barnala – 842; Bathinda- 793; Faridkot- 737; Ferozpur 869; Fatehgarh sahib- 919; Furdaspur- 841; Hoshiarpur – 719; Jalandhar- 716; Kapurthala – 667; Ludhiana – 730; Mansa – 720; Moga- 863; Muktsar- 811; Nawahshahr 885; Patiala- 854; Ropar- 803; Sangrur- 952; Mohali- 806; Tarn taran- 694 [courtesy of the Punjab Social Security, Women & Child Development, Chandigarh]

Unfortunately, this information represents only rural areas and no information has been collected in urban areas where the thirst for sons rages in the fight for status. These urban areas and populations have been neglected in the movement against sex-selection because urbanites are quick to point a finger at rural areas and call them ‘backwards.’ But the pervasive messages of pop culture would be quite effective in urban areas.

At least in India, I feel like the momentum is building against sex-selection. In the US, the problem seems more like a theoretical moral dilemma for bioethical debate, which is a problem I’ll leave for another post.


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52 Responses to “Sex-selection, pop culture, and the tipping point”

  1. baingandabhartha says:

    To get the punjabi massess on board, SGPC and other Sikh organizations will have to step in-particularly youth organizations-Sikh Student Federations-they are the vanguard of our community. When I say step in, it means on the levels of Punjabi Suba morchas, not the pathetic hand waving they are engaged in now.

    What irks me the most is that women themselves are the most involved in promoting female foeticide and the lust for a male child. I have had well educated AND undeducated people make remarks like 'koi nee-dhian vee rabb da jee hundian ney-aglee varee sahi' when I tell them I have a daughter. As if I got a consolation prize. Buncha ignorant $%*&s!

  2. Mewa Singh says:

    What are actual concrete steps that a community can take?

    Reema, how do we go beyond "raising awareness"? Or is that still the key?

    From my limited experience with the problem, it isn't that people are not aware. Everyone understands that there is a problem, but still they do not want to be the one to solve it (i.e. have a daughter). An attitude of 'let someone else do it' (as if having a daughter is a bad thing?) exists.

    I guess we can make it uncouth to make remarks such as that heard by bdb. Although I am not against 'morchas', but I guess with social issues is this the key? It may be, because the hope is by being part of a 'morcha' you are taking a public assertive stance. Still is this the only possibility? What are others?

  3. baingandabhartha says:

    To get the punjabi massess on board, SGPC and other Sikh organizations will have to step in-particularly youth organizations-Sikh Student Federations-they are the vanguard of our community. When I say step in, it means on the levels of Punjabi Suba morchas, not the pathetic hand waving they are engaged in now.
    What irks me the most is that women themselves are the most involved in promoting female foeticide and the lust for a male child. I have had well educated AND undeducated people make remarks like ‘koi nee-dhian vee rabb da jee hundian ney-aglee varee sahi’ when I tell them I have a daughter. As if I got a consolation prize. Buncha ignorant $%*&s!

  4. Mewa Singh says:

    What are actual concrete steps that a community can take?

    Reema, how do we go beyond “raising awareness”? Or is that still the key?

    From my limited experience with the problem, it isn’t that people are not aware. Everyone understands that there is a problem, but still they do not want to be the one to solve it (i.e. have a daughter). An attitude of ‘let someone else do it’ (as if having a daughter is a bad thing?) exists.

    I guess we can make it uncouth to make remarks such as that heard by bdb. Although I am not against ‘morchas’, but I guess with social issues is this the key? It may be, because the hope is by being part of a ‘morcha’ you are taking a public assertive stance. Still is this the only possibility? What are others?

  5. Camille says:

    I think what's really interesting in this conversation is that often parents will express concern for their daughters — they prefer not to have a daughter because they worry about her health, happiness, well-being in very gendered and different ways than boys. There's of course a huge double standard underlying this (along with numerous cultural idioms — how often have we heard the phrase that daughters become members of their husbands' houses, not their parents'?). I think people recognize the problems underlying sex selection, but I wonder how much we do about the other issues of gender equality that fuel this option. Is illegalizing sex-selective abortion or saying it is "bad" really enough? I don't think so. So I guess my question is, what do we have to do to begin to shift the conversation around the role of women in society, the home, and the family?

  6. Camille says:

    I think what’s really interesting in this conversation is that often parents will express concern for their daughters — they prefer not to have a daughter because they worry about her health, happiness, well-being in very gendered and different ways than boys. There’s of course a huge double standard underlying this (along with numerous cultural idioms — how often have we heard the phrase that daughters become members of their husbands’ houses, not their parents’?). I think people recognize the problems underlying sex selection, but I wonder how much we do about the other issues of gender equality that fuel this option. Is illegalizing sex-selective abortion or saying it is “bad” really enough? I don’t think so. So I guess my question is, what do we have to do to begin to shift the conversation around the role of women in society, the home, and the family?

  7. P.Singh says:

    Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but was there not a hukam from our Gurus to avoid having relations with 'kuri-maars'?

    [quote comment="3915"]What are actual concrete steps that a community can take?

    Reema, how do we go beyond "raising awareness"? Or is that still the key?

    From my limited experience with the problem, it isn't that people are not aware. Everyone understands that there is a problem, but still they do not want to be the one to solve it (i.e. have a daughter). An attitude of 'let someone else do it' (as if having a daughter is a bad thing?) exists.

    I guess we can make it uncouth to make remarks such as that heard by bdb. Although I am not against 'morchas', but I guess with social issues is this the key? It may be, because the hope is by being part of a 'morcha' you are taking a public assertive stance. Still is this the only possibility? What are others?[/quote]

  8. Mewa Singh says:

    you are correct P.Singh.

    But the practice continues and so do the relations.

    In fact one "kuri-maar" was a former SGPC president.

  9. Suki says:

    Amritsar- 800; Barnala – 842; Bathinda- 793; Faridkot- 737; Ferozpur 869; Fatehgarh sahib- 919; Furdaspur- 841; Hoshiarpur – 719; Jalandhar- 716; Kapurthala – 667; Ludhiana – 730; Mansa – 720; Moga- 863; Muktsar- 811; Nawahshahr 885; Patiala- 854; Ropar- 803; Sangrur- 952; Mohali- 806; Tarn taran- 694 [courtesy of the Punjab Social Security, Women & Child Development, Chandigarh]

    I wonder what the numbers are here in the west among areas with alarge punjabi population.

  10. P.Singh says:

    Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but was there not a hukam from our Gurus to avoid having relations with ‘kuri-maars’?

    [quote comment=”3915″]What are actual concrete steps that a community can take?

    Reema, how do we go beyond “raising awareness”? Or is that still the key?

    From my limited experience with the problem, it isn’t that people are not aware. Everyone understands that there is a problem, but still they do not want to be the one to solve it (i.e. have a daughter). An attitude of ‘let someone else do it’ (as if having a daughter is a bad thing?) exists.

    I guess we can make it uncouth to make remarks such as that heard by bdb. Although I am not against ‘morchas’, but I guess with social issues is this the key? It may be, because the hope is by being part of a ‘morcha’ you are taking a public assertive stance. Still is this the only possibility? What are others?[/quote]

  11. Mewa Singh says:

    you are correct P.Singh.

    But the practice continues and so do the relations.

    In fact one “kuri-maar” was a former SGPC president.

  12. Reema says:

    Mewa Singh- In India at least, there is plenty of awareness (though there may be room for more here in the US). That can only be the first step.

    how do we go beyond “raising awareness”?

    How do you change a community's values? There have been studies (which may be flawed) showing that community values actually can change from top down approaches- such as enforcing a law. In this case, the problem would only resurface elsewhere in a different form. There need to be both top down as well as bottom up approaches.

    Camille has the right idea- that this isn't just about sex-selection itself, but about the underlying devaluing of women in many spheres of our community (which ends up erupting in things like the Bristol 'riot'). Sex selection is just one incarnation of a greater problem- the role and value of women in our community, and that underlying theme is what has to change. But it's so amorphous that it has to be addressed through specific things like sex-selection, domestic violence, increasing decision making power, promoting economic independence.

    More concretely- having a campaign about dowry, but with no enforcement of a law banning dowry makes the campaign almost futile. What's at issue is an attitude that pervades many spheres, and so each of those needs to be addressed simultaneously, while at the same time addressing the concrete incidents that the devaluing leads to. Such a coordinated effort is quite possible, but unfortunately, it just hasn't been a community priority… and I don't think enough people are interested today still in the general devaluing of women, to make it a priority. Sex-selection is the hot topic today, but the Indian government only made that a national priority after the international press shamed it by reporting heavily on the atrocious birth ratios.

    What irks me the most is that women themselves are the most involved in promoting female foeticide and the lust for a male child.

    BDB- When a person thinks/believes, do their ideas come out of thin air? Or are they a result of their environment and experiences? Women absorb and embrace the values of their communities as much as the next guy or gal. But I do think that today's generation (both in the diaspora and India) is in a FAR better position to challenge norms and values than we've been in in the past couple decades because more women are working =ing greater decision making power. BDB- you may not be condemning these women and only pointing out the tragedy of their beliefs, but just in case… 😉

  13. Suki says:

    Amritsar- 800; Barnala – 842; Bathinda- 793; Faridkot- 737; Ferozpur 869; Fatehgarh sahib- 919; Furdaspur- 841; Hoshiarpur – 719; Jalandhar- 716; Kapurthala – 667; Ludhiana – 730; Mansa – 720; Moga- 863; Muktsar- 811; Nawahshahr 885; Patiala- 854; Ropar- 803; Sangrur- 952; Mohali- 806; Tarn taran- 694 [courtesy of the Punjab Social Security, Women & Child Development, Chandigarh]

    I wonder what the numbers are here in the west among areas with alarge punjabi population.

  14. Reema says:

    Suki,

    I wonder the same thing. Unfortunately, the US census doesn't capture 'Punjabi' in its data collection. I heard a while ago that a medical student was doing some research on this, but haven't heard anything since- whether she's finished, what the results were, etc. Without concrete numbers, it's harder to get the attention of the public- people can ignore the issue or pretend that it's being blown out of proportion.

  15. Reema says:

    Mewa Singh- In India at least, there is plenty of awareness (though there may be room for more here in the US). That can only be the first step.

    how do we go beyond “raising awareness”?

    How do you change a community’s values? There have been studies (which may be flawed) showing that community values actually can change from top down approaches- such as enforcing a law. In this case, the problem would only resurface elsewhere in a different form. There need to be both top down as well as bottom up approaches.

    Camille has the right idea- that this isn’t just about sex-selection itself, but about the underlying devaluing of women in many spheres of our community (which ends up erupting in things like the Bristol ‘riot’). Sex selection is just one incarnation of a greater problem- the role and value of women in our community, and that underlying theme is what has to change. But it’s so amorphous that it has to be addressed through specific things like sex-selection, domestic violence, increasing decision making power, promoting economic independence.

    More concretely- having a campaign about dowry, but with no enforcement of a law banning dowry makes the campaign almost futile. What’s at issue is an attitude that pervades many spheres, and so each of those needs to be addressed simultaneously, while at the same time addressing the concrete incidents that the devaluing leads to. Such a coordinated effort is quite possible, but unfortunately, it just hasn’t been a community priority… and I don’t think enough people are interested today still in the general devaluing of women, to make it a priority. Sex-selection is the hot topic today, but the Indian government only made that a national priority after the international press shamed it by reporting heavily on the atrocious birth ratios.

    What irks me the most is that women themselves are the most involved in promoting female foeticide and the lust for a male child.

    BDB- When a person thinks/believes, do their ideas come out of thin air? Or are they a result of their environment and experiences? Women absorb and embrace the values of their communities as much as the next guy or gal. But I do think that today’s generation (both in the diaspora and India) is in a FAR better position to challenge norms and values than we’ve been in in the past couple decades because more women are working =ing greater decision making power. BDB- you may not be condemning these women and only pointing out the tragedy of their beliefs, but just in case… 😉

  16. Reema says:

    Suki,

    I wonder the same thing. Unfortunately, the US census doesn’t capture ‘Punjabi’ in its data collection. I heard a while ago that a medical student was doing some research on this, but haven’t heard anything since- whether she’s finished, what the results were, etc. Without concrete numbers, it’s harder to get the attention of the public- people can ignore the issue or pretend that it’s being blown out of proportion.

  17. Suki says:

    the consumerist model of reproductive medicine in the US, and cultural values that unfortunately have not changed dramatically despite immigration. (this should, perhaps, not be a surprise; just because people move geographically does not mean that their values change).

    Sunita I admire you courage to make comments like this.

  18. Sunita says:

    So I am actually the medical student who has done research on sex selection among south asians (mainly punjabis) in the us and canada…much to say on my research (i've been doing this for four years and am currently writing several papers and a book) but suffice it to say that this is something occurring rampantly in south asian communities in the US through various forms of technological innovation (from ultrasounds/selective terminations to preconception sex selection) and it is an issue mediated by medical professionals, the consumerist model of reproductive medicine in the US, and cultural values that unfortunately have not changed dramatically despite immigration. (this should, perhaps, not be a surprise; just because people move geographically does not mean that their values change). in any case, i can't write much more here because i'll write a treatise (!) but you are always welcome to email me and i can answer questions based on my research.

  19. Sunita says:

    So I am actually the medical student who has done research on sex selection among south asians (mainly punjabis) in the us and canada…much to say on my research (i’ve been doing this for four years and am currently writing several papers and a book) but suffice it to say that this is something occurring rampantly in south asian communities in the US through various forms of technological innovation (from ultrasounds/selective terminations to preconception sex selection) and it is an issue mediated by medical professionals, the consumerist model of reproductive medicine in the US, and cultural values that unfortunately have not changed dramatically despite immigration. (this should, perhaps, not be a surprise; just because people move geographically does not mean that their values change). in any case, i can’t write much more here because i’ll write a treatise (!) but you are always welcome to email me and i can answer questions based on my research.

  20. Reema says:

    Sunita,

    Welcome to The Langar Hall!

    When do you project the results of your research to be publicly available?

  21. Reema says:

    Sunita,

    Welcome to The Langar Hall!

    When do you project the results of your research to be publicly available?

  22. Suki says:

    I have one child a daughter that turns 10 later this year, but no sons and that has left alot people in punjabi community here in Vancouver confused to why I don't have a son.

    I have lost count at many times people in punjabi community including people I barely know ask me when I'm gonna have a son, not another baby, but a boy. They tell me things like they go to the gurdawara and pray that I have a son. Heck the a guy at the local pizza place told me that he will give 10 free pizza when if I have a son.

    When I tell people in the punjabi community I don't need to have a son to make my life complete, and I don't really care about passing on the family name and stuff like that, they are somewhat shocked.

  23. Suki says:

    This is a clinic just across the border from Surrey BC in the United States for women to find out the sex of the baby alot earlier then they can in Canada.

    Look at which languages they serve you in and the name of the people you talk to set up apointment. Consider how many different languages and ethnic groups make up the Vancouver area.

    http://www.koalalabs.com/office.asp

    Ads of there have been seen in a few different punjabi newspapers in the Vancouver area.

  24. Suki says:

    I wonder the same thing. Unfortunately, the US census doesn’t capture ‘Punjabi’ in its data collection. I heard a while ago that a medical student was doing some research on this, but haven’t heard anything since

    Reema here some news about Canada.

    While the nationwide average according to Statistics Canada is 105 male births to every 100 female births, a 2003 study by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada found that in Surrey, B.C. – populated heavily by Sikh Canadian families – there were 109 boys to every 100 girls.
    http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/431244

  25. Suki says:

    This article was from the globe and mail last year, you have to purchase to look at it now, but here the key part.

    Anubha Dhanju says she noticed the imbalance because of an innocent comment by her son. "My son came home one afternoon and wondered why girls don't go to school," she says.

    Ms. Dhanju, a teacher in Mississauga, says her son had noticed there were few girls of Indian origin in his class at Roberta Bondar Public School, located in a part of Brampton where many immigrants from India have made a home.

    . . .

    "We kill our girls in the womb, even before they are born," says Amandeep Kaur, a consultant with the Mississauga-based Punjabi Community Health Centre. "It's sad, but the truth."

    . . .

    But officials with the Peel District School Board, which oversees schools in Brampton and Mississauga, disagree that there is an issue. "We have not observed this," says Varsha Naik, a community liaison co-ordinator for the Peel board, although she acknowledges that "certain communities from South Asia still continue to put greater value in having a male child."

  26. Suki says:

    the consumerist model of reproductive medicine in the US, and cultural values that unfortunately have not changed dramatically despite immigration. (this should, perhaps, not be a surprise; just because people move geographically does not mean that their values change).

    Sunita I admire you courage to make comments like this.

  27. Suki says:

    I have one child a daughter that turns 10 later this year, but no sons and that has left alot people in punjabi community here in Vancouver confused to why I don’t have a son.

    I have lost count at many times people in punjabi community including people I barely know ask me when I’m gonna have a son, not another baby, but a boy. They tell me things like they go to the gurdawara and pray that I have a son. Heck the a guy at the local pizza place told me that he will give 10 free pizza when if I have a son.

    When I tell people in the punjabi community I don’t need to have a son to make my life complete, and I don’t really care about passing on the family name and stuff like that, they are somewhat shocked.

  28. Suki says:

    This is a clinic just across the border from Surrey BC in the United States for women to find out the sex of the baby alot earlier then they can in Canada.

    Look at which languages they serve you in and the name of the people you talk to set up apointment. Consider how many different languages and ethnic groups make up the Vancouver area.

    http://www.koalalabs.com/office.asp

    Ads of there have been seen in a few different punjabi newspapers in the Vancouver area.

  29. Suki says:

    I wonder the same thing. Unfortunately, the US census doesn’t capture ‘Punjabi’ in its data collection. I heard a while ago that a medical student was doing some research on this, but haven’t heard anything since

    Reema here some news about Canada.

    While the nationwide average according to Statistics Canada is 105 male births to every 100 female births, a 2003 study by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada found that in Surrey, B.C. – populated heavily by Sikh Canadian families – there were 109 boys to every 100 girls.
    http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/431244

  30. Suki says:

    This article was from the globe and mail last year, you have to purchase to look at it now, but here the key part.

    Anubha Dhanju says she noticed the imbalance because of an innocent comment by her son. “My son came home one afternoon and wondered why girls don’t go to school,” she says.

    Ms. Dhanju, a teacher in Mississauga, says her son had noticed there were few girls of Indian origin in his class at Roberta Bondar Public School, located in a part of Brampton where many immigrants from India have made a home.
    . . .
    “We kill our girls in the womb, even before they are born,” says Amandeep Kaur, a consultant with the Mississauga-based Punjabi Community Health Centre. “It’s sad, but the truth.”
    . . .
    But officials with the Peel District School Board, which oversees schools in Brampton and Mississauga, disagree that there is an issue. “We have not observed this,” says Varsha Naik, a community liaison co-ordinator for the Peel board, although she acknowledges that “certain communities from South Asia still continue to put greater value in having a male child.”

  31. baingandabhartha says:

    BDB- When a person thinks/believes, do their ideas come out of thin air? Or are they a result of their environment and experiences? Women absorb and embrace the values of their communities as much as the next guy or gal. But I do think that today's generation (both in the diaspora and India) is in a FAR better position to challenge norms and values than we've been in in the past couple decades because more women are working =ing greater decision making power

    I agree that one's environment plays a great role-however, there are plenty of enlightened folks who live in that "dheean praya dhan hundia" and realize that this is a fallacious argument-my own parents being primary examples for me. My mother prayed for a daughter when my daughter was in the womb.

    When somebody starts spouting these theories, I ask them 'kyon?" And after one or two kyons they run out of answers-then some will become be-sharam and say -thats how it is and some will introspect and say you are right-but thats how everyone does it!

    Face it, the majority (okay maybe not majority but a significant portion) of our people are ingnorant sheep-if some baba comes along and changes this it might work. Of course babas usually make money out of guaranteeing sons the next time….

  32. baingandabhartha says:

    BDB- When a person thinks/believes, do their ideas come out of thin air? Or are they a result of their environment and experiences? Women absorb and embrace the values of their communities as much as the next guy or gal. But I do think that today’s generation (both in the diaspora and India) is in a FAR better position to challenge norms and values than we’ve been in in the past couple decades because more women are working =ing greater decision making power

    I agree that one’s environment plays a great role-however, there are plenty of enlightened folks who live in that “dheean praya dhan hundia” and realize that this is a fallacious argument-my own parents being primary examples for me. My mother prayed for a daughter when my daughter was in the womb.

    When somebody starts spouting these theories, I ask them ‘kyon?” And after one or two kyons they run out of answers-then some will become be-sharam and say -thats how it is and some will introspect and say you are right-but thats how everyone does it!
    Face it, the majority (okay maybe not majority but a significant portion) of our people are ingnorant sheep-if some baba comes along and changes this it might work. Of course babas usually make money out of guaranteeing sons the next time….

  33. P.Singh says:

    I have seen the odd speech done at gurdwaras, advising the sangat why sex-selection is counter to Sikh principles, why daughters and sons both are to be cherished and treated equally. However, these speeches, katha on such topics are not frequent enough.

    Perhaps, until this matter is remedied, there is a need to have more speeches, more forums etc. on these issues and Sikh institutional support behind it all – to hammer the point home. Perhaps one day every two weeks, once a month, devoted to such matters at the local gurdwara?

    Others have not agreed with me on this point before, but I see no problem in creating an environment where individuals are shamed for killing girls. Our Gurus commanded Sikhs to abstain from having relations with 'kuri-maars' and rejection of 'kuri-maars' would definitely have reduced the image/respect of 'kuri-maars' in society – ironic, because these 'kuri-maars' were killing their daughters, in hopes of sons, which would elevate their social status.

    In addition to other means we can help aid us in combatting this evil – is there any reason why we cannot use the strategy provided by our Gurus? In our warm and fuzzy PC society, perhaps it seems harsh to make pariahs of certain people in our community. That said, our Gurus were the epitome of love and forgiveness, and they felt strongly enough about 'kuri-maars' to issue such a hukam. A tough approach may be the best approach.

    As Mewa Singh stated, the Guru's strategy seems to have been ignored over the years – can we not bring it into play again? Surely, there must be some way to introduce this strategy into our community.

    Or am I completely off-mark, and such an approach simply wouldn't work today?

  34. P.Singh says:

    I have seen the odd speech done at gurdwaras, advising the sangat why sex-selection is counter to Sikh principles, why daughters and sons both are to be cherished and treated equally. However, these speeches, katha on such topics are not frequent enough.

    Perhaps, until this matter is remedied, there is a need to have more speeches, more forums etc. on these issues and Sikh institutional support behind it all – to hammer the point home. Perhaps one day every two weeks, once a month, devoted to such matters at the local gurdwara?

    Others have not agreed with me on this point before, but I see no problem in creating an environment where individuals are shamed for killing girls. Our Gurus commanded Sikhs to abstain from having relations with ‘kuri-maars’ and rejection of ‘kuri-maars’ would definitely have reduced the image/respect of ‘kuri-maars’ in society – ironic, because these ‘kuri-maars’ were killing their daughters, in hopes of sons, which would elevate their social status.

    In addition to other means we can help aid us in combatting this evil – is there any reason why we cannot use the strategy provided by our Gurus? In our warm and fuzzy PC society, perhaps it seems harsh to make pariahs of certain people in our community. That said, our Gurus were the epitome of love and forgiveness, and they felt strongly enough about ‘kuri-maars’ to issue such a hukam. A tough approach may be the best approach.

    As Mewa Singh stated, the Guru’s strategy seems to have been ignored over the years – can we not bring it into play again? Surely, there must be some way to introduce this strategy into our community.

    Or am I completely off-mark, and such an approach simply wouldn’t work today?

  35. Mewa Singh says:

    I will step forward and say I agree with you P.Singh. Public shaming does work and should be employed (although not in all situations). I do remember aiding with a Jakara Junior regional camp some years ago. A workshop about internet safety was conducted in 9 cities throughout California: (Sacramento, San Jose, El Sobrante, Orange County, Fresno, Bakersfield, Turlock, Livingston, Los Angeles). In the divan hall, during the powerpoint workshop about internet safety, pictures of convicted sexual offenders were displayed. While some people opposed this action, I had no problem witht he organizers doing such work. So yes, P.Singh, in some capacity I do believe that public-shaming can be an effective tool.

  36. Suki says:

    What would happen if 60 minutes or Dateline NBC did a major report on one of there shows about the male/female birth rate among punjabis both in India and also among punjabi communities in the west.

    I have feeling that the punjabi community leaders would attack the coverage by the media and not even talk about the issue.

  37. Mewa Singh says:

    I will step forward and say I agree with you P.Singh. Public shaming does work and should be employed (although not in all situations). I do remember aiding with a Jakara Junior regional camp some years ago. A workshop about internet safety was conducted in 9 cities throughout California: (Sacramento, San Jose, El Sobrante, Orange County, Fresno, Bakersfield, Turlock, Livingston, Los Angeles). In the divan hall, during the powerpoint workshop about internet safety, pictures of convicted sexual offenders were displayed. While some people opposed this action, I had no problem witht he organizers doing such work. So yes, P.Singh, in some capacity I do believe that public-shaming can be an effective tool.

  38. Suki says:

    What would happen if 60 minutes or Dateline NBC did a major report on one of there shows about the male/female birth rate among punjabis both in India and also among punjabi communities in the west.

    I have feeling that the punjabi community leaders would attack the coverage by the media and not even talk about the issue.

  39. Mewa Singh says:

    Depends how they do it Suki.

    Any other blanket comments you would like to make?

  40. Suki says:

    Any other blanket comments you would like to make?

    Can you please tell which of my comments that you did not agree with, then I can respond to why that is a blanket statement.

  41. Mewa Singh says:

    Depends how they do it Suki.

    Any other blanket comments you would like to make?

  42. Suki says:

    Any other blanket comments you would like to make?

    Can you please tell which of my comments that you did not agree with, then I can respond to why that is a blanket statement.

  43. […] remember a few years ago at the same Jakara Junior camp that Mewa Singh described, in a separate female forum, female participants viewed the Dove advertisement “Evolution” to […]

  44. P.Singh says:

    I'll bite. Mewa Singh is referring to your following statement:

    I have feeling that the punjabi community leaders would attack the coverage by the media and not even talk about the issue

  45. P.Singh says:

    I’ll bite. Mewa Singh is referring to your following statement:

    I have feeling that the punjabi community leaders would attack the coverage by the media and not even talk about the issue

  46. baingandabhartha says:

    I agree with the whole shaming thing. I think those speeches in the gurdwara should be given by little girls to bring the point across. I think it has to be incorporated into our ardaas-where we remember our shaheeds we should remember our generations of girls lost by kuri-maars. I think the SGPC should make an addendum to the ardaas.

  47. baingandabhartha says:

    I agree with the whole shaming thing. I think those speeches in the gurdwara should be given by little girls to bring the point across. I think it has to be incorporated into our ardaas-where we remember our shaheeds we should remember our generations of girls lost by kuri-maars. I think the SGPC should make an addendum to the ardaas.

  48. Reema says:

    I think those speeches in the gurdwara should be given by little girls to bring the point across.

    Great idea bdb, that would add a healthy dose of shame.

  49. Reema says:

    I think those speeches in the gurdwara should be given by little girls to bring the point across.

    Great idea bdb, that would add a healthy dose of shame.

  50. […] not having the ‘right’ job, getting married too early or too late, etc. (though as commenters have discussed, there may be a productive use for shaming too). Maybe we should learn from the Icelandic – stop […]

  51. Rana says:

    it is anti sikh killing girls, as we were amongst te earliest to gove women equal rights.Problem is that sikh religion gives women equality, but Punjabi culture does not, and the two are symbiotic.

  52. Rana says:

    it is anti sikh killing girls, as we were amongst te earliest to gove women equal rights.Problem is that sikh religion gives women equality, but Punjabi culture does not, and the two are symbiotic.