Sikhi Is Part of the Solution: Ending Gendercide

Gendercide is a well-known problem in India. The BBC and ABC 20/20 have highlighted this issue. The low sex-ratio in Punjab, India shows how the soil, which gave birth to Sikhi is not devoid of this problem. The land on which our Gurus proclaimed the equality of women when others considered her impure has now become the dumping ground for unwanted baby girls. Their pure bodies are thrown onto piles of garbage for dogs to nibble away. Dead fetuses are stuffed into water wells.

A seminal research study conducted by Monica Das Gupta on selective discrimination against female children in Punjab states that Punjabi Sikh women are highly educated and well-treated in Punjab compared to other states. The harsh reality is that a rise in status has not changed the value of women. Women can be loved and cared for, but still under valued. They can be highly educated and treated well, but families want one of these daughters not two. But two sons would be okay. The value of daughters and sons is displayed when couples develop family-building strategies. How many children to have? If we have one daughter or two, will we be content with another daughter? Should we have only one son? Studies show that common answers to these questions are strongly rooted in a distorted value system, which reinforces the secondary status of women and allows for structures to be created to perpetuate this inequity. Thus, value systems and structures produce a circular cycle of mutually reinforcing each other.

The Sikh Gurus gifted us a value system that does not permit this secondary status of women. However, many have chosen not to implement it in their lives. It has even seeped its way into how Sikhi is practiced. Women are not allowed to do all kinds of seva at the Harmandar Sahib and our granthis/ragis kathaa most often highlight how a Sikh woman went to the Guru to request only a son.

If Sikhi is a key element to any solution for gendercide within the Punjabi Sikh community, wouldnt kathaa/sikhyaa in the Gurdwara be the most logical place to start? We do enter the house of our Guru to understand and reinforce our Sikh value system.

On a recent Sunday, I was delightfully surprised and humbled to hear the principal of a Sikh academy in Anandpur Sahib highlight the issue of female feticide as his students sang in a keertan darbar. It was that transitional space between shabads. One had been completed and another one was about to begin. He began with Sikh history. In a calm, steady, and matter of fact way he beautifully and concisely articulated how a Mughal badshah would create havoc in Punjab. He would steal everything that had been cultivated by Punjabis throughout the year. The next year he would return to another bounty, which he would steal again. He asked one of his intellectuals to write a report on how the Punjabis were able to cultivate rich harvest each year after he had taken everything they had. The report concluded that the key element was Punjabs daughter. She is very strong and resilient. Her ability to bring all those disheartened by the Mughal badshahs actions and inspire them to cultivate the land again is very powerful. The principal then ended that today we are killing this sincere source of strength and inspiration in her mothers womb. As daughter killers, we are moving away from our Sikh value system rather than closer to it. He ended by reiterating that we should embrace the principles given to us by our Gurus. And another beautiful shabad began.

The entire sangat was captivated. I believe the emotional and spiritual state created by beautifully sung keertan helps the sangat become open and reflective about our Sikh-based value system. It is the perfect opportunity to discuss social issues related to how we practice these values. Why? Because keertan is when we are intimately reminded of what kind of value system our Gurus gifted us. The beauty of keertan lies in its ability to kiss, hug, and gently slap us into remembering who our Gurus wanted Sikhs to be.

This reflection and implementation of Sikh values can lead to powerful forms of change to address gendercide. Prakash Kaur has created immediate change through Unique Home for Girls. Along with the support of female volunteers, she rescues unwanted baby girls and gives them a unique home full of love, care, and inspiration. Prakash Kaur is a courageous woman, who was an abandoned daughter, and has become a mother and father to over 60 unwanted baby girls. She is an amritdhari woman who found empowerment/inspiration through Sikhi to do this seva. She did not wait for change to happen. She helped create change.

Prakash Kaur tells Priyanka Rai, Yeh uparwaale ka kaam hai. Jab ussney yeh zimmedaari di hai to himmat bhi wohi dega. Jab aaj tak mujhe koi mushkil nahin aayee to aagey bhi nahin aayegi. Neki key kaam mein kabhi koi rukawat nahin aati.

Rai writes, But living space is the least of the homes problems for the hearts here are big. This is like a huge family where the older girls take care of the younger ones. We are told by the founder that the girls go to good English medium schools like Saint Marys in Mussoorie. A few have since been married into suitable homes. But Prakash Kaurs responsibility does not end there. She continues to keep a watch over the girls even after they are married. She fights for their rights if the in-laws prove to be difficult.

You can watch more about her work below [Go to 04:15]. [The entire video of Part 2 of the 20/20 special is worth watching.]

 

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Gender inequity, particularly female feticide is a value-based issue. It happens in Punjab and the United States. It sees no class or educational levels. People often turn to faith for values. Then why not make Sikhi part of the solution?


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55 Responses to “Sikhi Is Part of the Solution: Ending Gendercide”

  1. sjsrana says:

    Right now SIKHS are FORCED to MARRY under HINDU MARRIAGE ACT, having SIKH marriage ACT shall wipe-off GENDERCIDE,
    http://members.beforeitsnews.com/story/1032/421/P
    @sjsrana – twitter

    • NKaur says:

      how does the hindu act promote gendercide? Thats about marriage whereas gendercide is a social/cultural issue within the people of Punjab, not just hindus or sikhs.

      • sjsrana says:

        I'm not against any religion however, here the some facts to open your eyes if you are not connected to planet EARTH,
        Look back history of india dominated by Hindu system/tradition, where women were openly burned alive 'SATI' system, bingo!
        India – Hindus forced women to veil 'PARDA' system. bingo!
        india – forced women to be distributed, like an object (Draupdi – panchali – mahabharat), is it not correct?
        Hindu act promotes male when it comes to legacy wealth distribution, hey I can go on and on…….
        Hoping madam NKaur you now have your answers, further in Sikh-code-of-conduct Gendercide based on any gender-favor is prohibited.
        India has adapted RACISM forcing Sikhs to marry under HINDU marriage system ever-since india gained independence 60+ years back while rest other religions are allowed to follow their own act.
        Further, this article is biased and misleading people into believing that Punjab/Sikhs have aggravated this problem of GENDERCIDE while they ignore the FACT regarding india's capital DELHI – —- http://members.beforeitsnews.com/story/177/660/In

  2. Is there kantay says:

    The preference for boys, or of not having girls is probably multiply determined. The kinds of people who in this day would actually kill a living child are deviant. Are you suggesting the punjabi community in Punjab and North America are fostering that level of deviancy and that we as a whole are basically the equivalent of Germans under the third reich? How else can you interpret the apparent thesis that we are now seeing widespread systems of belief that condone the killing of living children to be left to be eaten by wild animals? Is any level of hyperbole acceptable ostensibly to shock people into awareness? Anyone killing a living child has committed a crime. They need to be charged and tried. Is abortion a crime? Is abortion gendercide? If indeed there are people out there who would actually commit feoticide they are so far outside the pale that I do not think those people occupy the same community as the people I know by several tens of degrees. There is absolutely no way anyone could comprehensibly justify such behavior in any way that would be within the realm of what I know as the Sikh community.

    • Roop says:

      No. But it is an attitude that lingers in Punjab. It disgusts me and is something I have written about a lot in my short story collection , Bharind. It happens and the biggest laugh is God is punishing Punjabis by the logical outcome of having only boys and no girls for them to marry when they grow up. Justice will be sweet.

  3. Is there kantay says:

    Or several tens of millions of degrees. An infinite number. There is no justification of such an act. There could never be. That should not be hard to get across. Do many people need a long exigesis before they could see that?

    If, however, you're referring to the use of sex selective abortion, but isn't that different but appalling and sad in its way? Is abortion genocide, or gendercide?

  4. Gender Kaur says:

    Great article–Sikhi should (and easily could) be part of the solution!

    I don't understand some of the comments though. Yes, male preference is "multiply determined." But judging people won't help the problem. These high rates of gendercide (which will become genocide once there are no women (or men) left) are a consequence of larger social dynamics that are more complicated than wanting to kill a baby or not (obviously, most people would choose not, if that was the only question).

    To understand why this is happening, you have to look at what being a male and female in the current culture means. Most people assume this is an economic choice, but studies show that poorer families actually treat their children with more equality than middle class or wealthy families do. Besides the obvious–a female brings dowry and the possibility of "dishonor" if she isn't sheltered/controlled until you have to pay someone to take her, and a male brings a retirement plan, another generation with the same last name (to keep the family property/wealth within the family), and no possibility of dishonor–because these span the entire economic spectrum. Maybe educated, wealthy women were the first to realize that the quality of life for women is much lower than men, even when they have education and money; and maybe they didn't want to bring another slave into this world?

    To really understand why anyone would make such a decision, you have to look at gender inequality and how this plays out in our families, culture, and religion. And in regards to creating lasting change, men are most influential in our culture and religion; they need to come together, learn about gender inequality and pass it on to each other, to families, to their sangat, to the gurdwaras, to the world. You have a lot of work to do boys, but you have some amazing men to look up to and learn from :) Get on with it.

    • Is there kantay says:

      The point of saying it's multiply determined is to have a process of describing the determinants.

      One of the determinants you point to is gender inequality. Yet you say it's not neccessarily inequality of education or profession. Is that correct? What is gender inequality in this case, what does it look like? Is it that a boy can ostensibly go out on a friday in fashionable clothing but a girl has to sneak out? Is it the phenomenon of silencing? How does it play out? One concern I have is creating a sociological explanation when maybe an individual one works. It's similar to why some people don't get on board with hate crimes…..a crime is a crime in their eye, and all crime of the same kind is wrong for the same reasons roughly and deserves punishment. When one singles out one crime as a hate crime one labels the behavior in effect the result in part of people who did not have anything to do with it, and would object to it in all cases. And second that a certain power by way of victimization by class effect occurs, by which advocates of the community gain by being able to classify a crime as victimizing not just the individual but the community.

      Hopefully this is understandable, otherwise let me know where to clarify

      • Is there kantay says:

        I think one determinant is hypergamy. The idea that a girl should marry into a community that shares or exceeds the one she is born to. This idea is where a certain kind of "dishonor" comes in. When one worries that they can't ensure hypergamy, or that it will be difficult to do so, they may prefer males. This would be a reason that higher classes would have lower sex ratios, because hypergamy is a greater concern. This is one example of a possible determinant.

      • Is there kantay says:

        Also, maybe we can be clear on what we are saying is the problem. If an individual family decides to know the gender of their child and then decides to have an abortion if the child is female, they are wrong. The society in which the live is also wrong because the reason they have chosen against having a female child helped determine the family's preference. The reason the family made that preference is they do not value female children, and by extension adult women. And this is borne out by evidence that the society in which they receive their beliefs does nit value or treat women equally to men. So in order the solve the problem, the society they live in has to begin to value women so that when a family finds out they will have a girl they will not have an abortion.

        • Is there kantay says:

          The reason they have chosen not to have a female is the context created by their society……hopefully that's a more clear way to put it.

          • Is there kantay says:

            My question is how are you measuring that the society does not value girls? And from there can you draw a line to judgements about how the society has affected an individual family? And what do you do with families who choose to have a girl, what are the factors involved in that decision? Have these families resisted the pressure, or have they been influenced differently by their society. Does a family that chooses not to have a girl by extension always value girls less? What determination or prediction could you make about how such a family values or treats female children they already have? What if such a family measurably treats the female children they already have with value equal to how they treat male children they might have? Is that possible? How do you account for the possibility that societies outside of this one also prefer boys? Are there common factors? Are there differences in degree between these societies, or differences in kind? Do adult women deserve compensation for the gap in valuation they experienced, or still experience? Is marrying outside the community sometimes a conscious response to this experience of being less valued?

          • Gender Kaur says:

            To be honest, some of what you say above (especially in the first comment) is unclear to me, but I'll try to respond to what I do understand. I think we agree on two of the very basic points in this dialogue– 1) taking someone's life–before she is born or thereafter, on the basis that she is female, is wrong. 2) Both society and the individual play a role in this decision-making process.

            How am I measuring whether this society values girls? We're killing female children by the thousands, because they are female. It’s a living statistic–our female to male ratio is one of the lowest in the world.

            Is terminating a life based on its gender always saying that you value that gender less? Yes. I'm sure there are rare cases where that is not true–focusing on or looking for those instances doesn't help us solve this problem. Just because you value women equally doesn't mean that you have no role to play–Sikhi and working against social issues go hand in hand.

            It's difficult to measure the exact amount of society's influence on a family or individual. (Not only because society can mean various things, but also because Influence is not a constant, it's always changing–so are we as individuals.) The reason we look at or talk about gender inequality in the community, is not to label or degrade the entire community (that line of thinking is what leads to genocide via unaddressed issues), it’s too point out an issue we can (and need to) work on together. Yes, there are other cultures/communities that undervalue girls—pointing out the problem in our community is not an attack on the Sikh community, ignoring a problem until it’s too late, in this instance, is.

            My point is not and never has been to put the Sikh community down. Sikhi does not teach us to undervalue women. We are learning to do that through cultural and economic influences, and for some reason, we are giving more power to them than to our faith (that is not to say that our religious authorities are doing all they can to address the issue—they too are part of society).

            We all have different levels of gender inequality in our families, societies, culture, and selves (I'll be the first to admit, I have a lot to learn.) That is why we need to put our egos aside and start working on these, somewhere, somehow, and soon. We are going extinct, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. The United Nations has been funding Gender workshops in Punjab for over a decade. In terms of religion, I’ve found gender inequality workshops tailored for (and by) Hindus, Muslims, and Christians. None for, from, or within the Sikh community (that I know of). If we don’t speak up and act up, who do you think is going to educate us about not killing ourselves? Look at our history, who do you think is going to try to save us?

            To learn more about gender equality, how its measured, its goals, etc you can google gender equality, gender integration, gender mainstreaming, or just gender. There are a lot of resources out there to help you better understand this issue. This is one: http://www.beta.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/mdgovervie...

          • Is there kantay says:

            If you find some of what I wrote unclear, I am able to walk you through it,
            Et me know what specific portions you are not able to understand. Your reply if appreciated and I will look at at it more in depth. Among other initial questions would be, do you differentiate between abortion and infanticide? I am not as concerned about if you are putting an entire community down, so to speak. I'm interested in getting more specific about how you or anyone in the field is able to decide how an individual or family makes decisions and what thought process they undertake, and how and what are the societal influences they are under. That seems to be to be a high level of understanding you and others must have reached. I am not asking for a broad understanding off gender equality as such, but of your working definition or those of people you take your understanding from. If there are we sits you read or other sources you use, please let me know the citations and ways to find them and I will most certainly do so.

          • Is there kantay says:

            Many typos, my apologies. Again if you can not understand anything pleas ask me and I can explain to you more clearly and I am happy to attempt as many clarifications as needed.

          • Is there kantay says:

            My simple understanding is if you think something is wrong, you say that and find other like minded people to spread that message. It seems deeply unfair to make a concerted effort to avoid having a female child. It seems heinous to kill a living child.

            When anyone gets further afield from that to posit grand sociological theories of causation, one begins to become circumspect.

            A crime is a crime, what is wrong is wrong. Killing a living child is a crime, murder. Aborting a fetus because you fear having a girl is wrong.

            Why not focus on these two very clear issues? Why muddy the waters with grand theories seeking to explain things that are most likely determined by many inter locking components, many of which are difficult to measure? The question is not rhetorical, please let me know why someone would do so?

          • Is there kantay says:

            This site you suggested is not available

          • Is there kantay says:

            Your contention as I understand it goes beyond stating what seems to be clear, which is that Punjab has a low male to femal ratio, and to the extent that this is brought about by sex selective abortion, that act is wrong, and to the extent that is brought about by infanticide it is a crime, morally and legally.

            However, positing that this is so because of gender inequality goes further from this. Now you get into either trying to describe what is gender inequality and how does this create the phenomenon of low male to female ratios. Or you basically engage in tautalogies.

          • Is there kantay says:

            To be frank in your replies you dodge the first and engage in the second. And a correction, the ratio of males to females is high, not low.

  5. RS Sandhu says:

    This is why we need a Khalistan. This is the only way we can remove negative Hindu influence on our land and culture. Sikhism promotes equality amongst all, regardless of race, religion or gender. Hindus treat women like dirt, and even throw their bodies away for dogs to nibble at. If we let this continue, there will not be any women left in Punjab. Either the rest of India adapt Sikhism and understand the beauty our religion has to offer, or we must separate from India and protect humanity.

    Khalistan is the answer to end gendercide and abortions.

    • knowTheEnemy says:

      So how do you explain sex-selective abortions going on in sikh communities living outside India?

      I consider Gender Kaur's analysis to be much better.

  6. sjsrana says:

    Misguided youths are never told the FACT/TRUTH that its DELHI that leads the india nation in GENDERCIDE, question more don't just follow them blindly and loose your souls to DEVIL.

    India's Capital 'Delhi' might be leading the nation in reduction of female child http://members.beforeitsnews.com/story/177/660/In

    So now you know the crux of problem!
    @sjsrana – twitter

    • knowTheEnemy says:

      The Punjabi community in Delhi (both hindus and sikhs) is the most materialistic in the entire world. IMO in addition to what Gender Kaur explained, materialism too is a major reason why people hesitate to have female children.

  7. Blighty Singh says:

    Having wasted many a minute here posting posts only to receive multiple thumbs downs…I fear in articulating what I feel are the obvious flaws in the messages on this thread. Instead, I shall content myself by giving you all a reminder of a few facts and then let you yourselves figure out what my message may be……even to the extent of implying that – in contrast to the title of the thread – it may well be 'Sikhi', and the gender equality it prescribes, that is the problem.
    Fact # 1 : Gendercide does not exist in the worldwide Sikh diaspora. It exists only in Punjab.
    Fact # 2 : Most of the Sikhs in Punjab are agriculturalists….whose mere existence depends on land.
    Fact # 3 : Nearly, if not all, cases of gendercide involving sikhs occur in rural agricultural areas.
    Fact # 4 : Relatively recent Indian Laws which, although sit happily with us overseas Sikhs and perfectly compatible with Sikhi – Laws which give equal rights to land to daughters whether married or not – are a death sentence to the Sikh that exists and subsides purely on the ownership of land.

    (Make of it what you will my friends but I suggest you look into our own English / American / Canadian history of property / land law and our english common law concept of trust and equity. Do this and you will have a better understanding of the situation in Punjab today)

    • Sanehval says:

      Fact #1 is wrong. Its an issue among Sikhs in the United States and Canada, as a link in the initial post suggests.
      Also here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/
      Fact #3 thus has less strength as an argument, but is likely true because there are fewer Sikhs in the diaspora.
      Fact #4 is predicated on a conception that this problem is recent. It might be exacerbated by said law, but infanticide/foeticide is nothing new.
      I would submit fact #5: Dowry

      Even if one tries to divorce "Punjabi Culture" as problematic and instead looks at "determinants" with a utilitarian/economic perspective, the problem is still there and needs to be addressed. "Kuri jattan di majboori" has currency for a reason. I'll let the gender discrimination bit go, I think its too obvious
      i.e.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX95prhcD1A#t=2m11

      • Is there kantay says:

        Saying it's an issue and then pointing to a study of 65 non randomly selected people is not definitive. You haven't really provided evidence that the original claim is false, other than simply stating that as a fact and appealing to the supposed obviousness of the claim. That's pretty much the essence of a self referential ideological position – no need to really lend scrutiny to the problem, facts, and explanations because all of those in the know already agree. The original may well be true but you've only just preached to the choir. I'm sure it's frustrating when people don't agree with what you and those you interact with believe fervently is obvious, but responsible social movements have or should have a responsibility for more.

      • Is there kantay says:

        What if the problem is that sex selective abortion and infanticide are both at different levels wrong and this needs to be communicated as widely as possible. Or do we need to find determinants as e level of entire communities and societies and then go about transforming and revolutionizing said societies and communities? I hope it becomes obvious that what that is about is attempting to change whole societies to conform to the precepts of a self selected group of reformers ie progressive activists.

        • Is there kantay says:

          Determinants at the level of

        • Sanehval says:

          I dont think communication is the key to making change. I think most Sikhs would agree that caste-ism is wrong. Its still rampant as hell in the community.
          Similarly, its not frustrating that you don't agree/believe this to be an issue. Remember, the people who do these things are thousands of degrees separated from you.

          • Is there kantay says:

            No, I meant it must be frustrating to you that people might not agree with the obviousness of your claims. Either frustrating or else give recourse to explaining it away rather than understand and deal with counter argument.

      • Blighty Singh says:

        I wrote you a reply a few days ago Sanehval, in which I answered your points and clarified my own. It didn't make it past the censors. Presumably because it contained the very contentious words "the" and "sikhs", because it certainly didn't contain anything else that warranted it being excluded.
        Anyway….its all a waste of time. Can't be bothered to repeat any of it. This issue, is being taken up by blind Sikhs in the west. Blind to the realities of the part they themselves play in the problem. But they take up the issue in order to make themselves feel good. To convince themselves they are doing something good. Everybody likes to do something good. As long as that 'something' is relatively easy to do. Telling daddy you don't want $100,000 spent on your lavish wedding thus setting he right example to poorer sikhs back home, thus negating the desire to get rid of expensive daughters, is too hard a 'something' to do.
        There was a book written by a British author a few years ago. The author researched all of the old letters written home by Sikhs fighting in Europe during the 1st world war. Letters that didn't make it past the censors (I know how they feel) and were kept in the London public records office. They make fascinating reading. In alot of the letters Sikhs write home about how money is not wasted on lavish weddings for daughters. No wasteful party's etc. In the letters, the Sikhs remark how it would be wonderful if the Sikhs back home in Punjab can learn a lesson for this. In one very interesting letter the Sikh soldier says Punjab would once again begin to value daughters and not see them as a financial noose around their neck.
        Nearly 100 years have passed since those letters were written. Nothing has changed. It hasn't changed because pseudo intellectuals with more money than sense love to blame everyone but themselves.
        Now….I suggest the usual happens in that my post is given multiple thumbs down. But this time, I suggest the pseudo intellectuals invent themselves a time machine, go back to the French trenches in 1914, and give the Sikh soldiers there a damn good slapping for suggesting the same. If a thumbs down is good for me than surely a slap is the least they deserve.

        • is there kantay says:

          Something needs to be said about a Sikh response to social change.

          I believe a focus on changing whole societies so that the problem is not local responses to general conditions but something like Gender Inequality itself is not really the prototypical Sikh response. I think this is the antithesis of the Guru period which was a method of directly acting in one's setting in a way that then becomes generalizable if others agree and rally to the cause. For example if one is concerned that caste is illogical, unjust, wrong, and itself a pollution of one's soul? Change your name to Singh. And then go on from there and dare anyone to treat you inferior.

          I think this method of change is more in line with our inheritance than the liberal interventionist and reformist method so strongly current.

  8. Is there kantay says:

    One article which is only available in abstract as provided and one YouTube video. That is only persuasive to people who already have the answer and want to ensure that the obviousness of the matter is accepted by all.

    • Sanehval says:

      Send me an email at [email protected] and I'll email you the study. http://www.nerve.in/news:253500124579
      I dont know where you are in the world, but if you picked up a Punjabi newspaper in the last few years, you'd see the ads for sex determination, with a hotline in Punjabi. People used them to make abortion choices, not whether they were going to buy pink or blue ladoos.

      • Sanehval says:

        Or ask anyone you know who goes to a large university.

        • Is there kantay says:

          So I'll go up to someone at a university and they'll know the answer. Cool. I bet that works every single time for every question there is.

          On the other hand, I've actually gone my whole life without anyone directly telling me they've had a sex selective abortion and I've seen ads for these services only when directed to them. The original claim may be wrong, I think it needs at least to be clarified as presumably some sex select abortions have been conducted. But you have only really invoked the same appeal to obviousness as in other areas. That is not a way to be persuasive in the sense of taking opposition seriously. The only way that wins is if people who do not agree either do not know, or are acting in much worse faith that you.

          • Sanehval says:

            Lol at the university comment. If you know someone who goes to a large university, they'll have access to the article and can email it to you.

            I can't provide you with hard quantitative evidence on sex-selective abortion in the Sikh diaspora specifically, just clues. Though the article in question's respondents were majority Punjabi Sikh. It can't be directly presented through evidence that will satisfy you, but it happens among people who would call themselves Punjabi Sikh. Enough to the point that OBGYNs in the US near the Canadian border employ Punjabi-speaking individuals to cater to the lower mainland of BC. The Punjab story is well documented. Re the discrimination issue, There must be something about female fetuses such that they are not as valuable (economically, socially, whatever) that they are killed, whereas male children are not. No? Then what? Again, inherent to that observation is that it is an issue in the first place, which you are free to consider it not.

            Most activists [perhaps most people] think its a gender issue, and not an economic issue or a violence issue or a 'determinants' issue, and mobilize against it from the gender perspective. They think its important enough to spend their time working against it. Maybe they get gold stars and it makes them feel hella good. Maybe they get their jollies off of speak for and claiming to act upon masses of people through the lens of western liberal progressivism. As has been said before, you can call this work into question as much as you want, but without providing an alternative or gesturing towards one, your comments will be as useful as that one time blighty went off on ensaaf.

          • is there kantay says:

            I'm not sure most people see it as a gender issue, but that's somewhat debatable, and its fairly hard to determine. I think you're misunderstanding some of what I mean by determinants. But that's mostly beside the point.

            I think one of the things this discussion highlights is a conservative versus liberal solution to the problem. The conservative position might be something like, existing moral codes and laws can deal with this problem, or if laws do not currently deal with the problem they can and should be enacted or changed to deal with the problem. In this case "the problem" would be something like, sex selective abortion is unfair and unjust, and also creates social harm.

            The liberal position might be something like, this problem, sex selective abortion, is not necessarily best understood as a problem of the individual who undertook the actions leading to the sex selective abortion. It is best understood as a manifestation of ways in which the current society has influenced the individual such that the sex selective abortion is a result of and thus the responsibility of the wider society. So to address the problem what needs to happen is fundamental change within the society to address the full gamut of the problem, which will necessarily cause a change in power between those currently with power to those without power. And that the implementation of the change should occur through activists on the ground who would be tasked with raising awareness and spurring action.

            Thats what I mean, partially, by saying that I think this discussion is pretty much the end of my contribution (such as people might make of it) to TLH. It's pointing out that the preferred solution here seems to be the liberal position. And that then the corollary conservative position would stand in opposition. Its been enjoyable to try to work out the conservative position since this is the first time I've taken that position in, oh, decades.

            But anyway, fare the well and thanks for the link, I'm sure I will find a copy soon.

          • is there kantay says:

            And hopefully I have gestured toward a solution, which is that killing a living child is a crime, murder. And sex selective abortion is deeply unjust. I would say that to anyone who would want my opinion of the matter and make that known whenever appropriate, and I would support laws and enforcement that would make the first punishable and the second more difficult to enact.

          • is there kantay says:

            And the only reason I would qualify the second is that abortion is currently a right in this country and I am not sure you can punish abortion as a crime of intention very easily. For example presumably most liberals would not want to make abortion a crime, or want to have people pass a test of intention before they can have an abortion as this would be a can of worms regarding the right to abortion.

      • Is there kantay says:

        As I'll be using my personal email please send me yours as well.

      • Is there kantay says:

        The man in that article committed murder. Can you explain his actions by recourse to the way his society enduced him into that act? And can you extrapolate that his experience is something shared by others in his community so that it is something that is generalizable? Can you say that whatever in his society caused him to act as he did, those same influences are faced by anyone who comes under the category "Sikh"?

        And after all that, in order to prevent acts such as above, are they preventable by ensuring gender equality better than by intervening under the belief that murder is a crime? Which is more direct? Which is more closely tied to the act itself that it is the thing we would like to stop?

      • Is there kantay says:

        The original claim by Blighty surprises me as well. I am not willing to assume he just pulled it from his butt, but maybe he did. Still, your reply just says, in effect, just that. Thats my point.

  9. is there kantay says:

    Hopefully beyond argument you see that I'm trying to develop a point of view here.

    One, that stopping an act that is wrong can be done by saying that and having others back it up.

    Two, that stopping an act by transforming a society by way of changing phenomena that may or may not be measurable, fully knowable, or not entirely obvious is not always the choice everyone will take.

  10. is there kantay says:

    I believe caste-ism is rampant because it serves the interest of some of those who support and perpetuate it. And also because the attempt to end caste-ism has focused erroneously on removing the mention of historical facts such as that jats exist. There is too much cognitive dissonance needed to simply just ignore that categories such as "jat" exist. To me that has been the goal of present-day reform in this area. Simply never mention the word "jat" and that means there is no caste-ism.

    Caste-ism is pernicious in the way bias is pernicious. It will never be eradicated in my opinion. It is one of the ways humankind is flawed. Not that we should engineer a purging of society of this phenomenon, because that would not be possible, and if attempted would have consequences beyond the control of the revolutionary movement trying to bring it about.

    Look more closely at Banda Singh Bahadur's campaigns in Punjab. They were more akin to the French Revolution on my first impression than they were to anything like the movement in the Guru's time.

  11. is there kantay says:

    And actually at this point I think I've developed to my satisfaction an explanation of my critique of ideological underpinnings I perceive at TLH. From here on out its just going to be a variation on a theme. Or as you put it rabble rabble progressive? rabble rabble left rabble rabble. I actually agree that at this point its just repetition. I've put it out there and people can make of it what they will.

  12. savedaughters19 says:

    After the program on ABC 20/20, American citizens have started these petitions.
    Please Sign and forward this petition to all your friends. Also if possible , please post it on Facebook,blog etc.
    Thanks
    http://gendercide.epetitions.net/ http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/a-mothers-figh

  13. Beginning of December, a program aired on ABC 20/20 about India’s deadly secret. It was about 40 million girls who have vanished. All aborted before they could take their first breath. Their crime was that they were girls. As you know the gender ratios is India are terribly skewed about 914 girls per 1,000 boys. In Punjab it is about 833 girls per1,000 boys.

    Unfortunately this happens amongst the privileged and the educated also. The only woman who has brought cases against her in-laws and husband is Dr Mitu Khurana. Please watch her story (http://abcnews.go.com/Health/women-pregnant-girls-pressured-abortions-india/story?id=15103950#.TuI_T3qGDy0)

    and sign her petition for justice. Please give those 40 million girls silenced forever, a voice. Please forward this to as many friends as possible.

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/a-mothers-figh

    http://gendercide.epetitions.net/

    After you sign the petition, there will be a request from the site for a donation. This donation is totally discretionary and does not in any way or form affect or benefit Dr Mitu Khurana. All she is asking for is your support (signing this petition) so that pressure can be put on the Indian authorities that the whole world is watching them in total disbelief as they make a young mother run around in vain for four years in search of justice.

  14. Blighty Singh says:

    "Beginning of December, a program aired on ABC 20/20 about India's deadly secret. It was about 40 million girls who have vanished. All aborted before they could take their first breath. Their crime was that they were girls"

    ^ Thats all very well but……percentage wise, far far more babies have vanished from the tummy's of girls in London and Paris in the same period. All aborted before they could take their first breath. Their crime was that mummy wasn't quite ready to stop drinking and partying all night yet.

    I think the 'petition' you speak of will find no support from uk sikhs as a whole. We live in a continent where christianity doesn't exist to any meaningful level so do not have these hang ups about abortion. It is the free choice of the mother and father whether or not they wish to have or not have their baby. Not the choice of some anti-abortion zealot in California.
    Be careful what you wish for. If you clamp down on abortions in Punjab it will leaed to the old days of back street abortions with metal coat hangers. This time, not only will the featus die but so will the mum.

  15. Blighty Singh says:

    (message split into 2 parts – message 1) :
    Wow……so I get minus 3 points for pointing out how Sikh soldiers fighting Jerry in the trenches of France and Belgium during WW1 said the same thing I did…i.e that the solution to ending gendercide in Punjab was to stop lavish spending on weddings and parties etc.
    Anyway….I should have realised by now how badly read most of you are.
    May I suggest then you invest in one of the most interesting books I have read in recent years. The book is called 'Indian Voices of the Great War : Soldiers Letters 1914-18', by David Omissi.
    Fascinating reading for many reasons. Namely, because it shows how much the young Sikhs then were like the Sikhs today. Many of the letters are very sexual and go into explicit detail about encounters with French women. And many detail the extent of drug abuse among the Sikhs. Also interesting is the way in which loyalty to the British Crown was part of the Amrit ceremony. However, as per this thread, as I stated in the last message, many letters refer to the way the lavish wasting of money in Punjabi / Sikh society is to blame for the infantacide of female babies. Here's just a small selection :

    (572) Ressaidar Bishan Singh to Choudari Dobi Dyal (Jullunder) 28th Aug. 1917 :
    "My prayer to you is that you will give up your foolish customs and extravagant expenses, and if you love your country will get others to follow you example. All our eyes have been opened since we came to this country. There are no beggars and no poor here. The country produces less than ours. Why then are they so much richer? Because they do not waste money on marriages, funerals and birth ceremonies, and do not put jewellery on their children. The children in India go about in ragged, torn clothes and eat bread made of gram, and yet when they are married we spend thousands of rupees on the ceremony. Then comes the money lender with his decree and attaches the property, and we go out and wander about in search of employment to keep us alive. What we have to do is educate our children, and if we do not we are fools, and our children will be fools also. Give up bad customs and value your girls as much as boys."

    (655) Ishar Singh to Jassu Singh in Ludhiana – 4th March 1918:

    "Do not worry yourself thinking as to how you are to marry the girls. I ask you, why are girls brought into this world? Consider, both girls and boys are brought into the world, and if the girls are neglected or killed off, these families that have boys had better kill them off too! ….Both are of the same value in God’s eyes, and one should devote the same amount of care to their bringing up, and should treat them in precisely the same way"

    (656) Teja Singh (2nd lancers) to Ganga Singh in Sialkot – 6th March 1918 : " If God spares me to return I intend to start new customs. Look, in our country people ruin themselves over marriage . In this country rich and poor, high and low, go to church together and worship, and there is no distinction between them there. In this country, moreover, people never spend money unnecessarily. In our country, the fools of people spend money for show and they ruin themselves over marriages . This is all due to ignorance. The very best custom in this country is that a man chooses his own wife, and a women her own husband, and there are no disagreements and troubles after marriage. The same custom used to obtain in our country formerly; but later it was set aside by the intrigues of the Brahmins"

    (334)
    Dafadar Teja Singh (9th Hodson’s Horse) to Sirdar Sadu Singh (NWFP) – 26TH June 1916 :
    "As regards marriage, there is affection first between the two parties, who are never less than 18 years of age. After marriage there in never any discord between husband and wife. No man here has the authority to beat his wife. Such injustices occurs in India only. Husband and wife dwell together here in unity"

    (448) Dafadar Ranjit Singh to Prem in Rohtak District, Panjab – 26th Nov. 1916 :
    "Grandfather dear, I understand these things perfectly well, though they are still hidden from my revered elders. I know well that a women in our country is of no more value than a pair of shoes and this is the reason why the people are low on the scale. You educated Ramjas, and got him a situation, but you never thought of educating any of the girls. You said to yourself: “Ramjas will be able to help me in my old age, but the girls will get married and leave the house and will not be able to do anything for me.” I should like to write to my wife but she would have to get the letters read by somebody else and all the home secrets would come out. When I look at Europe I bewail the lot of India. In Europe everyone man, women, boy and girl is educated. The men are at the war and the women are doing the work. They write to their husbands and get their answers. You ought to educate your girls as well as your boys and our prosperity will be the better for it"

  16. Blighty Singh says:

    message 2 : Now, I've said it before I'll say it again. I live simply and give any excess to my people back home. I live in a small 3 bedroom terraced (row) house. Its big enough for my young family. In Punjab we have modernised without extending. We consciously made an effort not to deliberately show off and make our fellow villagers aspire to something that is unattainable. When I got married my one and only stipulation was that we should set the right example to our people and have a very small wedding with very little expenditure.
    Like it or not, Punjab's culture is all about keeping up with the Jones' (or keeping up with the Sidhus and Dhillons). Due to what YOU do there is pressure to spend. And spending what you don't have is to borrow. By far the biggest of these expenditures is on the daughters. Each of YOU is directly to blame for the gendercide. Making threads about it and stating how much you don't like it is just a way of making you feel good about yourself.

  17. Blighty Singh says:

    ^ The above message was in 2 parts. Message 2 appeared but message 1, as usual, said my messages must be approved by an administrator before it appears. Message 2 makes no sense without the first part of the message. So please admins, either get rid of both of put up message 1.
    I'm actually getting quite sick of all this. Of all my messages only 50% make it, for no good reason at all.
    Lets just wait and see if message 1 makes it past the taliban censors. They don't like books. Message 1 is simply exerts of letters (from a book) written by Sikhs in France to their folk in Punjab about gendercide from the period 1914 – 1918.

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