By Alam Bains:
According to the Census 2011, there are 914 females per thousand males in India in the age group of 0-6 yrs, a figure which is the lowest since independence. This was was described as a “matter of grave concern” by Census Commissioner of India C Chandramauli. United Nations estimated that a around 2,000 unborn girls are illegally aborted in India every day. 5 million girls were eliminated between 1986 and 2001 and the trend continues. Sex selective abortion and pre-natal sex determination is a 1000 crore industry in India. It is difficult to come to terms with these statistics which don’t even reveal the full picture. The obsession for a male child has always been there but now it seems to have surpassed all boundaries.
The Hindustan Times on 26th June carried a shocking story of how baby girls in the age group of 1-5 yrs are being ‘converted’ into boys by a surgical procedure called Genitoplasty in Indore. These life-changing surgeries, which cost about 1.5 lakhs, have many takers. People travel from far and wide to these genitoplasty experts who claim to have converted about 200-300 girls into boys each. Genitoplasty, as a procedure, is commonly used to correct genital abnormality in grown-up patients but it is now being rampantly misused by parents who want to fulfill their dream of having a male child. The doctors who carry out these surgeries on baby girls claim that they perform this surgical procedure only on girls whose internal organs do not match their external genitalia i.e girls born with some internal male organs. The surgery involves the construction of a penis using tissues from female parts followed by hormonal therapy to change female behaviour to male. The converted male child is infertile for life but that does not act as a deterrent to the parents who willingly opt for these surgeries for their daughters. The law is silent on these procedures because there are no specific guidelines for sex-reassignment surgery. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has asked the state government to investigate the matter as people throughout the country express their shock and horror.
This incident is not something which is limited to Indore. It is carried out in many parts of the country but it has not caught the attention of the media. A nation which is so obsessed with the male child has found a new way to fulfill its obsession, no matter what the consequences.The surgery can have long term psychological effects on the individual but that is not an issue for the parents and the doctors.People are saying stricter laws and greater vigilance is required, but will that really help?As long as people’s mind set towards the girl child does not change, the future of the girl child in this country is not at all promising.