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Forced To Give Up A Daughter And Abort Another: How I Fought For My Girls

By Oxfam India:

When I got married to Kishor Singh in 2008, I was a student in standard 10. Initially I opposed the idea of marriage as I wanted to study further, but I had to give in when my parents told me that a match as good as this would be difficult to come by. Kishor’s late father had been in the army, his elder brother was in the police and the family owned large tracts of land and a provision store. The initial months of my married life went by smoothly and I was also permitted to appear for my class 10 board exams. After that, my mother-in-law Prerna, and my husband, began taunting me for not getting enough dowry. The physical assault started soon after. When I was pregnant, they warned me against giving birth to a daughter. And nine months after my daughter Tanvi was born, Kishor forcibly gave her away to his elder brother who was posted as a constable in Bageshwar. It felt as though someone had pulled my heart out of my body.

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

When I conceived again, I was tricked into undergoing a sex determination test. They told me it was a test to investigate if the baby was alright. Upon discovering that the foetus was female, I was forced to undergo an abortion. I was completely broken by the time I got pregnant again in 2012. I refused to go for any further medical tests and that infuriated my husband. So, on a cold January morning, as I sat hunched over a stove in the kitchen, he came in from behind, splayed my back with kerosene oil, threw in a lighted match and ran away. I was stunned and I ran to the bathroom to douse off the flames. A neighbour took me to the nearby government hospital. The skin on my back had peeled off, I had lost my hair and my forehead, neck and ears had been singed as well. My right hand was fused to my body. Yet, knowing that my poor parents would be unable to keep me, I lied at the hospital claiming that I had accidently poured the oil over myself.

During the next four months while I was at the hospital, my husband visited intermittently. After that I went to my parents’ place where I gave birth to my second daughter Sunita. Tired of waiting for Kishor to come back and determined to take matters into my hand, I then complained to the Naib Tehsildar. This forced Kishor to a compromise and he promised to take my daughter and me back, and also to pay for our medical treatment. Sunita had suffered mild deformity in my womb because of the fire. However, once I returned to his village, he told her that he had found work in Baroda and left, while my mother-in-law locked the house on the pretext that she wanted to go and live with her daughter. I was told to stay with the cattle.

Dejected, I returned to my parents. A few months later, I came in touch with Arpan through a lawyer who was part of the Saajha Manch collective. A Domestic Incident report was immediately filed and sent to the Protection Officer. The organisation also wrote to the DM, the DDO and the CMO about my plight and followed this up by filing an FIR under Section 307 of the IPC against Kishor Singh, his mother and the doctor who had conducted the sex determination test. The issue was also raised in front of the state’s Pre conception and Pre Natal Diagnostic Techniques Committee and a crackdown on illegal sex determination clinics ordered. Kishor Singh was jailed for a month. The CMO ordered that my treatment should be free of cost. I was examined by specialists and underwent surgery in May 2013. In the same month, the civil court, acting on a petition that I had filed under Sections 18, 19, 20 and 22 of The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 ordered Kishor Singh to provide a home for my daughters and me in his village of Badabe Dhari, Rs 6,000 for maintenance, Rs 2,000 for each daughter and Rs 5 lakh as compensation for the physical and mental abuse I had suffered.

In August 2013, I finally returned to my married home with Sunita. While my physical wounds began to heal slowly, counsellors from Arpan repeatedly visited, prevailing upon neighbours to provide psychological support to me. Some scars however refuse to fade—such as my fear of the kitchen where I was set on fire. I now cook in the open and often have nightmares about that day. I am acutely conscious of my looks and avoid singing and dancing at festivals and marriages. Kishor Singh is away at Baroda where he works as a driver, but sends me money. I could have taken the easy way out and ended my life. But then, who would have mothered my daughters? To them, I am the most beautiful woman, and that is all that matters.

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  1. Babar

    Why is it that men have to provide compensation for women’s suffering in marriage but not the other way around? Blatant sexism and misandry. Society and the law believe a woman’s word without question, but why doesn’t society take a man’s word if he files a complaint against a woman? Instead, the police and society laugh and make a mockery out of it. Every single day, numerous men are falsely accused of domestic violence, dowry, and rape, and their lives are shattered. Innocent men whose reputation is destroyed and havoc wreaked on their entire family, courtesy of cunning and greedy women who misuse the law, and this is leading to an alarming increase in male suicide in India. To add, women perpetrate domestic violence, verbally abuse, and rape. Women also beat and abuse their domestic help over trivial matters is common, and harassing their sons-in-law is an everyday occurrence, where women try to control, dominate, and subjugate those under them.

    1. Fem

      “Why is it that men have to provide compensation for women’s suffering in marriage but not the other way around?”

      Because he was the cause of her suffering? Cues – Pressure for more dowry, Separating her from her 1st child because she had a daughter, Aborting another because she was a daughter, Trying to kill her by burning her, Neglect and throwing her out of the house because she was a woman and gave birth to girls. Are these causes enough for you to agree on the fact that the husband in this case made the wife suffer and is therefore responsible. Not to mention that the daughter is not only that woman’s but his too and he is supposed to take care of her at least financially even if he is not doing anything else for her.

      “Cunning and greedy women who misuse the law”!!!!

      I have no words Babar as usual. Here is a woman poring out her story on how she was tortured and burned just because she gave birth to girls and here you are posting on her article and calling women cunning and greedy, misusing the law!! Have your sold even the last of your senses to the next kabadiwala??

      I take care not to read your comments, or even if read, just ignore and not comment. But you are infuriatingly annoying and completely delusional. Sometimes I can’t help but waste my time replying to the garbage you spew from your pen.

    2. Babar

      Instead of beating around the bush, answer the actual question. Why doesn’t a woman have to provide compensation for a man’s suffering when she abuses him verbally, mentally, physically, and emotionally? Why only the other way around?

      Why don’t feminists ever write about the abuse perpetrated by mothers-in-law, and in many families it is the daughters-in-law wreaking havoc on families. Why are feminists so quiet over the abuse perpetrated by women, even if it may be on other women?

      If those women who frame men in cases of rape, dowry, and domestic violence for lacs in settlement and destroy their lives, career, family, and reputation not cunning and greedy, then how would you describe them?

    3. ANup

      @BARBAR…. you also dont beat around the bush … why did he burn her … so r you saying burning women is OK

    4. Fem

      I do not beat around the bush Mr. Babar Whatever. You are not ready to leave the bush and scratch up the same post in every article.

      I have had discussions on the same topics several times with other members. But I am not going to do that with you. Reasons – (a) I am not ‘answerable’ to you (b) You are not reasonable enough to discuss anything which doesn’t further your agenda. I have wasted my time in past many times trying to have a logical discussion with you and realized that I wasted many minutes of my life trying to have a logical discussion.

      So….Here goes – Your question is off topic, hateful and illogical and does not deserve an answer.

    5. Babar

      Is that what you type when you can’t answer three simple questions.

    6. TempleTwins

      Why should a man provide a grown adult? If dowry is wrong and it is illegal them make alimony illegal too and make it a shame for women to get alimony, like how we socially shame men for getting dowry even if it is enforced by his mother most of the times.

      If a married woman wishes to go back to her ex-bf or found herself a new lover who wishes to keep her as a fuck buddy, she has no financial obligation towards her husband but her husband in a similar situation does?

      Talk about fairness. It is easier for a woman to divorce a man than it is for a man to divorce his wife and only wives can appeal against it and not the husbands against the divorce plea. Now that IRBM is applicable, she doesn’t need any reason to divorce him, she can simply be bored and make that decision, a husband is simply a financial slave, I think if you are a slave to your master, would you not feel to free from such a bondage by trying to kill them because the society and the law helps them to keep you as a slave?

    7. Fem

      @Babar

      That’s what I type when I am talking to you. Because when I invest my precious time and efforts in answering your questions point by point with clarity and logic (as in the past all the times),…. you vanish. And put the same troll points in another forum and act as if these genuine concerns of yours have never been addressed or responded to.

      So why waste time?

  2. Deva

    Bone chilling. Such rot runs deep in the society. Why did the parents have to marry her so young? Why did her parents marry her because the groom had land and money? Why were the monster-in-law and the husband so greedy for money?

    More importantly, is a girl child not a life? Who are these people to question nature’s choice? Why abort?
    Such mentality brings pain to the society.

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