Girl infanticide is the killing of girls at birth. It is known to happen in many parts of the world, including India. India’s traditions and beliefs are a known factor on why girl infanticide occurs. The continuous domination of males over women repeats a cycle of murder, abuse and more murder. Without the abuse and discrimination against women, mothers would not feel as if they were doing a favor to their daughters by murdering them. Mother-in-laws would not feel that a son was necessary to continue their legacy. No family would be pressured to kill infants or go for an abortion before the baby was born. Laws have been passed to end this horror, but until women stand up for themselves, these year old traditions will never be broken.
There are many reasons why girl infanticide occurs. In India, the leading factor is the culture, beliefs and customs that India’s people have been following for generations. The domination of the male has been justified through culture. “May you be the mother of a hundred sons” is a blessing given to an Indian woman the day she is married. When a woman becomes pregnant, different mantras are performed to transform the coming baby into a male (“Genocide of India’s Daughter”). Why does girl infanticide happen?
Dowry is the illegal, but practiced, payment a girl’s family gives to the groom’s family in a marriage. This is a way of selling their daughter to another family. The Indian society, till this day, demands for arranged marriages. This only puts pressure to a girl’s parents to find a suitable groom for their daughter. When a family sets out to find a groom for their daughter, the make sure the groom fits their requirements: he must be from a family of higher status. However, the groom’s family also has requirements. If the groom were to accept the bride of a less status they want some sort of gain: bribery. At the day of marriage, the groom’s family demands goods from the bride’s parents. These goods include jewelry, clothes, furniture, white goods, cars, maybe even a new home (“Genocide of India’s Daughter”). To already poor parents, this idea can be something they cannot afford. They do not have extra money to spend on a wedding, even if it’s their own daughter. The parents are then put in a dilemma: if they have a daughter and wish for her to get married, they must spend the money. If they do not get her married, she will just be an addition to the expenses a family has to take account of.
“Raising a daughter is like watering someone else’s fields” (George). If the parents had the responsibility of arranging a marriage for the boy, they would be the ones receiving the goods. Therefore, most Indians have developed an attitude that raising girls is just an advantage to the family that the girl is going to get married into. In India, it is said that girls become a stranger once they are married. The parents of the girl spend their life nurturing, feeding, and spending money on the girl just to sell her off to someone else. When she is married, her parents then disown her and she can only come back to her house as a guest. She can never help her parents’ financial situation because her in-laws will not be willing to pay even a cent for the other side of the family. Her parents put all their hard work into this child so that she can use everything she learned into her new family, while her parents held all her expenses, including her dowry . This is why the son is known as the “bread winner” for the Indian family. The male is given the responsibility to carry on the fathers business and keep the family’s pride . When a parent dies, only the son is allowed to light the funeral pyre or it is said the parents will never go to heaven. If a daughter lights the funeral pyre, it is said that the person will go to hell, instead