Thursday, November 09, 2006

Despite prosperity, literacy, girls’rights die a slow death

Despite prosperity, literacy, girls’rights die a slow death

DYFI meet calls for identifying the contributions of women

Express News Service

Lucknow, November 7: They have come from different states and speak different languages. But when it comes to asking them about the biggest problem being faced by young girls across the country, they reply in unison: “The will to be born and then, get married without dowry.” The young girls from 26 states from the country have come together for the 2nd All India Young Girls Convention, organised by the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI). The convention was inaugurated at the Gandhi Bhawan auditorium by former MP Subhashini Ali on Tuesday.

“Punjab may be one of the most progressive states of the country, but when it comes to talking about girl’s rights, we are far behind. Punjab reports the highest number of female foeticide incidents in the country,’ said Rajinder Kaur, a member from DYFI Firozepur Punjab. Associated with DYFI from the past 7 years, Rajinder says that progress has only added to the woes of the women in the state. “Foeticide is more amidst the educated people, so education may not help much. The need of the hour all over the country is to make these girls, who are born and brought into the world, to fight back and save their unborn sisters. I know that this problem is prevalent in UP too and through this visit, we want to stress on concrete action by looking out for ultrasound centres and urging people not to kill girls.”

For Devi, the joint president of the DYFI Tamil Nadu unit, girls all over the country are hit by several problems the moment they are born. “It is a man’s world out there and men only decide what a girl should eat, wear and study. Let alone that, men also decide whether a girl has to come in this world or not.” Devi says that although problems like foeticide and dowry were not prevalent in southern states like Tamil Nadu a decade ago, but globalisation has brought these problems there too. “We never heard of dowry in our childhood, but today girls are being killed and tortured because of dowry in Tamil Nadu,” said Devi.

Like Devi, P Sajitha, the DYFI Central Executive Committee member from Kerala, too, said that the devil of dowry is eating up a number of girls in a state which had always prattled about its higher sex ratio and matriarchal society. “The pluses of Kerala are now being overtaken by the minuses like the dowry system and increasing number of crime against women,” said Sajitha. She said that during her interaction with her fellowmates from UP, she has realised that girls in UP also face similar problems, and infact, only worse. Other girls like Mafuza Khatun from Andhra Pradesh, Shakuntala Basumalai from Tamil Nadu, B Nirmala from Tripura, Dipti Saha from West Bengal and Renu Singh from Uttar Pradesh too opined similar sentiments.

Addressing the girls at the convention, Subhashini Ali said that it is high time we identify the role of girls and ensure that their issues are brought to the forefront. “Look at these girls who have come here. While those from Tripura and Assam have fought against terrorism in their states, the girls from Punjab are fighting against foeticide and those from UP are fighting against domestic violence. All of them have managed to emerge victorius, which is a big achievement for them. And organisations like DYFI should identify their contributions,” said Ali.


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