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Books > History > Disappearing Daughters: The Tragedy of Female Foeticide
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Disappearing Daughters: The Tragedy of Female Foeticide
Disappearing Daughters: The Tragedy of Female Foeticide
Description
Preface

When I embarked on writing this book, to me, female foeticide was what we in journalistic parlance call 'a story'. To track this story I decided to use the only tools I knew: the old fashioned tools of investigative reporting.

I knew it would require patience, doggedness and a lot of probing. Getting people to confide in me would not be easy. Wherever I went, I would be an outsider. There was plenty of research data available on the subject, but somewhere along the line the human face had gone missing. I knew that my story would not emerge easily. What I did not really expect was the momentum the story would gather.

As the months rolled by, I found that the story of Disappearing Daughters became bigger than any story I had ever done before. It had so many facets to it. So many frightening aspects and so many tragic fallouts.

I had investigated female infanticide in Tamil Nadu earlier and I knew how difficult and dangerous it was to pry into very personal and frightening secrets. However, the crime of daughters being killed after they were born paled before the much more widespread crime of daughters being killed even while they were in the womb.

Female infanticide is akin to serial killing. But female foeticide was more like a holocaust. A whole gender is getting exterminated. It is a silent and smoothly executed crime which leaves no waves in its wake. It is happening while we, as a nation, slumber. In some parts of the country almost two generations of women have been exterminated before I completed this book and there is still no solution in sight.

As a journalist, I can only narrate the story. I have no solutions to offer. A finger in the dyke can help to stem a trickle. But even the best dykes in the world have to be fortified to tackle a deluge.

May be this narration will help. May be it will touch the right chords in places where it matters. And may be just maybe we might come up with something more than a finger in the dyke.

Back Of Book

'Now they no longer feed them paddy husk or poisoned milk…they stifle them with a pillow or with a cloth.' (Kanchamma, a midwife from Alligundam village in Tamil Nadu)

'We knew the doctor at the scan centre and … went to the clinic that he suggested and had the foetus removed. The next two times were also okay except that I got very tired and had to give up my job. My husband said having a son was more important then having a job.' (Renu, from Chandigarh, who has had four abortions in five years)

India has historically had a deficit of women compared to most other countries, but we now live in a time when a systematic extermination of an entire gender is taking place right before our eyes. Until the 1980s, women and girls were dying either of neglect or were killed soon after they were born. Today, the horrifying reality is that, thanks to 'advances' in medical technology, they are now eliminated while still in the womb. Female foeticide has become an organized crime and the ultrasound machine has mutated into an instrument of murder.

In Disappearing Daughters Gita Aravamudan uses the tools of investigative reporting to expo9se the imperatives that drive this horrific phenomenon. She unravels an appalling story of deeply embedded and destructive patriarchal beliefs, disempowered women who have no claim on their own bodies and the active complicity of a ruthless and callous medical and social system. This book makes it chillingly clear that the macabre practice of eliminating female fetuses spells doom for our sons as well as our daughters and is bound to have a disastrous impact on future generations.

'This book touches our conscience.'
(From the foreword by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam)

Contents
Acknowledgements ix
Foreword xi
Preface xv
1. In Search Of Disappearing Daughters 1
2. Who Is The Victim ? 20
3. Our Missing Girls 39
4. Scientific Elimination 54
5. Going Hi-Tech And Global 70
6. The Law And The Lawless 87
7. Who Wants Daughters ? 106
8. Backlash 126
9. The Ravaged Womb 142
10. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow 154
Afterword: Myth And Reality 171
Notes 176
Bibliography 178
Index 181

Disappearing Daughters: The Tragedy of Female Foeticide

Item Code:
IDJ165
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2007
Publisher:
Penguin Books
ISBN:
0143101706
Size:
7.8" X 5.2"
Pages:
188
Price:
$24.00   Shipping Free
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Preface

When I embarked on writing this book, to me, female foeticide was what we in journalistic parlance call 'a story'. To track this story I decided to use the only tools I knew: the old fashioned tools of investigative reporting.

I knew it would require patience, doggedness and a lot of probing. Getting people to confide in me would not be easy. Wherever I went, I would be an outsider. There was plenty of research data available on the subject, but somewhere along the line the human face had gone missing. I knew that my story would not emerge easily. What I did not really expect was the momentum the story would gather.

As the months rolled by, I found that the story of Disappearing Daughters became bigger than any story I had ever done before. It had so many facets to it. So many frightening aspects and so many tragic fallouts.

I had investigated female infanticide in Tamil Nadu earlier and I knew how difficult and dangerous it was to pry into very personal and frightening secrets. However, the crime of daughters being killed after they were born paled before the much more widespread crime of daughters being killed even while they were in the womb.

Female infanticide is akin to serial killing. But female foeticide was more like a holocaust. A whole gender is getting exterminated. It is a silent and smoothly executed crime which leaves no waves in its wake. It is happening while we, as a nation, slumber. In some parts of the country almost two generations of women have been exterminated before I completed this book and there is still no solution in sight.

As a journalist, I can only narrate the story. I have no solutions to offer. A finger in the dyke can help to stem a trickle. But even the best dykes in the world have to be fortified to tackle a deluge.

May be this narration will help. May be it will touch the right chords in places where it matters. And may be just maybe we might come up with something more than a finger in the dyke.

Back Of Book

'Now they no longer feed them paddy husk or poisoned milk…they stifle them with a pillow or with a cloth.' (Kanchamma, a midwife from Alligundam village in Tamil Nadu)

'We knew the doctor at the scan centre and … went to the clinic that he suggested and had the foetus removed. The next two times were also okay except that I got very tired and had to give up my job. My husband said having a son was more important then having a job.' (Renu, from Chandigarh, who has had four abortions in five years)

India has historically had a deficit of women compared to most other countries, but we now live in a time when a systematic extermination of an entire gender is taking place right before our eyes. Until the 1980s, women and girls were dying either of neglect or were killed soon after they were born. Today, the horrifying reality is that, thanks to 'advances' in medical technology, they are now eliminated while still in the womb. Female foeticide has become an organized crime and the ultrasound machine has mutated into an instrument of murder.

In Disappearing Daughters Gita Aravamudan uses the tools of investigative reporting to expo9se the imperatives that drive this horrific phenomenon. She unravels an appalling story of deeply embedded and destructive patriarchal beliefs, disempowered women who have no claim on their own bodies and the active complicity of a ruthless and callous medical and social system. This book makes it chillingly clear that the macabre practice of eliminating female fetuses spells doom for our sons as well as our daughters and is bound to have a disastrous impact on future generations.

'This book touches our conscience.'
(From the foreword by President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam)

Contents
Acknowledgements ix
Foreword xi
Preface xv
1. In Search Of Disappearing Daughters 1
2. Who Is The Victim ? 20
3. Our Missing Girls 39
4. Scientific Elimination 54
5. Going Hi-Tech And Global 70
6. The Law And The Lawless 87
7. Who Wants Daughters ? 106
8. Backlash 126
9. The Ravaged Womb 142
10. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow 154
Afterword: Myth And Reality 171
Notes 176
Bibliography 178
Index 181
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