Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"Dont Kill Me" - The Unheard Cries of Baby Girls

Today I came across the following news article:
India Kills 10 million girls in 20 years
Ten million girls have been killed by their parents in India in the past 20 years, either before they were born or immediately after, a government minister said, describing it as a "national crisis".

A United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) report released this week said 7 000 fewer girls are born in the country every day than the global average would suggest, largely because female foetuses are aborted after sex determination tests, but also through murder of new borns...

Read Full Article here

It's a very depressing read. However, sadly female infanticide has existed in India for a long time but has only changed its form. Now the advances in medicine and technology are being openly used to choose the gender of an unborn child and to abort it if it is a girl. Unfortunately women are either forced to have abortions through pressure and threats from family members or are persuaded to subscribe to this sin and many of them profess to be Sikh.

Gurmat condemns female infanticide. C.H. Payne (P. 35) writes:
"Female infanticide, a custom prevalent then and for many years after in the Punjab, was strictly forbidden, as was also the practice of sati, and rules and regulations were enjoined relating to daily worship, marriage, the law of inheritance, and other matters in which the Sikhs had hitherto conformed to Hindu law."

The Panthic Sikh Rehit Maryada says: "(l) The Sikh will not kill the daughters nor shall he give his daughter in marriage into a family where this act is committed." Furthermore when one receives Amrit from the Guru-Roop Panj Piaare all Amrit candidates are instructed that certain individuals are liable to chastisement involving automatic boycott. According to the Sikh Rehit Maryada this includes "(1) Anyone maintaining relations or communion... killers of female infants."

It was a custom throughout India to strangulate the baby daughters at birth. Usually well-to-do people killed their daughters at birth. The Sikh Gurus right from Guru Nanak Sahib jee condemned this practice and detested the idea of female inferiority, reminding people of the divinity of women.
ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
mehlaa 5.
Fifth Mehl:

ਫਰੀਦਾ ਖਾਲਕੁ ਖਲਕ ਮਹਿ ਖਲਕ ਵਸੈ ਰਬ ਮਾਹਿ ॥
fareedaa khaalak khalak mehi khalak vasai rab maahi.
Fareed, the Creator is in the Creation, and the Creation abides in God.

ਮੰਦਾ ਕਿਸ ਨੋ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਾਂ ਤਿਸੁ ਬਿਨੁ ਕੋਈ ਨਾਹਿ ॥੭੫॥

mandaa kis no aakhee-ai jaaN tis bin ko-ee naahi. ||75||
Whom can we call low? There is none without Him. ||75||
(Ang 1381)

Daas would like to share the accounts from the lives of two great Sikh women, which I came across after reading the book "Sikh Religion and Women" written by G.S. Sidhu. Their stories demonstrate the Divine Grace of Vaheguru can make the impossible possible and how one's fortunate can change in one instant. Reading the two accounts I was stunned to see how from being considered a burden in life, with the Guru's Kirpaa one's fortune and life can change course.

Story of Mai Fatto jee (Mata Fateh Kaur)
The parents of Mai Fatto felt burdened with the birth a baby girl. Usually this was to do with unable to pay to dowry. Her father decided to murder the child. Bhai Dyaal Singh (descendent of Bhai Bhagtu jee) reached their village Kalayke and heard of the terrible act of evil that was to be committed on a helpless baby. He refused to dine with Fatto's father Bhai Maluka unless he spared the life of their baby girl.

The girl was thereon looked after and brought up by Bhai Dyaal Singh and was named 'Fateh Kaur'. She was raised with full dignity and respect in accordance to Gurmat and became a proud and strong woman. She was married to Sardaar Aala Singh (d. 1765), founder of Patiala and became the Maharani (Queen) of Patiala State but remained indebted to Bhai Bhagtu's descendents all through her life. She was very wise, politically astute, and a Gurmukh woman who was well read in Sikh history and literature. Whatever Maharaja Aala Singh achieved was due to her efforts and advice.

Story of Bibi Raaj Kaur
As soon as a baby girl was born in the family of Raja Gajpat Singh (of Jind state), he had her put in a box and buried her. The news somehow leaked to Baba Gudar Singh jee who was a great scholar of Sikhi. Baba jee could not bear the pain and anguish of the baby girl and quickly reached Badrukha. Immediately he had the girl taken out. He scorned the family for their evil actions and how they could be so cruel to a gift of a God. Taking the baby girl in his arms he took her home with him where he brought her up.
ਕਬੀਰ ਜੀਅ ਜੁ ਮਾਰਹਿ ਜੋਰੁ ਕਰਿ ਕਹਤੇ ਹਹਿ ਜੁ ਹਲਾਲੁ ॥
kabeer jee-a jo maarehi jor kar kahtay hehi jo halaal.
O Kabeer! They oppress living beings and kill them, and call it proper.

ਦਫਤਰੁ ਦਈ ਜਬ ਕਾਢਿ ਹੈ ਹੋਇਗਾ ਕਉਨੁ ਹਵਾਲੁ ॥੧੯੯॥
daftar de-ee jab kaadh hai ho-igaa kaun havaal. ||199||
When Vaheguru calls for their account, what will their condition be? ||199||
(Ang 1375)

Bibi Raaj Kaur grew up to be a very spiritual girl through the blessings of Vaheguru. When she reached a marital age she was married to Sardaar Mahaa Singh (1774 CE), who later became leader of misl Shukarchakiyan (one of eleven Khalsa federations of the time). Bibi Raaj Kaur and Sardaar Mahaa Singh had only one child (b. 1780 CE) who later became Maharaja Ranjeet Singh, the famous king of Panjab.

ਸੋ ਕਿਉ ਮੰਦਾ ਆਖੀਐ ਜਿਤੁ ਜੰਮਹਿ ਰਾਜਾਨ ॥
so ki-o mandaa aakhee-ai jit jamehi raajaan.
So why call woman bad? From her, kings are born.

ਭੰਡਹੁ ਹੀ ਭੰਡੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਭੰਡੈ ਬਾਝੁ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥
bhandahu hee bhand oopjai bhandai baajh na ko-ay.
From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all.
(Ang 473)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting article parents should be encroughed to the important
role girls play in the future of mankind and girls are caring and not a burden.