- Female feticide : A glance on sex ratio
In the year 1951 and 1981 sex ratio slightly improved in Haryana. In the same period number of girls increased to 865 and 911 respectively, in the source area.These figures show a slight difference in sex ratio between West Bengal (source area) and Haryana but not much difference occurred as it is believed. The tradition of importing girls in the region is known for the last fifty years. And as can be gathered from the above table, no much difference of sex ratio between source and destination area is observed. It is interesting to note that in 1951, West Bengal has 865 females per thousand males, whereas Haryana has much higher 871 females per 1000 males. Hence, the hypothesis that the ‘outnumbered’ girls from West Bengal compensate the declining sex ratio in destination region cannot stand before the reality. On the other hand if we compare child sex-ratio (see table below) with sex ratio it clearly shows that female infanticide is heavily practiced in West Bengal. In no way West Bengal is less patriarchal society than Haryana.Table 2 : child sex-ratio2 (female per 1000 males) of population Aged 0 to 6 year (1961 to 2001)
|State/ country||1961||Rank in Country||1971||Rank in Country||1981||Rank in Country||1991||Rank in Country||2001||Rank in Country|
|Haryana*||Not Available||Not Available||899||13||902||14||879||12||820||12|
- * Haryana’s Data is available from 1971
Numbers of people in Haryana are employed with police, army and transport mostly as truck drivers who during their visits and travel to other region started marrying outside their own society. These marriages provided links for bride trade. In the beginning they started this marriage business to acquire (bonded) labourer for their booming agriculture and animal husbandry. While the poor parents married their daughters to the ‘dilliwalahs’--as they are known in Purvottar—because they did not ask for dowry. However this kind of marriage is not considered socially respectable in the source area and more often regarded as ‘thag vivah’. These marriages provided further contacts to get girls and make them adapt according to men’s want. Interesting part of the marriage is that most of the molki girls are second, third and fourth ‘women’ and the age of man are almost double that of the girl’s.
The status of molki women is quite bad in Jat Land. The cases of “Paro” have come to light from Mewat region. Two cases were reported recently from the jat land where the girls were murdered and the case got registered with the police. Media remained ignorant of the incident and reported nothing on this issue from this region. Police officers in similar way are ignorant and it is natural that the voices are suppressed in this state of affairs. It is suggested that these molki women are not satisfied and happy with their status and situation, and they have to bear all this only for the sake of their livings and due to lack of any support system. They are well aware that they are being used as a toy on use and throw basis. Therefore if they get a chance to escape they had no way other than running away from their ‘homes’ with their belongings or they would be sold to other person. This lead to maximum number of molki women to adapt to the situation they are going through since they are helpless and cannot do anything. Some of the incidents have come to light where molki woman revolted and ran away to ‘unknown’ places. It has also been seen that some of the women took to sex trade to escape from their life as molki since they were unable to return back to their ancestral home. While others became member of cheating gangs, who arranged marriages with these girls who later on fled with groom’s belongings.
This issue has regularly been reported by so-called main stream and local media. Molki’ is an exact and true example of Catherine McKinnon’s (an American feminist, scholar) definition of the relation between the two major sexes, “man fucks woman: subject verb object”. Visit any region of Haryana and you will find Catherine’s definition to be true. In spite of the widespread and increasing practice of bringing molki, there is absolutely no attention paid towards this by government or the NGOs.
From agro-field and animal husbandry to so called ‘women’s work’ she is expected to do it all as ‘her duty’, and one can imagine if women who are brought as legal wives with huge dowry have to do all these then what happens to those who are bought and brought from far away? This may not be directly a case of women trafficking under definition of ITPA but circuitously it is! It is a very serious violation of women’s most basic human rights. Our network Empower People is doing a research on this issue. Before a wide research, it will not be appropriate to say anything conclusively. But early findings suggest seriousness of the situation. In Jaatland of Haryana, molki owning villages become the source of spreading the practice of molki horizontally as well as vertically. In the village of Kharakramji molkis were mainly from Maharashtra and in the village Shillakhedi mainly from West Bengal. We found that if a molki brought from one village in West Bengal other molkis would be brought from the same village because the first molki becomes a ‘contact’ who facilitate other men to get girls from her home region. And the ‘husbands’ of these molkis work as agents. For example, Hari Om (name changed) from Kharakramji, who did not want to be named, admitted proudly that he owns a molki. He also admitted that he was continuously in contact with the other dalals of the city. He warned us of dire consequences if we write anything about molki. He told us with pride that he will be bringing more molkis into the village for other unmarried and unemployed men who come to him to arrange one for them. A panchayat member of village Safidon admitted the bare fact, “bhai swaad len ke maare molki lyavain hain, saaryan ka kaam chalya reh ar ghar main lugai dikhe ja”( brother, they bring molki for enjoyment, all (the male members) take advantage of her and for the neighbours they have a girl to show off.)
It is found that the ‘husbands’ of molki and her so-called in-laws become the agents and they keep in contact with the bigger agents based on Hissar, Sonipat and Jind, the epicentre of the trafficking. The agents dwell in the village itself. Sometimes they are truck drivers or the people who regularly go out. A molki is sold more than once in many of the cases by their ‘husbands’/agents and the price varies from Rs.7, 000/- to Rs.40, 000/ according to their beauty and sexual experience. The molki owners also lead other relatives and neighbours to a place where they can find a molki. The person, for whom molki is being bought, affords all the expenses occurred in the way.
Our work in the field revealed a number of reasons why women are imported into Jaatland. It includes, practice of karewa, for cheap labour, small landholdings due to division of property, scarcity of girls, over age and heavy dowry. It is interesting to note that on the one hand men are purchasing girls and on the Second hand, graph of dowry is touching sky.
Bride trafficking is one of traditional Slavery system which has a deepliner history of the region so rescue and some other immediate relief or any harsh law can’t change the phenomenon. It can be abolish by cultural renaissance and sensitization of people. And we are working for the same.Nowadays female feticide is a major pushing factor for this form of trafficking. Approximately there are ten million trafficked women in haryana and punjab. and it will regularly growing