Sunday, April 15, 2012

Baby Afreen's tragic death....

Nothing beats a zero activity Sunday! Chilled tomato and melon soup with basil for lunch.Dahi chicken for dinner. And the marvelous 'Magic Fingers' Babita's relaxing massage in between.
Would have loved to watch Smita Patil's 'Bhumika' tonight. Will settle for 'Downtown Abbey'. I adore Mr.Bates. If any of you is following 'DA', do let me know what happens to the dishy Irish chauffeur.
This appeared in the Sunday Times today...

Death of a baby girl….
Baby Afreen’s short lived life on earth was cruelly snuffed out in Bangalore this week. And the nation mourned the little one’s tragic end. But the only reason we are talking about this horrific tragedy is because Reshma Bano, Baby Afreen’s 19 year-old mother went public with the ghastly, sordid story.She was compelled to speak about the torture her precious baby had been subjected to at the hands of her father, 26-year-old Umar Farooq, when she rushed Baby Afreen to hospital in a critical condition. Reshma Bano was Umar’s second wife, forced into accepting an unstable, violent drunk as her husband. According to hospital reports, the infant had been subjected to the most inhuman acts of brutality by her sadistic father, resulting in severe brain and body injuries, including bites and cigarette burns all over her tiny body. Farooq, who faces murder charges under IPC section 302 , is lodged in Parapanna Agrahara Central Jail, where even other, hardened jail inmates have beaten him up, obviously filled with revulsion for this devil of a man who tortured a helpless infant, resulting in her death. No punishment is harsh enough for Farooq.What sort of a human being would assault an innocent newborn? After all, what was Baby Afreen’s ‘crime’ ? Aha, this is the trick question. And there are no easy answers to it in our wretched society. Baby Afreen’s sole crime was that she was born female. For that,she was condemned to die by her own flesh and blood – her father.An enraged man who’d desperately wanted his young wife to deliver a baby boy. There can be no bigger injustice in the world than the fate suffered by Baby Afreen. If the case of Baby Afreen’s torture-filled 85 days on earth have sent shock waves through the watching world, it also has a lot to do with the sad realisation that Baby Afreen was not alone.There are thousands of little girls facing the same fate all over India.Babies whose lives are crushed by the very people who create them – mothers, included. The ugly truth is we remain a nation of boy-worshippers. Sickening as that sounds.And we are doomed to stay that way.
Shockingly enough,this boy-worship extends across the board, and is not restricted to any class or community. One sees blatant discrimination against the girl child at every level. ‘Girls not welcome’ goes the message.And it cuts through every strata of our complex society.Overt and covert acts of blatant favouritism are practised (and widely accepted) as much in the poshest home as in a jhuggi jhopdi. When will we start putting value on our beautiful daughters? Educating the girl child has spawned countless national initiatives with a few NGOs undertaking worthwhile projects. But unless and until there is a change in our in our hearts, minds and souls, and we stop looking at daughters as liabilities to be palmed off on someone else, there will be any number of battered Baby Afreens in future.Had Reshma Bano not rushed her baby to the Vani Vilas Hospital last Thursday, Baby Afreen would have died much earlier, and perhaps, nobody would have known she had ever been born. Indeed, Baby Afreen was a victim even before she arrived in the world. She was rejected by her sadistic father, the moment she emerged from her mother’s womb. That Baby Afreen survived several attempts to kill her by this beastly man is a miracle in itself. For Umar had pronounced a death sentence the moment he discovered his baby’s gender. Today, he faces one himself. Most would agree, it isn’t punishment enough.But that won’t bring back Baby Afreen. Or console her devastated mother, who is in a state of shock, still waiting to breast feed her dead baby. Is Umar alone responsible for this crime? Surely, not. We stand guilty, along with Umar. Until and unless our obsession for producing a boy-child is recognized for what it is – a sickness - a centuries’ old sickness with no cure in sight, we are doomed.
‘Boy worship’ is a terminal disease. In India, it is an epidemic with no end in sight. We really are doomed. Baby Afreen, RIP.


Sushma Harish said...

ahh Shobha Ji, I wish each one heard your voice so the girl child;s agony would end in India. But this so happens in fairy tales-...and they lived happily ever after...

NAT said...

What can one expect from such a cruel mind set.
We must look into our innermost selves and not get comfortable with our Country shining....
This killing of a girl child is the most disgusting (I am at a loss for words)and degrading blot on our culture.
Surely this will be our downfall sooner than...

Pallavi Patil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tsomo85 said...

"Saaayad meri sadhi ka khayal dil may aya hai; isiliyai mummy nay meri tumhai chai par bolaya hai."

If anybody doesn't know this song, film, & Tina Munim then they certainly DON'T KNOW anything about bollywood & are definitely not late 80s baby!

Oh and how can we forget her lavishing boat wedding. Apart from her fame, she seem to be relaxed & super active women, and ofcourse more importantly complete down to earth & blessed. More power to her. She certainly was the best dressed & stylish actress in the 80s compare to the ones who can always be seen on dull salwar kamiz or saree. :-) I'm going to sent this to my sister, she'll love it.

PS. Anil is such a comfy husband. Amazing time & notes from him at Oscar. Wonderful. And oh ya! My personal fav from this interview is how she mentioned her & Anil is in equal power of each other. Awesome! And the way how she departed her guest,,,,,,so strange that it's something we do regularly. Every Sunday my mom likes to held puja at home & invites all her friends to join in & they socialize & dine together post puja & farewell them with gifts of china sets & etc. Hahaha can so relate this humble & noble gesture.

Pallavi Patil said...

The mindset needs to be changed...if would be in-laws do not demand money(read DOWRY) and treat DILs with respect, if parents of a daughter-in-law are not given inferior treatment, if married daughters too get a chance to look after their old parents ,if only the bread winner(mostly male) is not considered important but the housewife who makes a home worth living is also given equal importance only then people will not regret giving birth to a girl child. Couples having boys need to take a vow to behave modestly and stop considering themselves something unique only because some x and y chromosomes played their part. producing a baby boy is not an achievement but nurturing one to be a responsible citizen surely is.

Tsomo85 said...

Wait, error here. I comment on wrong space.

Tsomo85 said...

Just realized it was all my iPhone fault for pressing left space that took me to this article. Btw it's so sad about baby Afreen. I bet his dad thought now he have to pay all the dowry instead of him demanding it as much as he had dreamed if she was born male. Weird kind of people in this world & jail should be their final destination,,,same goes to remember that one struggler tv star that was two timming with two men at same time & chopped off one
of them with her husband. How can anybody be so cold hearted & lack of compassionate???? Didn't they once, for god sake once thought "bechara" before attempting & practicing such a evil act? All just for greed of fame, money & sex, yuck! How pity. Their life must be so boring, dull, & meaningless without making it "LARGE" huh. I pity such a people. Deeply blindfolded. For them, an act of selflessness & compassionate must be the most idiotic thing anybody would do. DANGEROUS!

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Downtown abbey is a delightful confection. Loved it! Mr Bates and his annoyingly earnest and loyal girlfriend made me want to smack them upside the head. The dashing chauffeur dashes here and there in the car right through season 1 and 2 and finally dashes against the class structure in a most satisfying way. My most favorite character was Maggie Smith (the matriarch). I had a similar grandma who was just as delightfully witty.

Baby Afreen... what is there to say? Really what is there to say, without education and a living wage being the norm for EVERYONE who lives in the country. A societal sea change cannot happen without these.

Divya Virmani said...

Mrs. De, I liked your article. I too felt very sad after reading about Baby Afreen in the news. Our country surely worships men and only men. We live in a male dominated society. I don't even know how many times I have shown anger towards this issue and how many articles I have written. This problem can never be solved, one may fight until the last breath but this can never be stopped.

Nyxster said...

A Girl:
The tree has entered my hands,
The sap has ascended my arms,
The tree has grown in my breast-
The branches grow out of me, like arms.

Tree you are,
Moss you are,
You are violets with wind above them.
A child - so high - you are,
And all this is folly to the world.

sridharan said...

Very good article...I wish that every person who is obsessed to produce boy child should read this blog and should try to change their attitude....

Ash said...

I won't dignify people who abandon baby girls by asking them why they do it. That is just crediting them with brain power that would be needed to formulate an answer to that.

So instead, just one easy question to those humans abandoning baby girls....I use the term 'humans' loosely by the way.


And to all the thinking people out there in India. There is a lot of awareness and a lot of hoardings counting down the tiger population. I have nothing against tigers, and wish them well. But I won't be surprised if one day you will be counting down the girl chlid numbers at the rate you lot are going. Wake up and smell the damned coffee!

Ash- A very privileged mother of 1 child - A girl child

Shruti said...

Baby Afreen's death has been a shocker, thanks to her mother who made her death so public. It requires a huge shift in the mindset of the Indian mind to be able to accept, let alone respect, the girl child. This is an incident I came across in my own city, and I thought Kerala had the highest literacy rates and a favorable sex ratio.

annamma said...

Thank you, ms de. Agree with all your thoughts on this.

Concerted action is required on all fronts to bring, as you say, a change in our minds and hearts.

I think the most important action would be for girls - at least urban girls and well-off women who have the option - to show, in action that they, too will care for their elderly parents.

Ultimately, people in our societies want boys because they think that is where their security and comfort lies. Girls are sometimes seen as a burden to marry off, but also sometimes as a bonus to love and enjoy, but a luxury!! Because there is no return, economically or practically in terms of care in later years.

If women are able to assume full responsibility for caring for their parents, I'm pretty hopeful the boy-worship will die down.

Those of us women who can, MUST set a visible trend - spend money on OUR parents, spend time, bring them to our homes permanently to take care of in old age....this already happens, don't we all know so many families where the girls are taking care of their parents - but we need to make a noise about it; celebrate it. Celebrate those daughters and sons-in-law who treat her parents as THEIRS, as much as his.

Another thing we need to do is celebrate those families who have only 1 or 2 daughters and do not keep "trying" for sons!! may their tribe increase.