Book Author K.K. Varma
The book, “Life and Times of Unborn Kamla”, focuses on one of the most pressing social problems of contemporary India- that is of diminishing daughters from the demographic map of India. It tries to shed new light on the brewing crisis. This is an issue that concerns all of us, for the socio-cultural consequences of the feminine famine are unimaginable. The book is a moving tell-tale!
The genesis of the book lies in vanishing of girls phenomena – as a result of practice of killing female fetus in India which has assumed gigantic scale bigger than any of the wars we have so far fought with our neighbors. Almost 700,000 girls are killed every year! All around the world 1.2 million children are annually trafficked. An estimated 200,000 girls from Nepal are catering to customers in the brothels of Mumbai under compulsion. Every day all across India 200 young women are being forced into prostitution. Human trafficking is the third largest profitable industry in the world. And sex selective abortion has grown into INR 100 million industry in India.
Reports about low status of women in Indian society, gender-based differentiation; atrocities and crimes, physical and sexual assault; and unabashed practice of aborting female fetus have kept appearing in various media from time to time with religious regularity. However, these have just remained as one more incidents among crime reporting-soliciting little attentions from society or the administration as such, leave alone leading to any proactive actions and measures.
Seen in this context, the book possibly is the very first comprehensive documentation on the problem of vanishing girls consequent to female feticide. Sketched into a well-woven story, with live case histories and individual’s experiences, the book makes an extremely interesting and informative reading.
The work is based on long professional experience, of the author, in development sector on women and children’s issues. The narration compiles many case studies and personal interactions including close observations; in addition to drawing (and duly acknowledging) information contents from various sources such as non-governmental organizations, individual Indians, the Government, media and online reports. Extensive research on the subject from secondary sources, reports and findings have been appropriately quoted adding value to the contents.
Spread over various chapters, the Author covers a vast canvass- tracing the journey from the past- rich Indian heritage and civilization- reverence and high pedestal accorded to goddesses and saintly brave women accorded in Hindu mythology and Indian culture- amply reflecting status of women; to the present messy situation.
It sketches the varying shades of societal texture- pride and prejudices, values and attitudes, socially unacceptable sexual practices and illegal acts unabashedly practiced. The social upheaval caused as a result of unavailability of sufficient number of women (skewed sex ratio) leading to “bought up wife” becoming “every one’s wife” in the family, resultant tense and more often than not, hostile inter-personal relationship in family, sexual abuse and rape including incest relationship-all such shades of human aberrations leading to perverted actions have been exhibited through case studies.
The book examines all social and human variables at play, their inter linkages and resultant multi-facet implications as fall out of ghastly inhuman acts of female feticide and infanticide.
It amply exhibits stake holders in this act- the exploiters, exploited, benefactors, abettors and facilitators.
The novel showcases how lust of one part of India is being satiated through flesh from other parts of the country and also neighboring Nepal and Bangla Desh- in the process having facilitated emergence of a new industry dealing with abduction and trafficking of girls for flesh business; and flourishing from demand-supply axis. It showcases how sexual hunger is sought to be quenched from hungry stomach! Enough of ramification of self-created shortage of girls in one part of the country and surplus poverty in another part of mother India and neighborhood!
The deeper implications of self-inflicted feminine famine has been sketched in all its shades and contours – human, moral, ethical, social, economic and also criminality of act. The induced scarcity of girls leading to “export” of “can-not-do-away -with –commodity” through lucrative industry of human trafficking has been extensively referred to impress upon the fellow countrymen that the problem no more remains isolated, confined to any one or a few regions of the country; but the whole nation and also the neighboring countries are gripped with such virus which has assumed alarming proportions.
The brief sketch of iconic Indian women like Late Ms. Kalpana Chawla and Neha Saniwal – the proud daughters of Haryana and the revered queen Padmini from Rajasthan and her extreme sacrifice –has been choreographed as reminder to all of us; and also to ponder as how many such daughters we have denied right to be borne!
To stir the conscience, the novel makes scathing observations about our level of civilization, human status and morality in modern India- fast emerging as a global power with all economic advancements and industrializations!
The book makes a genuine effort to shake nation’s conscience, arouse passion and collective human actions. It is expected to make us think; question oneself about the society we all live in – societal attitude and sense of civility including one’s own.
Do we have any social, moral, ethical and human responsibilities? Let us introspect.