Where Are India's 60 Million Missing Girls? The Tragic, Obvious Answer


Sunny Hundal, the author of e-book India Dishonored: Behind a Nation’s War On Women, has written a fascinating piece for Al Jazeera that some readers might consider an exposé on India’s shocking amount of missing women — but in actuality, it’s just an amassing of public census data and facts that have been reported on in depth for some time. Horrible.

The figure is 60 million, about the population of the entire UK, which Hundal surmises is comprised by those “aborted before birth, killed once born, died of neglect because they were girls, or perhaps murdered by their husband’s family for not paying enough dowry at marriage.”

It’s up from 50 million estimated by the New York Times in 2005, which was thought to have been caused by an epidemic of sex selection since the 1980s — but that turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg, as last year’s Thomas Reuters Foundation study found, as well as a national Crime Records Bureau report that found one bride was murdered every hour over dowry demands in 2010. In 2009, a report by Action Aid found that the ratio of girls to boys in some Punjab villages was about 300 to 1,000.

And while the massive anti-rape protests in New Delhi following the horrible gang rape and murder of a student on a bus have shown that a large number of liberal Indian citizens — of both genders — are ready to fight on behalf of women, Hundal points out that the repercussions inflicted on wives and daughters in more conservative households are severe: “These changes are being accompanied by a huge backlash in the form of higher rates of rapes and assaults, and an establishment that has preferred to blame “western values” instead.” (Following the Delhi gang rape, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, one Hindu nationalist leader, said: “You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gang-rape or sex crimes. They are prevalent in some urban belts.”)

Hundal cites one estimate that projects 2020’s population issue in India: Should the genocide continue, there will be an extra 28 million men of marriageable age.

‘India’s 60 million women that never were’ [Al Jazeera]

Image via Getty

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin