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How Extravagant Weddings Has Denied Daughters In Punjab

The new wedding trend has now caused parents-to-be to engage in the dreadful act of sex-selective abortions as the last resort.

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  • There has been a steep decline of girl children in zero to six age-groups – down from 901 in 1961 to 846 per 1,000 boys in 2011.
  • Though dowries have long been outlawed they are now passed off as gifts from the bride’s parents and relatives.
  • Having to send them with high-priced weddings and dowry, daughters have become a liability whereas sons would inherit the land and provide some income to the family.

Glamorized by movies, the media and the wealthy diaspora overseas, weddings have become a status symbol. The new trend of weddings has made it a very costly affair. While the rich enjoys such extravaganza, some can only dream of a wedding.

A large part of Punjab remains agricultural. To pass down their lands to the coming generations, sons are preferred over daughters.

Green Revolution had an adverse impact on Punjab which forced farmers to cultivate crops that required large quantities of water. But high costs of fertilisers and acute shortage of groundwater and equipment to drill the water out landed farmers in a vicious cycle of debts.Their financial condition further pushed the patriarchal society into sex-selective abortion.

According to the dailyo article, there has been a steep decline of girl children in zero to six age-groups – down from 901 in 1961 to 846 per 1,000 boys in 2011. Women make up 47.23 per cent of Punjab’s total population, compared to 48.5 per cent at the national level. The state’s female to male sex ratio of 895 per 1,000 in 2011 is far lower than the national average of 943 in 2011.

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A farmer who is now crippled with debts and on the verge of committing suicide would prefer a son to a daughter. Having to send them with high-priced weddings and dowry, daughters have become a liability whereas sons would inherit the land and provide some income to the family.

He certainly cannot keep with what is now a trend of high-priced weddings. But for something decent as it is expected from the society, the debt-ridden father takes more loans from ruthless private lenders as it is the only option available.

In Punjab, women are largely homemakers and the state’s female workforce participation rate is 13.9 per cent whereas the national average is 25.5 per cent according to the 2011 census data. But the male participation is at 55.2 per cent as compared to 53.3 per cent at the national level.

 

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The Punjabi weddings are known for their lavishness and extravaganza. Expensive diamond jewellery, decorated elephants,  fancy gold-studded invitation cards, glittering wedding attire, imported alcohol,  famous DJs, and grand hotel receptions kind of sums up a wedding. The gifts to the bride include brand new furnished houses, acres of land and of course, cars decked with ribbons and balloons. Though dowries have long been outlawed they are now passed off as gifts from the bride’s parents and relatives.

This trend has now caused parents-to-be  to engage in the dreadful act of sex-selective abortions as the last resort.

-prepared by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

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  • AJ Krish

    In the past, weddings were simple and yet a celebration of happiness . It was never about extravagant parties and costly gifts. People should understand how their trends are affecting the society.

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    When are all these poor minded practices going to come to end? People must understand the value of a daughter!

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Punjab’s Aam Aadmi Party and Its Political Self Goals

Each one of the top leaders in the AAP Punjab unit is on its own journey

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Punjab's Aam Aadmi Party Is In Confusion, Due To Political Self Goals
Punjab's Aam Aadmi Party Is In Confusion, Due To Political Self Goals, Flickr

For a political party that was taking a serious shot at coming to power in Punjab less than two years ago, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) appears to have gone wayward.

Despite the electorate in Punjab reposing trust in the party by making it the principal opposition in the first ever assembly polls that it contested in February last year, the party leadership in Punjab and in Delhi have brought it to a new political low with a series of flip-flops and self-goals.

The AAP, which has 20 seats in the 117-member state assembly, relegated the formidable political alliance of the Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP to a humiliating third slot but is fast losing its votebank in the state.

In recent by-elections, be it for Lok Sabha or assembly seats, the AAP candidates have not only fared badly but had to face humiliation by even losing their security deposits.

In the Shahkot assembly seat bypoll last month, the AAP candidate got a mere 1,900 votes.

Each one of the top leaders in the AAP Punjab unit is on its own journey while the Delhi leadership of the party, including AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab in-charge Manish Sisodia, show wariness, indifference and even suspicion about the Punjab leaders.

Senior AAP leader and Leader of Opposition in the state assembly Sukhpal Singh Khaira is known to shoot off his mouth on every matter. His recent comments justifying the ‘Referendum 2020’ propped up by foreign-based radical elements who are demanding a separate Sikh homeland, or Khalistan, has sparked a new controversy for him and the AAP.

Khaira, a former Congressman, has left the party embarrassed on earlier occasions as well.

Just about two years back, the AAP was riding high on popularity in Punjab and many believed it was all set to form its first full-fledged state government.

That was not to be Kejriwal and his core group of leaders seem to have lost interest in Punjab affairs for now. Kejriwal’s apology to senior Akali Dal leader and former cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majithia earlier this year, which happened without even consulting the Punjab leadership of the party, led to resignations within the party with the cadres on the ground feeling disappointed.

AAP has scrapped the list of its Donors, leading to its own volunteers launching a Chanda Bandh Satyagraha against their own party.
AAP has scrapped the list of its Donors, leading to its own volunteers launching a Chanda Bandh Satyagraha against their own party.

AAP Punjab unit president and MP Bhagwant Mann, who has had his own string of controversies earlier, and co-president Aman Arora, resigned from their posts after Kejriwal’s sudden apology.

Kejriwal and other AAP leaders, in the run-up to the 2017 assembly polls, had openly accused Majithia of patronising the drugs mafia in Punjab. They even called him a “drug lord”.

When Majithia went to court in a defamation case against the AAP leadership, the Delhi leaders chickened out and Kejriwal wrote an apology letter to Majithia.

Offering apologies and doing voluntary service (kar seva) to atone for political sins is nothing new for AAP leaders.

The ‘Youth Manifesto’ of AAP, released before the assembly polls, carried a photograph of ‘Harmandir Sahib’, the holiest and most revered Sikh shrine of Sikh religion, with an image of a broom, the AAP’s party symbol. This led to a religious uproar in Sikh dominated Punjab.

Kejriwal and other leaders washed utensils at the Golden Temple complex to “atone” for the political and religious faus pax.

AAP leader Ashish Khetan compared the same manifesto to religious scriptures like Granth Sahib, the Bible and the Gita. The AAP had to again seek forgiveness for this.

The AAP’s stand on sharing of river waters varies in Delhi and Punjab, leaving the party embarrassed at times.

Chanda Bandh Satyagraha back in Delhi after successful Campaign in Punjab, Feb 24th 2017
Chanda Bandh Satyagraha back in Delhi after successful Campaign in Punjab, Feb 24th 2017

The electorate in Punjab, which gave four seats to AAP (out of 13 Lok Sabha seats), has been left disaapointed. Two of the AAP MPs continue to be suspended from the party for the last three years.

Also read: Dogfight in Aam Aadmi Party : The audio clip of Kumar Vishwas reveals the party is no longer for principles but for personal aspirations

If AAP is to revive its position in Punjab, its leadership — in Punjab and in Delhi — would have to take drastic steps to stop the erosion of its base. Otherwise, the party would end up being a one-time wonder. (IANS)