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Why Is India Still carrying The Social Stigma Of Women Infanticide?

The matter of female infanticide is something that has deeply touched our heart and we feel it as our prime agenda to raise our voice against it

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Female Infanticide has been going on for many years and has resulted in the deaths of countless girl foetuses. Wikimedia Commons
Female Infanticide has been going on for many years and has resulted in the deaths of countless girl foetuses. Wikimedia Commons
  • A lot of social evils which have disgraced our history are still very much prevalent
  • Female infanticide is known to be the intentional killing of female just-born owing to people preferring male just-born
  • In China and India alone, an estimated 2,000,000 baby girls go “missing” each year

Even after so many years of independence, we are not in a position to call our country a superpower. It is not hard to believe this because in an independent country like ours exist horrific acts like the merciless killing of the girl child. A lot of social evils which have disgraced our history are still very much prevalent. The matter of female infanticide is something that has deeply touched our heart and we feel it as our prime agenda to raise our voice against it.

Female infanticide is known to be the intentional killing of female just-born owing to people preferring male just-born. This has been going on for many years and has resulted in the deaths of countless girl foetuses. People are of the opinion that the girl child is inferior to the male child and this is clearly reflected in the fact that in many parts of the world, women are still not given a status equivalent to that of men. This is no doubt the highest level of brutality and the most destructive kind of bias existing in our country and in many other countries.

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A direct proof of these facts comes from UNICEF which in its recent report concluded that 50 million girls and women are missing from the population of India because of this bias. As a matter of fact, in most countries for every 100 male births, there are approximately 105 female births. In our country, the 105 comes straight down to 93! This owes itself to 2000 odd abortions which happen illegally all over the country daily. Our people are of the opinion that only sons can provide income for the family. The system of dowry is still prevalent in some parts of the country. All these reasons have their roots in cultural beliefs of families and if female infanticide is to be stopped, then these beliefs have got to be challenged.

The government has initiated a lot of programmes to bring about a change in the attitude of people and stop these kinds of social evils. Wikimedia Commons
The government has initiated a lot of programmes to bring about a change in the attitude of people and stop these kinds of social evils. Wikimedia Commons

In countries with a history of female infanticide, the modern practice of sex-selective abortion is often discussed as a closely related issue. In several nations such as China, India and Pakistan, female infanticide remains to be a major cause of concern. It has been argued that the “low status” in which women are viewed in patriarchal societies creates a bias against females. The practice of female infanticide is found dominant among the indigenous peoples of Australia, Northern Alaska and South Asia, which seems to be “almost universal”, even in the West.

In 1990, Amartya Sen writes in the New York Review of Books estimated that there were 100 million fewer women in Asia that would be expected and that this amount of “missing” women “tells us, quietly, a terrible story of inequality and neglect leading to the excess mortality of women.”  Initially, the Sen’s suggestion of gender bias was contested and it was suggested that hepatitis B was the cause of the alteration in the natural sex ratio.

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The numerical worldwide deficit in women is widely accepted due to gender-specific abortions, infanticide and neglect. Before Islamic culture became established in Arabic country in the seventh-century, female infanticide was widely practised.  According to scholars, the fact was attributed that women were deemed “property” within those societies. Some speculated that some women wanted to prevent their daughters from a life of misery, and thus would kill the child. But with the introduction of Islamic rule, the practice was made illegal.

People in India are of the opinion that only sons can provide income for the family. Wikimedia Commons
People in India are of the opinion that only sons can provide income for the family. Wikimedia Commons

In India, dowry system is one given reason for female infanticide; over a time period spanning centuries, it has become embedded within Indian culture. Although, there are several steps taken to abolish the dowry system but the practice still persists. For the rural families, female infanticide and gender-selective abortion are attributed to the fear of being unable to raise a suitable dowry and then being socially boycotted.

In 1789, during the time of British colonial rule in India, the Britishers discovered that female infanticide in Uttar Pradesh was openly acknowledged. A study by the scholars shows that the majority of female infanticides in India during the colonial period occurred for the most part in the North West. However, not all the groups were involved in this practice it was widespread. It was only after a thorough investigation by the colonial authorities in 1870 that the practice was made illegal.

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Some age-old practices seem to be deeply rooted in the Indian culture and making India undergoing a type of “female genocide”. As per one of the reports of the United Nations, India stands out to be the most deadly country for female children, and that in 2012 female children aged between 1 and 5 were 75 percent more likely to die as opposed to boys. One of the children’s rights group called CRY has acknowledged that of 12 million females born yearly in India 1 million will have died within their first year of life. According to the United Nations, there could be a possibility of such a severe crisis that less number of females will lead to a sharp increase in sexual violence.  A consequence of this will be a complete deterioration of social values. This practice of deselecting females is mainly due to factors like religion, economic factors and socio-cultural factors.

In several nations such as China, India and Pakistan, female infanticide remains to be a major cause of concern. Wikimedia Commons
In several nations such as China, India and Pakistan, female infanticide remains to be a major cause of concern. Wikimedia Commons

The economic factor arises from the belief that sons will provide economic stability to the family by earning wages, providing farm labour for family business and support parents during old age. People tend to think that after marriage, a son brings a female addition to the family who provides help in household work as well as dowry payment brings some sort of an economic advantage.

Coming to the socio-cultural factor, it is believed that having at least one male child is essential to continue the familial line and the respect of a family in the society is proportional to the number of male children in it. According to a certain Hindu tradition, only sons are permitted perform the funeral of their parents which assists in the attainment of salvation for the deceased.

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The government has initiated a lot of programmes to bring about a change in the attitude of people and stop these kinds of social evils by introducing various laws, schemes and acts which favour the education of the girl-child, equal rights and equal property share. In spite of all these steps taken, there is much left to be desired.

In China and India alone, an estimated 2,000,000 baby girls go “missing” each year. They are selectively aborted, killed as newborns, or abandoned and left to die. Other countries with similar cultural traditions, who have also faced this problem are South Korea and Nepal. The root causes of female infanticide are similar but not exactly the same in Confucian countries like China and South Korea, versus predominantly Hindu countries such as India and Nepal.

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Can Huawei’s HarmonyOS be Successful Outside China?

Can Huawei pull off its HarmonyOS outside China?

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A possible alternative to Android and iOS is finally here -- in Huawei HarmonyOS. Pixabay

Over the last decade, the smartphone operating system (OS) business has become a duopoly. Either you have Apples iPhones running on iOS or a device powered by Googles Android.

A possible alternative to Android and iOS is finally here — in Huawei HarmonyOS. Can it win the love of consumers who are on Android or iOS for years? According to Neil Shah, Research Director at Counterpoint Research, it won’t be easy for Huawei to break the duopoly of Apple and Google. Beyond China, there are two key challenges for Harmony OS in the global market.

“Firstly, to attract global developers to optimize apps for HarmonyOS and integrate other monetization options via Harmony software development kit (SDKs) at scale. This is something other OS providers were not able to do — for example Microsoft with Windows Phone,” Shah told IANS.

“Secondly, from a smartphones perspective, it is not fully complete until HarmonyOS features quality, diverse apps, AI, services, user-experience, support for multiple technologies, and ad platform integration, with respect to Android Google Mobile Services (GMS),” he explained.

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Developing an ecosystem of partners and developers to create applications and services for a platform is hard. Pixabay

Building and maintaining app stores in each country along with localization options, developer support, GDPR guidelines and security scanning, all with huge overheads, is a massive undertaking. “Further, issuing regular security patches and software updates, while the platform is open to millions of disparate devices, will be resource-intensive and costly,” said Shah.

Working with different global operators is going to be another challenge if the value is just captured by Huawei or close partners. At some point, to maintain openness and scale, Huawei will have to spin off HarmonyOS into a separate entity to drive the growth of the platform. According to Julie Ask, Vice President and Principal Analyst, eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals at Forrester, it’s a smart and long-overdue move by Huawei.

“The owner of the operating systems on smartphones (and a host of other devices) has far more market power than simply hardware manufacturers. Fundamentally, it’s a window or data and insights on every user of that phone – even if just under the pretense of collecting data to improve the product in the long term,” Ask told IANS. The open question is: Can Huawei pull it off?

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Necessity is the mother of invention applies well to Huawei. Pixabay

“Samsung has tried. Nokia (and employees of Nokia) tried. Developing an ecosystem of partners and developers to create applications and services for a platform is hard. While hard, Huawei has the advantages of a large home marketing (China) plus some financial freedom to pursue a large – and what could be long-term strategic initiative like this,” she elaborated. Could the HarmonyOS be a threat to other OS developed by the US companies like Google?

“In China, yes. Because China has a unique digital ecosystem that foreign Internet companies like Google don’t have the advantages to adapt to it very well,” said Xiaofeng Wang, Senior Analyst at Forrester.

Being a local Chinese company/brand, it would be easier for Huawei/HarmonyOS to build a well-rounded mobile ecosystem given its familiarity of the digital ecosystem there and the large scale of Huawei’s mobile phone penetration. “Plus, Chinese consumers are growing preferences on home-grown brands; and Chinese brands are doing better in marketing and engaging with Chinese consumers,” Wang told IANS.

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Shah added: “Necessity is the mother of invention applies well to Huawei, though it will have to remain inventive and prudent on how to scale outside China if forced to, and make sure it has everything in place it is in harmony with the industry and consumers.” The Chinese conglomerate has indicated that it won’t be migrating to HarmonyOS for smartphones, unless it is completely cut-off from Google Android’s access outside China.

When the time is right, and Huawei has more developers working on HarmonyOS, they might take full advantage of the scalability of the micro-kernel architecture the OS provides. (IANS)