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Dr. Mitu Khurana – A Mother’s Fight Against Sex-Selection

March 3, 2014

Dr. Mitu Khurana – A Mother’s Fight Against Sex-Selection


1. Tell us about your childhood in India. What was your relationship with your parents like? What did you think growing up, getting married and being a mother would be like?

I had a very happy childhood. I remember being told time and again by my parents that they wanted two daughters and that they had prayed for their wish to come true. So I and my sister were a dream come true for them.

My father always said to us, “You have brought luck into our lives.” In fact, someone asked my father recently about how he feels having just girls, and he responded, “I asked God for two daughters, and He has given me five daughters,” (my sister, my daughters,my sister`s daughter and me).

Never was I made to feel unwanted because I am a girl. My sister and I grew up in a totally sheltered atmosphere. We both did everything and anything that we wanted to. Never were we told that we couldn’t do something because we were girls. I studied to become a doctor.

I never knew that life for girls could be any different than the life I had. My sister and I were sheltered from the stark realities of life. All our needs were met even before we asked for them. The only thing my parents wanted from us was that we study well and complete our education before getting married. They had no other expectations of us. In our family, we all lived for each other. If one person was fasting on a particular day, the rest of the family would eat vegetarian food on that day.

2. You had a happy and loving childhood but things changed after you got married. Please share with us what happened with your dowry, the abuse and violence you faced, the harassment you faced to abort your daughters, and your in-law’s treatment of you and your daughters after they were born.

I guess the last time I was happy was on the day of my marriage. That day was an end to a carefree, sheltered and pampered life. It was the beginning of a struggle, one which would change me from an over-protected daughter to a fighter, from a pessimist to an optimist, from someone who always gave up to someone who learned to persevere through any situation.
Marriage was a turning point in my life which would expose me to the stark realities of life outside of my loving and supportive family:
• The reality that despite all our advances, women in our society continue to struggle. We struggle to be born, to live, to eat, to study, and even to live with self-respect. And the struggle is so often with those very people who are supposed to ensure these most basic rights.

• The reality that life is very different from what we all are led to believe.
• The stark reality that despite all the talk about the empowerment of women, it is a far-off dream. The reality that, really, no one cares or wants to do anything about it; everyone is happy with how things are, or, even if they are not happy, it is a “chalta hai” attitude which is running this country.
• The reality that there are laws, yet still justice is more often than not out of reach of common women.
• The reality that the very authorities who are mandated to enforce the so-called “women friendly” laws are not willing to enforce them.
• The reality that though laws are there, the implementing system itself makes it more of a harassment to fight abuse than to live with it.
• The reality that most of us have accepted abuse as our way of life, and we do not feel that we can do anything about it.

The day I stepped into my in-laws’ house, I felt unwelcome. After all the rituals, I was shown my room. It was on the top floor of the house. The bed and the minimal furniture which my parents had given in dowry were there. Other than that the room was essentially empty. It had not even been dusted. The mattresses still had their covers on. Thank God at least someone had bothered to cover them up with a torn old bed sheet. This was the room which greeted me, the new bride, into the home.

From the next day onwards taunts started appearing: taunts for insufficient dowry, for bringing an old used Santro (car) instead of a Honda city car, and for not getting a flat (apartment). I thought that things would change with time; they did change, but only for the worse.

Full Interview

3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2014 10:20 pm

    Dear Mita,

    I watched the documentary “It’s a girl” and I was horrified! that’s the only word for it,
    I was accually in shock for most of the film, and by room-mate had to keep telling me to close my mouth,
    as more and more horrific stories literally made my jaw drop, I think if not every person, at least every woman in the world should hear these stories, what scared me the most was the woman who had smothered EIGHT baby girls, and shrugged it off like she had stepped on an ants!!!
    Was it not Illegal for her to do this? I could not imagine this type of thing happening
    here in Canada. I have never been so outraged and disgusted after watching a documentary, but I wanted to let these activists know, especially Mitu Khurana, that she is fighting “the good fight” she is a very selfless and strong woman, she is speaking for victims who cannot, if I can be half the woman you are when I am older, I will walk every day on this earth with pride in my eyes.
    P.S. I some day pray (a few years after finishing university) to be blessed with
    a baby GIRL.Maybe an adopted girl from India or China would be best!
    I will pray every day for your strength and wisdom to touch the lives of more people with this subject,
    one by one we can affect change in the minds of men,

    Yours truly,

    Penny Sampson

    Kitchener Ontario, Canada

  2. Suresh Mapitigama permalink
    March 29, 2014 4:16 pm

    Dear Dr. Mitu,

    Today I saw a documentary on TV about the topic and few of the things that happen in Tamil Nadu and other places in India and China. I could not believe the extent of this stupidity and crime as well what people who support such criminal behaviour/activities resort to.

    Your courage and determination is superhuman and hope that your efforts will be a catalyst to provide you justice and ensure that these inhumane practices stop in the future.

    I have only my best wishes for you and hope that you will achieve everything you fight and live for.

    Regards,
    Suresh
    Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

  3. Sindy Mejia permalink
    May 1, 2014 4:50 pm

    Dear Dr. Mitu,

    Hello my name is Sindy I just currently finished watching the documentary ” It’s a Girl” I want to say that you’re a courageous women! Honestly I didn’t know this situation was going on your country until I watch the documentary. It’s shocking actually to know all of this.
    I just hope one day your goal is accomplish!

    P.s I would love to ask you further questions, please feel free to email me.

    Sincerely,

    Sindy Mejia
    Charlotte, North Carolina

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