>A boy is more desirable than a child?


There are some people who still do the things people used to do 15-20 years ago. Like visit a relative during a vacation. So, a bunch of five distant relatives from Punjab landed up at our place in the middle of April, to spend a week ‘holidaying’ in Lucknow (which, if you ask me, is an oxymoron, but they obviously didn’t think that). And honestly, they were quite a fun-loving group of people, very Punjabi in spirit, if you know what I mean, and not much of a bother.
One of the days, as was expected, the topic veered to kids and having some of your own. I understand the elders’ urgency to see us with a child, but when the child they want to see is a ‘son’, I get really irritated. Bless us with a child, if that’s the most important thing for you, but don’t wish at the same time for that child  to be a boy. But I was given the gyan that sons are must-haves, that life with daughters isn’t bad, that we bring up our daughters better than our sons and all of that, but that sons are what everyone looks forward to. That when you get old, your sons and their wives and their children make up your world. That daughters go away and are never to their parents what sons can be.
I tried telling them that my parents – parents of two girls – lived alone, but were not lonely. I tried to tell them that sons also go away – to study, to work. That often, sons turn their parents out of the house, and daughters take care of them. That girls were just as good. But how could the 50-year-olds believe that when a girl half their age refused to believe me. And that’s what appals me the most.
This girl, all of 25, mother to a 2-year-old girl, said emphatically that while some accept it openly, others don’t, the truth is everyone wants a son. And she’s not too wrong. In her worldview, that’s how people would be. But I could just stare at her. How will this world change if the mothers of a generation that’s in the making believe in something so totally redundant? These are educated people we are talking about – people who travel, who watch the news, who read, who are ostensibly aware. If they set so much store by a boy, what will our world turn out to be? Will our daughters grow up and fight the same mindsets we have to? I’m already impatient with a world that doesn’t understand that my gender does not make me less of a person; and to think we will go through all of this 25 years hence too, makes me livid!
It’s appalling also because in all my life I never heard my parents say anything like this. In fact, my grandmother, who belonged to a time when it wasn’t considered improper to wish for a boy, never let us feel that boys were more desirable as children than girls. I think she’s didn’t believe that either. My mom never forgets to tell us that while relatives would take upon themselves the duty to counsel my mother about perhaps trying for a third child, in the hope of a boy, my grandmother never expressed such a wish. How then can a 25-year-old living in this day and age think that sons are indispensable? Like me, she’s also one of two daughters. But probably, she was conditioned to believe that her parents would have been better off had they a son to support them in old age.
I sometimes try and think as objectively as the matter lets me, whether there is any justification for such a thought process. And I find none that’s convincing enough. Things like carrying the family name forward, or inheriting the family business – things that will happen once you’re dead – how can that be of concern to you when you’re alive? I mean, you want a son because you want the world to be what you’ve imagined it to be after you’re dead? How pathetic!
I don’t think men are unimportant. I’m not a man-hater by any chance. But I don’t think sons are important. Or more important than daughters.

19 responses »

  1. >Exactly, I can somehow work around the set beliefs of the older generations however grudgingly, but I cannot for the life of me understand why younger men and women hold on to this regressive belief! Specially women, because how can they not see that girls can bring the same joy to a family as boys. And if some of us who are educated and well-read don't see it, do we have any hope?

  2. >I agree! This topic of the "son" rules my world gets me riled up. Along with how much dowry one brings to how educated one's husband is, to who earns more….:):):) Yikes, I gotta chill out! My mother has 2 daughters and 1 son. To her, the sun shines out of her son. And her daughters…they exist:):)

  3. >This gets me so mad! No wonder the female foeticide rate is so high! I remember hearing these things since I was a child — the importance of sons over daughters. My parents too only have me and my sister. And other people used to be 'concerned' at that though it was never a problem for either of my parents. And yes, what hope have we got if a 25 year old…someone from our generation…also thinks that sons are more important than daughters?? Sigh…

  4. >I know this punjabi girl (born, raised and educated in India but now here in US through marriage) who is upset cuz she's carrying a girl and her mother in law wanted a boy. All of 25 too, an engineer by profession, married to an engineer as well, she is depressed. I didn't even bother reasoning with her. :/

  5. >Its the hard reality of India where people even the youth sometimes are not ready to radicalize their ideas and get some practicalities and facts in their belief. The mindset of the importance of a son is an old one and doesn't has any significance in the modern scheme of things

  6. >We're two sisters too and this is my pet hate. I remember my mom getting all worked up when people would 'sympathise' with her and wonder why she didn't try 'one more time at least'. I guess it's years of conditioning that makes people think like this. All I'll say is they don't know what they're missing out by not enjoying their daughters as their sons.As for me I like having a son as much as I like a daughter. Happy to have one of both. 🙂

  7. >@Alec Smart: No, we have no hope at all. And it really depresses me!@Kala: Oh no! When I was a kid, about 10 or 11, I once dreamt my mom's had a baby boy. And I woke up with such a sick feeling, I still remember it. I needed to be reassured by my mother that nothing of the sort would happend :)@Psych Babbler: Sigh indeed! I alsways speak up about this issue because I think perhaps someone may get influenced.@

  8. >@roopscoop: Alas! What's the point of an education if you'll perpetuate meaningless notions?@Prats: Indeed.@Obsessivemom: There's no harm in having a son, or even wanting one, I think. And there's no reason for parents to not love their sons. But gender bias isn't the reason you should want a son over a girl.@Mac: I hope not!

  9. >For those who believe in names being carried on by sons how well do we know the names of five sons Gandhi had? And the entire world knows Nehru's daughter's name – do we feel his grand children belong to somebody else?Today Anil Kapoor and Prakash Padukone's daughters are well known as their father's daughters. Parents have a lot of choice in these matters, unfortunately many parents just don't open their eyes and see the option of seeing their daughters as their own children.

  10. >One of the reasons for low CSR… :-(( I somehow feel how lucky I am.. My Nanaji never differentiated between me and my brother.. For once he could say 'No' to my brother, but never to me.. Though he was equally concerned about both of us, but he used to always ask Mom separately about me.. And if today's generation also talks about boys being more important, the day will not be far when the boys will have to marry a boy only.. Is it getting pathetic day by day.. Makes me sad..

  11. >Well written post, I was born and brought up in Kerala where girls and boys are considered same and didn't see much of discrimination or at least in our family. When I got married to a telugu family I was totally surprised the way girls are treated.I had tough time fighting for all my rights.My husband is on my side, so we are good.. When my daughter was born immediately I was asked when I am going to have next baby..what crap is that..How can someone speak something like that on a happy occasion. And its surprising to know that girls from our generation is also looking for boy babys, its a shame I wonder when do all these change..

  12. >@IHM: That's so true. @Soulmate: Yeah, just when we think things should be improving, there are these mental roadblocks that prove that change won't happen so easy.@weourlife: I know what you're talking about… A friend once told me that when she delivered her second daughter, a lot of people did not congratulate her, thinking she must be so upset about it! Ridiculous.

  13. >Very rightly said. Even though people at times don't say anything directly, still it shows in their behaviour, I mean that sympathy kind of thing. Sad. Thankfully, I'm not born into that kind of family.

  14. >The one thing people must learn is that life comes with no guarantees.Having a son does not mean that he will necessarily be there for you in your old age. I've seen several young men ably assist their wives in taking care of the wife's parents, despite the presence of a son in the same city. My parents spent their declining years with either my sister or myself, as my brother lived abroad. (He did take good care of my father during his hospitalizations for major illnesses, but, sadly, predeceased our parents by four years).Sons are not always the responsible, caring people parents may dream of- irresponsible, trouble making sons can destroy a family rather than enhance it.Have gender preferences, by all means, but please do not institutionalize them- a happy, healthy child is a blessing in itself, whatever the gender.

  15. >@The Blue Periwinkle: :)@mysoulitude: Yes, we can only be thankful for not having been born in such a family, but that's not the end of the problem.@dipali: Absolutely. People constantly put terms and conditions to their happiness, not realising that that's not how life goes.

  16. >I have seen way too much of the regressive thoughts by the younger gen aka our gen..I did my PG with one of the best MBA colleges in the country where the students are among the top 98%ile of the country-are well read-ambitious and ask for a cool crore and Honda Civic when they get married to nice homely girls.

  17. >I am not amused by this, even people who have degrees/masters do this. It is a mental conditioning of the society that gets passed on irrespective where they are from…

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