Abandoned babies in India don’t make us sit up, unless the baby is cruelly dumped in garbage, or is disposed of in some other inhuman way.
This makes us forget that babies are being abandoned regularly, in India, and the foreign press reports it, probably more often than we do. The same Mirror article mentions a Delhi orphanage run by the Delhi Council of Child Welfare charity, which accepts abandoned babies, and then finds homes for them.
Most of these unwanted babies are girls, but baby boys are abandoned too, like this case of a 2 day old boy. His umbilical cord was not properly cut, and the poor babe did not get any mother’s milk. Hopefully he finds a home soon.
It is generally believed that babies are abandoned because of poverty, but that isn’t always the case. Well-to-do families abandon babies too, and this can be for any number of reasons. Illegitimate babies are often disposed of secretly. The shame of it would be too much to bear. Rich families do not often get rid of babies for sex selection, because they are rich enough to get rid of the baby in the womb itself. Sex selection is a crime in India, but people get away with it. This wiki article explains the poor sex ratio in the country, and how technology is helping people to get rid of unwanted babies.
It is the mother who is blamed, by the press, and by society, but mothers are pawns in the game, the victims of a repressed society. It is not their choice alone. If a young girl in India gets pregnant after an affair, neither her family, nor society, will support her. She will probably be thrown out of the house if she insists on keeping the baby. And it is the same situation if she insists on keeping a girl baby that the rest of the family does not want.
At times mothers do not want to be mothers at all. Or even if they do, they get no help in child rearing. Taking care of a baby is a 24 hour job. If the mother can’t cope, this could be the result – a woman throwing away her baby because she doesn’t want to take care of it.
Mothers have killed their children from time immemorial, and it happens in developed countries as well, but not with the regularity with which it happens here in India.
Societal reforms are the only answer. Reforms like:
- Improvement in the status of women so that girls become as desirable to parents as boys
- Acceptance of premarital relationships.
- The freedom to marry late, without societal censure, will also result in mature, independent, and responsible mothers.
If women married early in feudal times, and it seemed to work, it was because society was more cohesive, women more protected, and people lived in communities and large families where help was at hand.
In today’s world, there are financial pressures, family pressures, and smaller families. Women find it difficult to cope.