Any gender imbalance will prove disastrous
COMMENT BY HASSAN ZAINAGIREE
Thanks to the prudence of the pro-resistance camp, which it showed in activating people especially in Kashmir region, for full-spectrum participation in the routine decadal counting of the heads, the attempts of deliberate manipulations in changing the demography of Muslim Majority state of J&K from certain vested interests have got foiled. The Chief Principal Census Officer J&K, Farooq Ahmad and his team deserve appreciation for displaying utmost professionalism and integrity that as sensitive a duty as the census demanded. Perhaps for the first time people believed the veracity of the data. But certain things needs explanation with regard to population. The population enumerated, according to census officials, included security forces and all those who were physically present in the territorial jurisdiction of J&K during enumeration period. In the coming phases the census authorities will have to give a head count and other details of all of them. They have to tell us how many non-state subjects were here and for what purpose. And what actually is the number of the state-subjects , security forces present in the valley.
Of the total population of 1,25,48,926 of the state, the overall share of population from Kashmir division including Ladakh is 71,98,115 souls (57.36%) and that from Jammu division with ten districts is 53,50,811 (42.63%). The valley comprising ten districts has a population of 69,07,623 individuals whereas Ladakh region has 2,90,492 souls from its two districts. Jammu district stands the most populated with a population of 15,26,406 followed by Srinagar registering a population of 12,69,751. Kargil district is least populated district of the state ,1,43,388. The decadal population growth from 1971 onwards was 30 percent up to 2001. It has slid down to almost 24 percent. That means at aggregate level there has been a six percent decline in the population growth in the state, which the census officer says is a positive sign. It is to be noted Kulgam district witnessed a lowest growth rate of 7.30 percent.
Another development index, literacy, has shown encouraging trends. The overall literacy rate has grown from 55.5 percent in 2001 to 68.74 percent showing a decadal growth rate of more than 13 percent. An upward surge in female literacy during the decade is also satisfactory. Female literacy has jumped from 19.56 percent in 1981 to 58.01 in 2001. The literacy rate among males is 78.26 percent and in female 58.01 percent. Overall literacy rate is encouraging bit in comparison with Jammu region we are lagging behind in literacy rate in valley. Whereas it has jumped to 68.79 percent in Jammu division, the statistics show the valley has literacy rate of 63.29 percent far behind Jammu. Not only this the first to second, third, fourth and fifth positions in literacy rate are held respectively by Jammu (83.9%), Samba (82.48%) Leh (80.48%), Kargil (79.49%), and Kathua (73.50%). And shockingly Srinagar, the pride of the entire J&K state, slumps down to sixth slot (71.21`%) with capital city having this plight, “progress” in other districts of Kashmir valley in Education can well be imagined. This is all embarrassing and must cause some worry to the people at the helm of affairs who talk of providing equal opportunities to all. This also belies the ‘discrimination’ mantra Jammuties are habitual of playing day in and day out. It is easy to cure disease but not the habit that has gained the visceral habitat. It is Kashmir bashing they draw a pleasure from.
Admittedly there are good improvement in other development indices like education, literacy and ‘stabiliztion’of population, but sometimes the good news inextricably comes “wed locked” with the bad. In a major concern the overall sex ratio (number of females per 1000 males) and child ratio (0 to 6 years of age) both have fallen drastically. The overall sex ratio has fallen from 892 in 2001 to 883 during 2011 census. In other words the state has almost reverted back to 1901 when the sex ratio was 882. This amply demonstrates that during the past one century in comparison to high growth rate in number of men, there has been an increase of only one percent in number of women. This is alarming. And must have unnerved experts. As far as child sex is concerned the situation is pathetically grimmer and, I should say, chaotic. According to previous census figures of J&K that a child sex ratio of 963 in 1981 which had fallen to 941 in 2001.the downward slide in the last decade has reached to 859. That is a decadal steep drop of 82. The statistics reveal that Leh distirct in Ladakh region has sex ratio of just 583 which is massive drop of 240 points from previous census of 2001. It is followed by kargil district with a ratio of 775, down by 62 points. Negative sex ration in the age group of 0 to6 years in the district Pulwama, Budgam, Kupwara, Ganderbal and Islamabad respectively is 210,172,167,151 and 145. However, south Kashmir districts of Kulgam and Shopian have as it happens ,not gone with the tide. These districts have the highest sex ratio of 954 which is 11 points more than the ‘national average’.
Des literacy play a part in changing the perception of parents towards girls. Does it imply that more the one is literate, the more he turns the primitive In not liking the girl’s birth. In a way it does . except Kuthwa, which is pegged at fifth slot in literacy ratio, the other four more literate regions of Jammu, Samba, Leh and Kargil show their female child aversion with negative sex ratio. While it is 871 in Jammu, Srinagar, that is having sixth place in literacy ratio, has the sex ratio of 879. But what about Budgam, which has the third lowest literacy ratio slot (57.98%) after Bandipora (57.82%) and Ramban (56.90%). In Budgam the sex ratio has been down by 172 points in the last decade. But Shopian with literacy rate of 62.49% and Kulgam 60.35% both have , as stated above, highest sex ratio.
While it is for anthropologists to study the behavioral change of this kind,what is more worrying is that this son-preference-girl-aversion syndrome is, unfortunately, spreading its ferocious tentacles in Muslim majority community too, which is largely held a Islam-loving ‘conservative’ society and where girls were not only till yesterday, despised as symbol of ‘gloom’ but welcomed and treated as blessing from creature of the Universe. But the shocking demographics of the census 2011 does reveal that our approach towards ‘sinf-e-nazukh’ is incompatible with the Islamic teachings. Prophet Muhammad (SAW) organized a disorganized and disjoint hordes of people to an egalitarian society just in 23 years. And we, the ‘followers’ of Islam have made a “renaissance” of savagery. Of girl ‘culling’ we have outsmarted Pharoah, the Moses (AS) was pitted against. Whereas he left girls to live (whatever the reasons) and put to sword male babies, we have showed our patriarchal inhumanity towards the weaker gender in worst from. Pre-birth sex determination continues despite the fact that it is unlawful. Sex selective abortion and female feticide goes on unabated.
Though relevant laws are to be strictly implemented and further advancement, if any, made over to stop this inhumanity, but beyond that more is needed. A social transformation has to be initiated to make a girl child as desirable as a boy child. Let us not interfere in, much less divert, nature from executing its authority in selection in gender birth.! If son is “noor” daughter is ‘Noristan’. An imbalance we create would be woefully disastrous for all of us in future.
This is the concluding part of the article. The first part was published last week
Lastupdate on : Thu, 28 Apr 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 28 Apr 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 29 Apr 2011 00:00:00 IST
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