ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Forgotten Nakoshis of Satara

In Maharashtra’s Satara district, female children, named Nakoshi (translated as “unwanted”), were renamed in 2011 in a public ceremony that drew global attention. The paper revisits this event after a decade to study the developments in due course of time. Apart from the initial feeling of positivity, the renaming ceremony hardly changed the lives of the girls. The paper argues that more than the tokenism of name change, these forgotten Nakoshis need significant and effective measures of reform to break free from the shackles of the patriarchal cultural practices and the subsequent sufferings. Greater sustained state support, through educational and socio-economic welfare schemes, could perhaps have carved a better future for the girls.

Confronting Gender Discrimination in Punjab

The 2011 Census revealed the welcome fact that both the child sex ratio and the overall sex ratio in Punjab had improved considerably over the previous census data. However, subsequent rounds of National Family Health Survey data show that gender bias against the girl child in terms of health coverage and nutrition is not only higher than in the developed states but also the poorer ones. The central and state governments need to take note of this aspect in policymaking.

Declining Infant and Child Mortality in India

Declining infant and child mortality levels are sure indicators of development. But these may not evenly benefit male and female children especially if the girl children are unable to access the improved health infrastructure and nutritional support. The consequent gender gap in mortality is a good index of discrimination against the girl children. Analysis of time series data on infant and child mortality of major Indian states indicates a more rapid decline in male mortality rates as mortality levels decline. However, many states known for their gender bias do show evidence of the 'substitution effect', i e, more rapid decline in female infant and child mortality rates in the wake of increasing incidence of pre-natal selection. It is argued here, however, that a mere improvement in mortality rates among 'surviving' girl children does not mean an improvement in the quality of their survival.

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