Tag Archives: Caste

Wife-sharing: the consequences of sex-selection abortions in India

Map of India
Map of India

From Reuters India, disturbing news.

Excerpt:

When Munni arrived in this fertile, sugarcane-growing region of north India as a young bride years ago, little did she imagine she would be forced into having sex and bearing children with her husband’s two brothers who had failed to find wives.

“My husband and his parents said I had to share myself with his brothers,” said the woman in her mid-40s, dressed in a yellow sari, sitting in a village community centre in Baghpat district in Uttar Pradesh.

“They took me whenever they wanted — day or night. When I resisted, they beat me with anything at hand,” said Munni, who had managed to leave her home after three months only on the pretext of visiting a doctor.

“Sometimes they threw me out and made me sleep outside or they poured kerosene over me and burned me.”

[…]Social workers say decades of aborting female babies in a deeply patriarchal culture has led to a decline in the population of women in some parts of India, like Baghpat, and in turn has resulted in rising incidents of rape, human trafficking and the emergence of “wife-sharing” amongst brothers.

Aid workers say the practice of female foeticide has flourished among several communities across the country because of a traditional preference for sons, who are seen as old-age security.

“We are already seeing the terrible impacts of falling numbers of females in some communities,” says Bhagyashri Dengle, executive director of children’s charity Plan India.

“We have to take this as a warning sign and we have to do something about it or we’ll have a situation where women will constantly be at risk of kidnap, rape and much, much worse.”

[…]According to India’s 2011 census, there are only 858 women to every 1,000 men in Baghpat district, compared to the national sex ratio of 940.

Child sex ratios in Baghpat are even more skewed and on the decline with 837 girls in 2011 compared to 850 in 2001 — a trend mirrored across districts in states such as Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

“In every village, there are at least five or six bachelors who can’t find a wife. In some, there are up to three or four unmarried men in one family. It’s a serious problem,” says Shri Chand, 75, a retired police constable.

The majority of the East Indians I know support abortion, which implies support for sex-selection abortions.

But there’s more to the problem than just abortion… I think there’s a problem of missing romantic love. In the Western, we are more influenced by the Judeo-Christian values. In the Judeo-Christian ethic, there is a strong tradition of men falling in love and then taking the lead to woo a women and then providing for her. Obviously, a man would be stupid to marry a woman who didn’t want to work hard or help him, but I don’t think there is anything in the tradition about dowries and such.

Take a look at the clip below from King Lear, where the King disowns his virtuous daughter Cordelia for refusing to flatter him in front of his guests. She is being courted by the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy, and now she has no dowry. What are France and Burgundy going to do? Let’s see.

Quote:

  • King of France. Is it but this- a tardiness in nature
    Which often leaves the history unspoke
    That it intends to do? My Lord of Burgundy,
    What say you to the lady? Love’s not love
    When it is mingled with regards that stands
    Aloof from th’ entire point. Will you have her?
    She is herself a dowry.
  • Duke of Burgundy. Royal Lear,
    Give but that portion which yourself propos’d,
    And here I take Cordelia by the hand,
    Duchess of Burgundy.
  • Lear. Nothing! I have sworn; I am firm.
  • Duke of Burgundy. I am sorry then you have so lost a father
    That you must lose a husband.
  • Cordelia. Peace be with Burgundy!
    Since that respects of fortune are his love,
    I shall not be his wife.
  • King of France. Fairest Cordelia, that art most rich, being poor;
    Most choice, forsaken; and most lov’d, despis’d!
    Thee and thy virtues here I seize upon.
    Be it lawful I take up what’s cast away.
    Gods, gods! ’tis strange that from their cold’st neglect
    My love should kindle to inflam’d respect.
    Thy dow’rless daughter, King, thrown to my chance,
    Is queen of us, of ours, and our fair France.
    Not all the dukes in wat’rish Burgundy
    Can buy this unpriz’d precious maid of me.
    Bid them farewell, Cordelia, though unkind.
    Thou losest here, a better where to find.

And the whole story shows the consequences of the King’s stupidity. So Shakespeare is telling us that Lear is a fool, and France has wisdom.

In the West, we believe in love and romance. That doesn’t mean we don’t believe in prudence, chastity, self-control and wisdom when courting, because crazy love is frowned upon in Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet), Dickens (Great Expectations), and Austen (Sense and Sensibility). Not to mention Samson and Delilah in the Bible. It just means that we think that women have value even if all they have is goodness and wisdom. I could go on about what Western literature says about how men and women should get along, but it’s nothing like what goes on in India. Now, if you can marry a rich version of Cordelia, then I do recommend doing that. Especially if it’s a self-made fortune.

Indian philosopher Ravi Zacharas explains three arguments for God’s existence

Here’s the video from Jason at The Western Experience.

In the video, Ravi surveys the standard 3 arguments for theism in an accessible, non-confrontational way.

Ravi is that he is one of the top Christian apologists, and a good friend of William Lane Craig. One of the valuable things I learned from Ravi was how to test propositions for truth. He recommends a three-part test. First, you have to apply the laws of logic to the proposition. If a proposition is self-contradictory, then it is false. Second, you have to make sure it is validated by empirical evidence. Third, the proposition should be experientially relevant.

In this post, Jason re-tells a story of Ravi’s encounter with an Indian professor. Indians tend to embrace a syncretistic view of religion, so that people basically believe anything they want without really testing any of it using the tests for truth. They avoid the first test for truth by saying that a proposition A can be true and not true at the same time, and in the same sense. This is one of my favorite Ravi stories.

Jason writes:

For example, Dr. Zacharias was debating logic and truth and their unique relationship to the idea of God and his plan for humanity at a college campus when he was challenged by a professor at that university. The professor accused Zacharias of using the Western logic either-or and reasoning in such away that it ignored other forms of logic. The professor insisted there were other truths and that Zacharias was ignorant when it came to Eastern logic. Humorous when one considers that Ravi Zacharias is from India and a former Hindu.

The professor informed Ravi that there is another kind of logic that speaks to truth such as the Eastern ‘both-and’ logic. In other words, salvation is not either through Christ or nothing else, but both Christ and other ways. And truth can be found in other ways besides the either-or logic. As the professor’s lecture ensued, Ravi listened patiently and in places would say, “No, you don’t mean that.” The professor maintained his position as he tried to prove there were two kinds of logic and Dr. Zacharias was doing an injustice by neglecting the other. Finally, Zacharias told the professor that he could end the discussion with one simple question. Curiously, the professor dropped his pen and insisted that he do.

Now, you click through to Jason’s post and see the question that Ravi asked the professor!

This is a question you will use everywhere once you learn it. I first heard this story as an undergraduate in the late 1990s and every word of it stayed with me. Ravi’s book “Can Man Live Without God?” was one of the first books I ever read on apologetics. (The first was E. J. Carnell’s “An Introduction to Christian Apologetics”, which was given to me by a Young Life pastor)

If you like Ravi, you can find some of his university lectures here. The Harvard University one is pretty good. I like his earlier stuff better, because I believe he’s gotten a bit soft lately. I find him to be very accessible, but a bit mystical, compared to some of my favorites like William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland and Walter Bradley. A lot of new apologists like him and Greg Koukl because they are more intuitive.

Indian Christians cheer election results

In September of 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported on anti-Christian violence in India:

In the past week in Karnataka, the southern Indian state that is home to India’s high-technology capital of Bangalore, at least 17 attacks have been reported on churches and prayer halls, according to local Christian groups, independent monitors and police….Christians, who make up roughly 2% of India’s 1.1 billion population, have periodically been the targets of violence by Hindu-extremist groups who oppose Christian missionaries and the conversion of Hindus. Christianity has proven popular among those on the lowest rungs of Hinduism’s caste hierarchy, in part because Christian groups often offer education and health care.

Christians and churches also have been targeted in Kerala in southern India, Madhya Pradesh in central India and Uttar Pradesh in the north.

The incidents follow attacks on Christians in the eastern state of Orissa starting last month that have left about 25 dead. The Orissa attacks were sparked after a Hindu-fundamentalist leader, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, was found dead in a temple. Orissa police have said they suspect Maoist rebels for the deaths, but Hindu-extremist groups blame Christian missionaries.

The violence has taken on a political tinge as India prepares for national elections that must be held before May.

The article talks about the two main parties in the May elections:

The opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is viewed as ideologically aligned with the extremist Hindu groups, such as the Bajrang Dal, that minority groups and some other parties blame for stoking the violence.

The BJP and the Congress Party are India’s two main national parties. The current government is a Congress-led coalition.

…”The BJP has always fallen back on a strategy that polarizes people on communal lines to get what they imagine will be electoral gains,” said Jayanti Natarajan, a Congress spokeswoman.

Check out these comments by the BJP, it’s scary:

Kalyan Singh, BJP national vice president, said the party doesn’t believe in sectarian agitation. “We condemn the violence in Orissa, but the main and deep root is the mass conversions by the Christian missionaries,” which the BJP opposes, he said.

Bajrang Dal is a militant youth wing of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, a Hindu-nationalist organization. Prakash Sharma, Bajrang Dal’s national head, said in an interview that the death of Mr. Saraswati in Orissa was “under the inspiration of the Christian missionaries and converts.” He said that as a result, “people all over India are responding spontaneously against them.” Asked if he could cite evidence of Christian culpability for the death, he failed to do so.

He denied any involvement of Bajrang Dal in the riots against Christians in Orissa and Karnataka.

CNS reported on the anti-Christian campaign waged by the BJP:

Orissa is one of five Indian states where BJP authorities have passed anti-conversion laws which the U.S. State Department says infringe upon an individual’s right to change religion.

…Christians say those who have become believers do so willingly, and in the process escape the discriminatory caste system.

The Christian ministry Open Doors, which maintains a watchlist of countries where Christians face the worst persecution, this year moved India to 22nd place, up from 30th last year.

The May elections are now completed! And here are the election results so far, from the BBC: (H/T Dr. Roy)

State television says Congress’s alliance has won or is ahead in 263 seats, compared with the BJP’s (154), the Third Front (60) and others (66).

…Prakash Karat, the leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the key mover in the Third Front, accepted Congress had won.

“The CPM and the Left parties have suffered a major setback,” he said.

It’s a Parliamentary system with 543 seats, you need a governing coalition with the majority of seats to govern.

Dr. Roy says:

…There will no need for commies to be part of the governing coalition. There was 60% turnout. Unfortunately 60 people died in attacks by maoist terorrists. Congress and its allies have won in Tamil Nadu. Probably not very good news for the ltte. The Prime minister will be ManMohan Singh for now, but it is likely a Gandhi will be PM in the not too distant future.

Great news for Christians in India!

UPDATE: The Competitive Enterprise Institute says that it’s a victory for free market capitalism, as well! Bonus!