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Dimple Eric: She Sued Her Parents for Dumping her like Trash

July 28, 2011

dimpleDimple was born a healthy baby girl to Harbans and Sukhdev Singh at the Civil hospital, in 1977, in the town of Tarn Taran in northern India.   In a country where daughters are unwanted, and thousands of little girls are killed every year (click here) Dimple’s parents couldn’t wait to get rid of her.  When discharged from the hospital, her parents indifferently dumped her in the garbage pit in front of the hospital and continued on their way home.

In the garbage pit, a pack of dogs began circling the child, and were advancing to attack her, when some of the hospital attendants heard her crying and rushed to rescue her.  When no one came forward to claim the baby, Dr. Sulochana Karanjia, a medical superintendent at the St Mary’s Hospital nearby, adopted her, and named her ‘Dimple.’

Dimple found a loving and supportive family in Dr. Karanjia’s house.  She got a good education, established a career, and started dating a man she liked.  Everything seemed to be going well for her, except that her birth parents wanted her back in their life.  They had spoken to Dr. Karanjia when Dimple was 12, and expressed their sorrow and economic compulsion at the time they had abandoned Dimple, and convinced her to allow Dimple to periodically visit them.

Dimple found she did not like being with her biological parents for too long.  She quickly realized, the only reason her birth parents who had once dumped her like trash, were interested in her life again, was because they thought she’d be a good cash source for them, which they felt entitled to.  More so, they also believed they had a right now to make decisions about her life, including her marriage.  And they did not want her to marry the man she was in love with because he is a Christian.

In 2005 Dimple decided to sever ties with them, and filed a lawsuit against her birth parents for Rs. 10 lakhs (U.S. $25000.00) for abandoning her as a child and leaving her to die.  She said she really wasn’t interested in the money, but she wanted to teach her parents a lesson.

The lesson that Dimple needed to teach her parents is a lesson that India in general needs to learn.  And that is that once you have given birth to a child, it is your obligation to ensure the safety and care of that child.  Furthermore, being biological parents does not guarantee you the right to kill, hurt or harm a child. 

 If Dimple’s parents had attempted to kill someone else’s baby, they’d have to answer for it in full in the court of law.  Then why shouldn’t they have to answer the same way for the child they gave birth to?  Is it because India treats children as ‘property’ of the individuals who give birth to them, and therefore allows parents a certain leeway socially and under the law, that they wouldn’t allow otherwise?   Is it because the family is held as sacrosanct in India with powers that overrule the law and constitution?

In allowing female infanticides to become a rampant practice without making the families who commit them answerable to law, have the courts of India failed to affirm that every child born in India is an individual and independent citizen of the nation, whose most basic right is the right to life and safety, which no one, not even the parents can take away?

Inspired by Dimple’s willpower, another woman, Shweta Bhandari, has also sued her Delhi-based parents for attempting to kill her after birth.  Shweta’s father was an officer in the Indian army, a Major, now retired.  When Shweta was born her father had ordered for her to be killed.  One of Shweta’s grandmothers, had arranged for her to be secretly moved instead to an aunt’s house in Hardwar, where she was raised.

We hope there will be more women like Dimple and Shweta in India who will confront blind beliefs like the impervious worship and sanctity of family, and challenge brutal cultural practices that violate individual rights.

© The 50 Million Missing Campaign. All Rights Reserved. To cite, please see our copyright guidelines.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. Zubeda Khatib permalink
    August 3, 2011 11:02 am

    Islam eradicated infanticide in Arabia more than 1400 years ago. How can India claim being advanced and an emerging superpower when her people are still steeped in the dark age.

    • Mayank Raj permalink
      August 5, 2011 5:51 am

      Zubeda, Islam do not allow wemen to go in court. I am a muslim and I know it very well. we allow men to marry with a 8 year old girl. We allow men to have more then one wife. we uses girls as a factory to give birth of child. I just want to say don’t take it as a religious problem. This is a social problem depends upon region not religion.

    • August 5, 2011 6:02 am

      @Mayank — You are right. Infanticide, feticide and dowry murders were all initially largely practiced in the Hindu communities in India. But over the last couple of decades it has spread to all communities and religions. It is another pointer at how when a practices becomes socially permissive, i.e., there isn’t a fast enough action on it early in the onset of it in society, then people take it as a signal of its acceptability and that’s how it spreads.

    • emery permalink
      January 11, 2012 1:15 am

      Zubeda you couldn’t be more wrong! the only difference is that in Islam the men pay the dowry. so many men join the Taliban and other similar groups to get the money. this fuels bloody conflicts all over the Islamic world. studies have shown that one of the main reasons Libyans join Al-Qaeda is to pay dowry. Many afghans also join the Taliban for dowry money as well. most of these men are killed long before they collect enough money. so the bottom line is no one here believes the propaganda you are trying to spread. (I suspect on behalf of the ISI)

  2. August 3, 2011 12:21 pm

    Horrifying & shocking to know that parents can do this. But glad to know that Dimple is doing well and have no words to say for Dr. Sulochana Karanjia who did the most difficult thing of raising Dimple. God bless them both.

  3. August 3, 2011 12:58 pm

    Hi there, if you allow, we would like to help you take this issue to millions of readers by publishing it on YouthKiAwaaz.com – http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/ We would certainly give a link back to this article on the blog. Do feel free to ask any questions at info@youthkiawaaz.com

    • August 4, 2011 5:54 am

      Thanks Anshul, and yes, we would be very happy for you to post part of this article on your site with a link to the article on our Gender Bytes blog as indicated in our copyright guidelines (see the top of the page). And thank you also for a very exuberant and progressive website for the Indian youth. In fact we think we’ll be inserting links to some of your posts in our later articles. We’ll get back to you on that.

  4. August 3, 2011 3:16 pm

    It;s not the culture which allows parents to trash their children.
    It is indeed an atrocious and terrible scenario that these incidents happen and am extremely happy to hear that Dimple was rescued unlike the case with so many thousand others.
    There should definitely be pressure to change the system, but I do not think it is correct to say that it is Indian Culture which allows parents to trash their girl children.

    • August 4, 2011 6:00 am

      @Radhika — When these kinds of human rights violations occur on a mass scale (and female infanticide, whether you are aware of it or not, is occurring in India if not in the millions, then in the thousands for sure), it does not happen without the explicit and/or tacit permissiveness of society. The reason 7 million Jews were killed in Europe is because it had the complicity of society at large. The reason more than 50 million women have been exterminated in India is because we as a society have permitted it to happen. So like it or not — this is because we’ve allowed it!!

    • August 19, 2012 1:50 pm

      I totally agree with u…It’s us who allowed it to happen, so if it has to change we all should make an effort…

  5. August 3, 2011 10:49 pm

    Shameful that parents can treat their child that way, disgusting and horrific that they dumped their daughter in the trash.
    It was a true miracle that she was saved and raised and educated, Allah kept his eye closely on her. I am glad she saw right through her parents and taught them a much needed lesson;))

  6. Esha permalink
    August 18, 2012 12:22 pm

    What a shame when biological parents do it to their children specially to girl. As we know long time ago it happend also in middle east like Arab and some countries there (jahiliyah era). And then people blame one of religion because of this matter. And that story above (which happend in India, as we know India and Arab have different basic of religion/faith) tells us that indeed it’s all about culture and not related to any religion…

  7. August 19, 2012 5:49 pm

    We keep trying put the blame on someone else, customs, family pressure, neighborhood or biradari etc… all these crimes are individual choice that adults excercise. They should bear the consequences.

    Unfortunately, the victims cannot benefit from the punishment for the crimes…

    Victims can only benefit when there are benefactors in the society, again individual adult choices that some nice people make. Kudos to them and may this inspire more.

    • emery permalink
      August 24, 2012 12:38 am

      this is why we need a UN backed special tribunal like the ones in Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia. they can blame someone else all they want but the court would still have the final say. I hope that those found guilty of such crimes as infanticide, dowry death, and honor killings at the UN’s special tribunal for India will next get to face a firing squad. with or without the help of the UN this is what needs to happen. this is what I would consider justice.

  8. August 22, 2012 5:56 pm

    Thank you for an excellent article.

  9. Jodi-Ann Richards permalink
    August 18, 2013 11:06 am

    She sets a good example by showing that you don’t have to agree with your family, when you know they are in the wrong.

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