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Poll Results on the Killing of #Girls in #India — and a Question for the Public

April 3, 2013

Miss-India-World-Pooja-ChopraIn Feb 2013, The 50 Million Missing Campaign had put out a public poll along with the story of the Indian model and actress Pooja Chopra.

Pooja’s father had wanted her killed when she was 20 days old, and had tried putting a pillow over her face.  But had Pooja’s father known that one day his daughter will be wealthy and world famous, might he have changed his mind?  If for nothing else, since he was an educated, well-off man, then for the fact it would mean fame for him too? [To read the story click here]

OUR QUESTION TO THE PUBIC WAS: Should wealthy and glamorous women like Pooja be used as a role models to convince Indians to not kill their daughters?

A total of 3674 people voted on the two choices we offered, and the results are as shown below

62% said NO — wealthy and glamorous women like Pooja should not be used as incentive to stop female infanticide, because the message India needs to hear is no parent has the right to kill their child, regardless of whether a child becomes successful or not! If they can raise a son, there is no reason why they can’t raise a daughter!

38% said YES  — wealthy and glamorous women like Pooja should be used as incentive to stop female infanticide, because Indians see their children as economic investments! So we need to give Indian parents economic incentive to not kill their girl children, by using successful, famous, wealthy women as role models.

We were very relieved to observe that a substantial majority of the public, 62%, believes that a child’s right to life is unconditional and non-negotiable!

 We however would like to ask why 38% of the public thinks that a child’s life is negotiable and parents should be given financial incentive to not kill?

 As you consider this question keep two things in mind:

1.     From birth to 6 years, girls in India are killed at a rate that is 75% higher than boys the same age.  A decade ago, this rate was 40% higher.  This means that the rate at which girls are being killed after birth to the age of 6 years has almost doubled in the last decade!  [For more on this click here]

2.     Secondly, poverty is not the reason for which little girls are being killed! India’s census data shows that the sex ratio (0-6 years) for girls is normal only in the poorest 20%.  As wealth increases the rate of girls killed also increases.  It is worst for the top most 20%! [For more on this click here]


human rights on saleJust imagine: a group of people are being killed because of their religion: be it Hindu, Muslim or Christian.

Would we pick out a wealthy and/ or successful person from this community and hold them as example and incentive for the society to not kill this group?

Would we say, look if you don’t kill these people you can benefit from them?

This would be unthinkable! First of all, we wouldn’t do it because we know it won’t convince society to stop the killings!  It is absurd to think it will.

Secondly, wouldn’t it be a shameful way to barter a group’s human rights this way?

So then why are the human rights of girls up for sale?

124 Comments leave one →
  1. Björn Lindgren permalink
    April 3, 2013 4:41 pm

    Human rights is every human being´s right by birth, period!

  2. Catherine Priestley permalink
    April 3, 2013 4:43 pm

    I think you need to be more open minded… I agree with the 38%- THINK who do advertiser’s use when they want you to buy their product??? Yes quite right…a Celebrity! Why? Because people are in awe of them. So why don’t you get smart and get your marketing right. It’s not about economics, it’s about advertising & marketing that women are just as smart or smarter because they are achievers!! Hopefully the brainless male minds will buy it! This is too important an issue for you or anyone to take the moral highground.

    • Joanna Patton permalink
      April 3, 2013 6:55 pm

      Actually, I agree with both of you. Of course everyone is unconditionally worthy of equal human rights. But there are those – like Pooja’s prick of a father – who are not, and will not be swayed by the truth of that, and we owe it to the weak and helpless to fight their corner in any way we can. If they are impressed by wealth and fame, and many are, then slap it to them. If that saves even one child, then it must be a good thing.

    • April 3, 2013 7:19 pm

      Catherine — You think when a society targets a group and weeds them out like insects, (Europe killed 6 million Jews only because they were Jews; Indian has exterminated 50 million women only because they are female) — then putting a celebrity in front of them of the victimized group, convinces society to not kill that group?

    • Biannca Pace permalink
      April 4, 2013 3:16 am

      Firstly remember it was Hitler and not Europe, secondly get your statistics right: Apprx 5 million Hebrews Apprx 5 million Christians Apprx 4 million Romanys Apprx 2 million Blacks, homosexuals,political prisoners,mental patients & disabled people.

      Thirdly you misinterpreted what I said re read it again using your clear mind and not your unruly emotions. Then you will see that I was merely responding to one part if the question that was posed. And I am still responding to that when I say … Don’t pretend to be so high and mighty and take the moral high ground, do whatever it takes and yes as the business world uses celebrities to push products then use a celebrity to push this idea – who would object, and even if it saved only 1 Life it’s better than doing nothing but sprouting Human rights to people whose minds are still in 1st grade!!

    • April 4, 2013 7:36 pm

      Hitler alone was responsible, and not the rest of the people in government and civil society for the Jewish genocide?

    • April 4, 2013 1:20 am

      Either way gendercide isn’t right, but if they continue with gendercide they’re driving their own culture extinct as there’ll be no women left to bear children. They’ll either realize their folly (hopefully sooner than later) or they’ll hang themselves with their own rope.

    • wdcstudents permalink
      April 4, 2013 5:04 pm

      I see Catherine’s point and I think that it needs to be considered. It has nothing to do with wealth or economic benefits for the parents as you phrased. It has to do with humanizing the victim and giving a familiar face to the campaign. Either way, I read this blog a lot and I am surprised at how defensive the replies to the comments have been. I think everyone who reads this blog clearly wants this situation to change. We are on your side, even if the way we would start change is different.

  3. Björn Lindgren permalink
    April 3, 2013 4:43 pm

    I don´t see any reason to qualify or explain my opinion. It´s an axiom for any civilized society.

  4. Isabelle permalink
    April 3, 2013 4:51 pm

    When a persons humanity goes unacknowledged, when their worth is based on anything other than the life that beats within they are devalued, de-humanised; turned into a thing. To then try to convince people to bestow worth on a child in lieu of the wealth and prestige they ‘might’ attain later in life only serves to reaffirm the notion that the person in question is a thing. Yes, she is a valuable thing, hard working, wealthy and respectable but still a thing if her worth is measured by anything outside of her humanity. How is this a right place to start? It does nothing to bring light to the fact that her humanity and right to live is innate. She does not have to earn it. No one does and yet, she is required to everyday or she is not worth feeding. It is those around her that demand she show her worth before she has even drawn a breath. Her humanity, her right to live as a whole and respected person with the full quota of social, personal, spiritual and physical rights are beyond debate and no longer contested by tradition, religious conventions, her family, peers, spouses and the authorities, is the same as that which we are all born with. If we continue to allow a woman’s worth to be measured by what she might do for us, buy for us, gain for us then we are missing the point.
    I myself, have never myself experienced such oppression and cruelty and I am deeply thankful for it. When my mother gave birth to me the fact that I came into the world with a birth defect made no difference to how much she loved me and my father felt the same. I am so glad of this. I raise my children with an attitude of acceptance and equality and am thankful that I can. All this being said I am also very aware that far too many women and girls are not even given the right to a chance for life, let alone a loving one. I hope this will change.

    • April 3, 2013 5:35 pm

      Thank you, isabelle, for your wise thoughts. You’ve said it all – nothing more to add to it!

    • April 3, 2013 8:01 pm

      Well said Isabella. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. Love, Eileen

    • Sarah permalink
      April 4, 2013 2:49 am

      Thanks Isabelle, for articulating so beautifully everything my heart would like to have said!! Love, Sarah xx

    • Tamara Gregg permalink
      April 15, 2013 5:55 am

      I agree that a person shouldn’t be judged on what they can do for another person. However the problem is that these rich people won’t listen unless you speak their language MONEY. I would like to know how else you will get these people to listen to moral reason, other than saying you can make more money off of them. It isn’t an ideal situation, but what would you rather; these girls being killed by the thousands, or getting a foot in the door by having these rich people say wait I might regret killing my daughter. In addition if they do have a reason to keep their daughter alive, even if it is an immoral reason, later they may also realize as their daughter shows her personality that this is a living being to love, and not to use. Finally I don’t think people are seeing the side of the coin that children in general are being objectified by this practice. My son is my household name. He can be used to make money in my name, and he will not have me lose money through a dowry. Men are assumed to always work, work, just as this woman worked as a famous person. Unfortunately this assumption causes the boy’s life to be spared while the uncertainty of the girl causes her to die.

    • April 22, 2013 3:39 pm

      I spoke to an elderly indian woman yesterday and she claims that there is less of femicide in India and the indian government are trying to improve things. Also said that nowadays the dowry payment has to be mutually agreed and is not obligatory in relations between those who marry. is this true?

    • April 22, 2013 5:48 pm

      Terry — One of the issues we are dealing with in this campaign is deep denial. Because many people have witnessed this violence in their own lives or families but culturally have been conditioned to be silent. The rate of femicide in India is going bad to worse, and exponentially. Do see this 12 minute video the campaign founder presented to the UN. With regards to dowry — it is plain illegal and has been so for more than 50 years. The government has never made any attempt to enforce the law because many in the government take dowry! From this woman’s response we would guess she’s a dowry taker!!

    • April 23, 2013 3:43 am

      she said she was a retired teacher who had been teaching in India. seemed to be quite assertive and had a daughter too. I cant comment on the dowry issue as I didnt ask her, however you may possibly be correct in your assumption as she was in her seventies. Presumably it was common for the dowry to be accepted when she married. her husband didnt seem to be forthcoming in his opinions so perhaps he did’nt understand the english language

  5. April 3, 2013 5:03 pm

    The possibilities of riches and fame should not be deployed as the reason for not killing young girls. To put that reason forward is to diminish the importance of simple humanity. Nevertheless, the story of Pooja should not be denied. She has as much right to be heard as the poorest woman. Her story, however, must not be validated on the basis of fame and wealth. It must be validated on the basis that she is a human being.
    To validate such a story on the basis of fame and wealth means that the unknown and the poor will be invalidated. That is a crime against humanity.

    • April 3, 2013 6:59 pm

      Cliff — the poorest actually are not killing their daughters in India. The poorest 20% in India are only ones with a normal sex ratio in the 0-6year category. But it is as wealth increase that the ratio worsens. And it is the riches 20% of Indians who have the worst gender ratio for girls in the 0-6years age category.

  6. April 3, 2013 5:46 pm

    I think whatever it takes to save the girl child should be endorsed . After all what is more important than the life of a child that too a girl . There is no doubt one should use what ever ways to prevent this and change this .Killing of a girl child is one of the most abominable act.

    • April 3, 2013 6:57 pm

      Exactly. What do you think stops the targeted killing of a group of people because of their race, religion or gender? Think of all the genocides of the world. Do you think killers ever voluntarily stop unless they are made to answer to the law of human rights?

  7. Swati Das permalink
    April 3, 2013 5:47 pm

    ANY and EVERY reason is good enough if the message is to get across to dim Indian male prejudices – if we have to use a celebrity, so be it. If we have to use force and the law, so be it. As long as the gendercide is stopped, and it can stop right now, the world should use every resource and imagination available to let these criminals know there is NO tolerance for murder of little girls. Religious leaders everywhere MUST raise their voices and address the issue; politicians, film stars, business tycoons, ALL should join in this campaign. It has gone on far too long – I am a mother and my daughter has a right to life as do all daughters.

    • April 3, 2013 6:54 pm

      So do you really think using a ‘celebrity’ is going to stop parents from killing their children? The rate at which girls are being killed has doubled and is increasing. And it is not the poor who are doing it. The only strata with a normal gender ratio in the census is the poorest 20%. As you go up the economic ladder the ratio of 0-6years drops and is worst for the top most 20% So you see nothing immoral with telling rich educated Indians like Puja’s father — you might become famous through her one day?

    • Sylvia permalink
      April 3, 2013 9:42 pm

      Your polling question implied as much. We don’t understand what would make a person kill their daughter in the first place. How can we be expected to predict what that kind of person will by swayed by? If there is a chance to save even one life, it is worth it.

    • April 3, 2013 11:55 pm

      It is not just daughters but women killed for dowry, women killed as witches, women killed for “honor” — the genocidal killing of a group has the same reasoning always. It’s irrational. Could we say there was good reason for why Jews or Tutsis or Bosnians were subject to mass annihilation?

  8. Basavaraj permalink
    April 3, 2013 5:51 pm

    Don’t think Pooja as a glamorous model. She was attempted to kill by his father as a GIRL! U think of a GIRL child, not an model, and fight for that.

    • April 3, 2013 6:50 pm

      No, we are saying, if her father knew she was going to be rich and famous he would not kill her perhaps. But you are right. It does not matter whether a girl is rich or poor, illiterate or professional — every girl and woman has a basic right to life which no one can take away.

    • Isabelle permalink
      April 4, 2013 3:50 am

      It is very very interesting to me that it is the richer parts of society that seem to be the worst culprits for the extermination of un-born, new born, grown girls and also grown women. This needs to be looked at very closely. Am I right in assuming the caste system is still alive and well in India? If yes then we have yet another layer to add to all of this. If the higher castes are the ones advocating and encouraging this then are the ones lower down following suit? I don’t know, but the figures show that the only normal ratio is in the poorest groups. I imagine it is because they are far more practical, far more aware of the precariousness of life in poverty and strain and really, killing someone due to their gender is tremendously short sighted to say nothing of how utterly wrong it is. From a practical point of view they know they shooting themselves in the foot if they follow that route.
      Here is a truly awful scenario; the richer more affluent and more prejudiced groups will continue with their disgusting and incomprehensible agenda taking none of the long term ramifications into account and gradually reducing the population of females…where will they then turn when they realise that the biological clock of a woman is much, much shorter that a mans and far more fragile too? We cannot produce young at the same rate. Is it only then that they will realise that they have had the whole thing upside down for so long that now they have only gone and just about wiped out all the women in the area. Which then leaves the ones they missed. The ones from the lower castes, poorer areas and rural districts. It is already well known that women are being bought and sold and used till they drop dead as brood mares to produce preferably male children. Is it much of a stretch to think that this may become more common? Will people have to start guarding their women like soldiers on patrol because if they don’t some family/man/group might steal them?
      It is a dark and unpleasant suggestion I know. Pretty soon female tourists are going to stop visiting for fear of what might happen and immigrants who might have thought about returning to their mother land will reconsider simply because of the risk.
      I don’t have answers to any of this but I am banking on some switched on unstoppable people of India (like those brave women at the protests and the good parents who will not give in to the horrible pressure and anyone in power who says: this is unacceptable). I am banking on them not giving up and saying oh well, its been this way so long why change it now? Apathy has no place in a situation so far reaching and so brutal.
      I honestly don’t understand; I would love to have a daughter so much! If I had a daughter(s) I would feel utterly blessed, just as I do with my sons. I will say this though; my sons know to respect me and therefore they will respect the girls and women in their lives.

    • emery permalink
      April 7, 2013 2:07 am

      Isabelle this is an update what you said about tourists has come to pass as recently a Swiss tourist was raped by a bunch of guys near some rural village in India. the story is somewhere on this site so please read it to see how right you were.

  9. VICTOR CASSAR permalink
    April 3, 2013 6:02 pm

    if indians does not want their girls then other countries should stop dealing with them altogether .Mother Teresa said GIVE THEM TO ME . Other countries should follow mother Teresa ‘ example . Shame on India

    • emery permalink
      April 7, 2013 2:01 am

      yes that is exactly what they should do! textiles, rice, and tea are all important exports from India so we should all boycott them. that will get the governments attention!

  10. Maggie permalink
    April 3, 2013 6:05 pm

    I agree with Catherine. It is OUR opinion, that human rights SHOULD be something that EVERYONE is entitled to, but not everyone believes the same. Until the social economic status and education of this group is improved, they are not in a position to welcome the ideology. At this point, there are ALL sorts of reasons (peer pressure, economic, bigotry, customs, etc.) for them not to let the girls live. Giving them an incentive to protect and educate these girls will surely guarantee that these girls may live until adulthood. Making them see sense out of force is a futile exercise when there is absolutely no reason for them to change.

    • April 3, 2013 6:46 pm

      But Maggie — the poorest 20% in India are not killing their daughters! As wealth increases — the rate of killings increase. The worst gender ratio is in the top most 20% — in that section where people (both men and women are most educated). Just like Pooja’s family was from a well to do, middle class family. The Germans did not believe that human rights was something everyone is entitled to. Should the world have taken an exemplary Jew and tried to convince German society that — don’t kill Jews. They can be of use to you? Would that have stopped the Jewish genocide?

    • Maggie permalink
      April 4, 2013 6:21 am

      Right. Then we will have to find out the motivation for these killings among the educated and socially able. What causes people, who can think rationally, to behave this way towards another human being? An inflated sense of self worth, maybe? The situation isn’t all that different in China. Abortions of girl fetuses were carried out for a long time (due to their one child policy), which resulted in an imbalance of genders, making it difficult for Chinese men to find wives. It took China decades of abortions to arrive at this outcome and even now, abortions still not aggressively fought against. Human rights is still something a lot of countries are still struggling to accept, despite being introduced for more than half a century. Why isn’t it working? If an exemplary Jew had been made the poster child to convince the Germans not to kill Jews, they might not have all survived, but at least his/her family would have been the exception to the rule. We cannot overturn something so deeply ingrained in them overnight, or just by yelling “human rights, human rights!” at them. The point is, there needs to be an incentive for them to change, whatever it maybe. Baby steps.

  11. Margaret Adams permalink
    April 3, 2013 6:17 pm

    If she can save the life of just one girl it will be worthwhile. Anyone who kills their child because they perceive them to be the wrong sex won’t really be reached by the obvious moral argument about their innate right to life regardless of gender.

    • April 3, 2013 7:17 pm

      Margaret — in any genocide society does not care about the innate right to life of the victimized group. So should Europe have told the Germans — don’t kill the Jews because they can be useful to you economically. Would that be an acceptable approach to the Jewish genocide?

    • Sylvia permalink
      April 3, 2013 9:39 pm

      Yes, is the answer. I agree with Margaret. The first thing that must happen is to stop the killing. If Jews lived because they were seen as economic investments (ahem, Schindler’s List anyone?) and their lives were spared, who are you to judge? Ideal? No…but being alive with a chance to change minds is better than being dead and unable to change minds.

    • April 3, 2013 11:56 pm

      You think the Schindler’s list method would have save 7 million Jews? Will it have saved 50 million women in India?

    • Biannca Pace permalink
      April 4, 2013 3:20 am

      Absolutely right Margaret!! Let common sense ( which is not that common) prevail !!

  12. Lynne Stamer permalink
    April 3, 2013 6:28 pm

    this is not a contest. Even people like Pooja,who is rich and glamorous does not escape this. Her story alone is evidence that only because of being female, she narrowly escaped death. Just like all females. Her glamor did not protect her and she becomes one with every
    other female in India. No this is not a choice. Forget it. They’re all in the same boat.

  13. April 3, 2013 6:44 pm

    Its just a shame for India and indian people where they on one hand worship women goddesses and on other hand they kill their own females child. When I read these stories i dont even know what to say as I am just shocked that someone can kill thier own child. More I read these stories more I admire my dad and mom who 50 yrs back already had two boys but wanted a girl as they use to say home is not a home where there is no little girl so I was born then they tried again and had another girl child my sister. We were treated better than our brothers, i dont remember a day our parents even yelled at us. So for me to comprehend this is just hard. The saying son is a son until he gets wife and daughter is a daughter all her life, is so true in this world daughter will take care of her parents even they mistreated her, won’t not give her same rights in the home as sons and especially so true in today’s india as I read so many stories where sons have mistreated their parents for money or thrown them on street for property, one arely ever hears the same for a daughter.

    Indian people need to think tomorrow when there are barely any girls, whom their sons going to marry, who is going to bear them grand kids. They need to stop worshipping goddesses as that just hypocrite to the core.

    Indian people need to wake up and see the effect of this ten twenty years from now. I myself after having a son wanted a daughter and got one and I see how much love she had brought in our lives.

    Shame on you indian people for killing your own flesh and blood just because its a GIRL.

  14. irmtraud permalink
    April 3, 2013 7:07 pm

    No life is negotialbe, poor or rich. And at the same time I guess when poor AND rich women stand up together to preserve their daughters’ lives much can be achieved. Killing girl children leads to new violence – rape und more killing – and this in Gandhis country, so sad…

  15. Meredith permalink
    April 3, 2013 7:24 pm

    I absolutely believe that everyone has human rights, and parents need to know that. But I was one of those 38% because changing peoples’ hearts is a lengthy process. How many million more girls could die while we are trying to convince Indians that their lives have inherent worth? Immediate measures are needed, and using an example of a successful woman may save the lives of many. Indian parents believe that boys are a better economic investment. It makes sense to me that the problem is worse among the wealthy, because the poor can use all the help they can get, regardless of gender. The rich have the resources to be selective, and they believe that selecting boys will get a greater return. However, if they see someone like Pooja they may begin to think that girls are an equally good investment. They will believe that long before we convince them to believe in the right to life.

  16. Rusty Jarmain permalink
    April 3, 2013 7:35 pm

    The sanctity of human life is not negotiable, whatever the circumstances and irrespective of any prognostication regarding the “worth” of a child to family or society, presently or at any future time. To place a monetary value on the life of a child, male or female, reveals a mentality still floundering in the darkest days of slavery.

  17. April 3, 2013 7:42 pm

    no one has the right to deside another persons value, we are all born equal, regardles of colour or creed, and we all as decent law abideing people owe it to all children to love respect and protect them, money prestige, being a celibbrity does not increase ones worth, being human does that,

  18. John permalink
    April 3, 2013 7:42 pm

    Let me ask a stupid question, the reason this question is stupid is because we already know the answer. We all formed to do specific things in the world. Whether it be a beautiful, young girl to show the plight of the others, or a big strong man whose only thing is to drink protein shakes and work out to make his muscles larger (kind of ludicrous, but it’s what we do). Or we show or sports hero’s to show what strength or agility can do. These all are for one thing, to show the greatness of man in his prime. But when it comes to those we look down on, we can do anything we like just because we think they are less worthy (than ourselves) to live. Whether it be the Jews which Hitler had murdered during World War II or the Chinese or these hapless young girls of Indian. We consider them not worthy of our time to protect them. Does any one recall how many wars America has been in just to protect the little people (Europe, Viet Nam, Korea, and the list could go on). We consider ourselves too busy to do anything or too embroiled in politics to do anything or just political correctness. We don’t because we are afraid of standing for the improvised, the weak, and those in other countries. What am I saying, many of us won’t even help our neighbor or neighborhood, so why care for the little girls in India? Because it is the RIGHT thing to do. If we have any other reason than this, then our motives are wrong.

  19. Kalyansri Dasgupta. permalink
    April 3, 2013 7:42 pm

    When will we learn that there is a sanctity attached to human life ? Life was created by God, and only He has the right to decide when it should end.

  20. April 3, 2013 7:56 pm

    For a lot of time we have been blaming the poorer sections of the society for all the mishappenings around us while the so called ‘educated’ and well to do people are the real cause of most of the social issues we face today. Every child has a right to live! People out there who expect a Return On Investment on children you better not have kids. And coming to ROI being low on girl child…The percentage of men who turn into reckless and useless pieces of crap is greater (no offense intended)…Nobody can gaurantee what a child becomes be it a girl or boy…If you have it in you bring up a child without expectations, bring him/her up to become responsible citizens have a child..Otherwise you need not add to the already heavily populated world…Parents who think a girl child is a burden are not going to add any better men to the society either…

    Children are not supposed to be profitable investments!!!!!

  21. April 3, 2013 8:04 pm


  22. Johnny permalink
    April 3, 2013 8:11 pm

    It does not matter if one comes from a poor family or rich family. The fact is women, whether poor or rich, are ill-treated. Full stop. Find an effective solution.
    Please don’t carry on with this survey- it is a futile exercise.

  23. April 3, 2013 8:19 pm

    As long as the child girl’s life is saved its good, but the priority is to change the mindsets which consider the girl to be a burden.

  24. April 3, 2013 8:44 pm

    Everything living thing is given life by God our Father. Our Father God in heaven is the only one that has the right to decide when this earthly life is over.

  25. April 3, 2013 8:48 pm

    Every story that highlights this issue is important. When there is a human angle, it is so much more engaging, touching and stirring. Whether rich or poor, the personal stories put a face to this atrocity.

    As for your premise that we would not do it for other groups, that is not true. Over and over we hold up the wealthy and powerful to bust stereotypes about minorities. One example is in America, after 9-11, when many prominent Muslims went on tv to show there is another face to Islam. Many of these people were rich, powerful, important leaders in their community… beautiful, too, and it was effective.

    The truth is we should not discriminate against anyone. A person should not have to be rich or powerful to earn a basic human right. But putting a prominent face to a problem builds trust, and opens minds. Let’s open minds and hearts however we can. In Ayurveda, as you probably know, we say, “Meet people where they are and from there, guide them forward.”

  26. April 3, 2013 8:57 pm

    I second what Meredith is saying. I think you are severly missing the point here by dismissing the efforts of a successful and beautiful woman like Pooja. I am in the 38% NOT because I believe that the right to life depends on the ability to be wealthy and successful but because Pooja is VISIBLE and as such more likely to be listened to. As Meredith points out, it takes time to change people’s minds. Especially if children are viewed as a financial investment. If girls are generally viewed as a financial burden, then Pooja is a great spokeswoman to show that they are not. This is not to say that she should be the only spokeswoman. To dismiss her from using her celebrity status to change attitudes on this issue is extremely short sighted. That is a little like dismissing Princess Diana from her dedication to banning land mines.

    Perhaps Pooja is no Rosa Parks but does she need to be? If she can open doors and save lives–more power to her.

  27. Wendy Conroy permalink
    April 3, 2013 9:06 pm

    Does it really matter if the poster child is rich or poor so long as we get the message across that females are human beings, are equal to men and because men are stronger they do not have the right to dictate who should live or die. It all comes down to money. Girls don’t have much of a chance or education in India. With the poor they become a burden therefore a liability. This is not only infanticide it also abusive behavior to the mother. What about her feelings. I am sure that most mothers would not kill their daughters and suffer greatly throughout their lives. A double whammy against women.

  28. April 3, 2013 9:20 pm

    Girls are very precious, every parent should desire for at least have a daughter, because in bad time mostly only daughters are there with her kindness. Daughter always love her parents, parents should accept this things. Please stop killing the girls. She is also a part of your body, how you can cut your own body part? If you are thinking about to kill your daughter, then please first kill your mother and then try the same. Pooja chopra must come in front and become an example for the killers of their daughters.

  29. April 3, 2013 9:28 pm

    A child is a gift to the world from the heavens. It doesn’t matter if they are a girl or a boy. They have human rights from the moment that they are born into this world.

  30. Sylvia permalink
    April 3, 2013 9:34 pm

    While WE may think these girls are intrinsically valuable because they are living beings, I do think that we should use any means necessary to stop these killings…EVEN if it means emphasizing their worth as economic investments to their parents. Whatever works. These are lives we are talking about. The 38% of the people who took your poll and thought there should be a “poster child” are just being pragmatic.

    • Biannca Pace permalink
      April 4, 2013 3:00 am

      Agreed Sylvia we are being ‘pragmatic’ and sensible. Common sense dictates that whatever ‘tools’ one has that can solve a problem need to be used! As pointed out by many – it is not the Poor people who are doing this unholy deed, it is the rich class.. So I reiterate – standing on the moral high ground is a self righteous trap. Do whatever it takes , use celebrities to get the message across, prosecute the offenders and remove their wealth as punishment – with that wealth the Govt mounts a campaign to educate them – a 3 point plan – it will work because the motivation behind these killings is money. I would also ban wife dowry’s another cause of death of women – wed the woman , grab her dowry, kill her and end up rich!! Govt action is urgently needed. To sum up – whatever it takes to stop this- go for it!! Not an issue where ‘sensibilities ‘ should take priority.

  31. April 3, 2013 9:34 pm

    As an anti-fascist campaigner I find your intolerance, ignorance and prejudice reprehensible and unacceptable.

    Anyone who has been involved in any sort of campaign to raise public awareness about any issue knows that publicity is of vital importance, and it is far easier to get that publicity if the person conveying the message has a high public profile. Therefore, whilst condemning female gendercide unreservedly, I am proud to be one of the 38%. (I note at this point you misled people by not including any mention of financial gain to Pooja’s father, which makes your poll and your campaign disingenuous at best).

    Your comparison with the Nazi’s is a false one: the cult of celebrity did not exist in the 1940’s when the Jews were being slaughtered, there was little knowledge of the slaughter until 1943/44 at the earliest and at that time a war was being fought partly to prevent that slaughter. I challenge you to provide any proof whatsoever that people outside of the Nazi hierarchy knew of the slaughter of Jews before World War II started – indeed the extermination of the Jews was only agreed by the Nazis at the Wannsee Conference in January 1942, after WWII had started. I would therefore demand that you stop spreading false comparisons, and if your campaign is to maintain credibility you stick to facts and not false claims to attack those who disagree with you.

    Your response to the well reasoned arguments of Margaret Adams and others shows merely that you have no constructive ideas to solve this horrible problem other than to shout at those you disagree with. I will be withdrawing from your so-called “cause” forthwith, and devoting my time, money and energy to organisations that have intelligence, credibility and aptitude.

    • April 3, 2013 11:58 pm

      You honestly believe Tim that no one knew about the Jewish genocide till 43-44!!

    • Tamara Gregg permalink
      April 15, 2013 6:11 am

      Rather than discussing whether people knew about the holocaust or not, the issue is how easily people were able to discuss the situation. How effective was a petition back then? How strong was the notion that one voice counted? What do you think a person’s priority would be back then, paying for postage to send a letter against Hitler’s actions or paying for a loaf of bread to feed themselves and their family in the time of the depression. Look at this message posting in today’s day and age. We have (I assume) Americans, Canadians and Indians commenting on this post. We have Christians, agnostics and (again I assume) Muslims and Buddhists speaking on this blog. And writing this extra message isn’t costing more than what we already pay for our internet service. Already millions of people have access to these comments and its taking me minutes.

  32. April 3, 2013 9:49 pm

    If a society has a value system which considers wealth the most important thing. Then you must appeal to them in terms they understand. Considering a human life intrinsically valuable for it’s own sake is a Judaeo- Christian belief, based on Biblical teachings. Other cultures do not view each life as valuable, especially if the population is more than the land can support.

  33. Kathleen Patton permalink
    April 3, 2013 10:05 pm

    Be pragmatic. Don’t use just one example, Pooja, but several. The point is to make changes in this appalling situation. There are also other arguments that can be used besides the sanctity of human life. This is India. Talk about karma. And lobby to change the law so that those who do this are prosecuted. This is murder, pure and simple.

  34. Lilly permalink
    April 3, 2013 10:15 pm

    to say – see this beautiful woman! she was nearly killed as a child! what a loss that would have been! – is very much like saying – see this nice girl. don’t rape the nice girls. that isn’t OK. just rape the not-nice girls.

    how can one qualify the murder of a child based on the evaluation of her basic worth? this society qualifies the rape of a woman based on her presumed worth, as a “slut” or “whore” or “nice girl” – just like India does.

    we qualify the beating of women too – what did she do to make the man mad? what is her worth? a star like Rihanna doesn’t deserve to be beaten in the public mind, but an average woman usually is said to have earned it in some way – “why didn’t she leave? why did he get so mad? what did she do?”

    we judge women’s worth, and so decide how they will be treated – we don’t start with the presumption that they are humans. we start with the belief that they have to earn their good treatment – usually with good looks and proper behaviour, otherwise, they should be raped, beaten and/or killed.

    imagine a parent looking at their baby girl in India and thinking “but she will never be pretty like that star. she will never earn me millions. i will just go on an kill her”.
    but imagine a message that says “you are a murderer if you kill a girl.” full stop. no equivocations.
    that is the message that must get through, and to do so men must stop seeing women as something to exploit, to use and to throw away when done. parents must stop seeing their daughters as “useful” or as social props.
    they must see them first and foremost as HUMAN.

  35. Claudia buscarons permalink
    April 3, 2013 10:24 pm

    Creo que no basta con debate de ideas, por más que puede aclarar algo, lo que nunca se puede aclarar es que rico o pobre indio o no, nadie en ningún lugar de este loco mundo puede disponer de la vida de otro estamos hablando de la vida o la muerte….no es televisión y está pasando…es tan simple y tan grotesco a la vez …que parece incomprensible que todavía existamos como raza….

  36. Robbie Price permalink
    April 3, 2013 10:48 pm

    Sell the unwanted girls to China, they are well short of women. No, I am not being serious, but the irony is that the rich families will be ending up with unmarked sons, or have to marry their sons into poorer families, and potentially into lower castes.
    Personally I think the only solution is public humiliation and imprisonment of anyone rich who kills their daughter, which, presumably, is not currently happening. Family shame is a great driver of behaviour.
    Of course, those whose children die of natural causes will, potentially, be doubly punished.
    The other option is to tell the stories of the fathers, not the daughters, who have cherished their daughters,and the joy and pride and status that brings them.

  37. Nancy Pearl permalink
    April 3, 2013 11:28 pm

    Perhaps the parents who are killing their daughters should be prosecuted and held to some shameful legal or monetary loss. Since greed appears to be the incentive behind this heinous act, use a punishment that would strip these parents of wealth and status. Certainly Hindu Gods and Goddesses would not approve of this despicable behavior. What is the other religion they answer to ? Money and status. These are what should be stripped from these murderers first. You don’t seriously think you can reason with males that have such an insane idea of the importance of their status

    • April 3, 2013 11:52 pm

      Nancy, this started off in the Hindu community, but now every religion, state, even the tribal communities are systematically exterminating not just girls, but women through dowry murders!

  38. Jodi-Ann Richards permalink
    April 3, 2013 11:44 pm

    Pooja Chopra has an inspiring story. I think that she would be a good role model to encourage saving the lives of girls in India. However, Pooja and other successful and influential women in India should not be used as role models from the perspective of fame and wealth. Many girls in India and other countries are killed because they are considered to be a burden, but we can possibly use these success stories to show that women can and do make a positive contribution to society, and to show that women are human beings who are just as important as boys.

    • April 3, 2013 11:51 pm

      No most girls are not killed because they are seen as burdens. Otherwise the poorest would be killing them. The poorest 20% of Indians are the only strata that have a normal gender ratio. As money and education increases, the killings increase. The worst gender ratio for girls 6years and under is in the top most 20% of Indians. See the link in the blog.

    • Jodi-Ann Richards permalink
      April 3, 2013 11:57 pm

      I still think that Pooja and other successful ladies can send a positive message to both the poor and rich communities. It just needs to be done from a human rights perspective not based on fame and material things.

    • Mary Crutcher permalink
      April 7, 2013 9:14 am

      Well said.

  39. April 4, 2013 12:10 am

    A campaign against killing girls should not be focused upon any one individual as a role model simply because of their elegance or fame. Truth is that, in any society, relatively few “make it” to such levels and I’m not persuaded thatb people will think twice simply because their child may yet turn out a favourable “economic investment” for them. If any campaign is to be set in motion with people employed to argue against female killing, it ought include persons right across the communal board – including ordinary workers – labourers, shop-keepers or assistants, electricians, plumbers, etc – who value their children, whatever the hardship, and politicians, doctors, lawyers, teachers, university people, social workers, municipal workers, and so on from across the whole community; supported by a wide- social help network set up (and broadly publicised) to assist families in difficulties with the coming of a girl into the family. The campaign, meanwhile, should be vigorous, consistent and promoted continually through all the media available.

    Underlying all this, the message needs to be spread over and over that the life of all has value in its own right, independent of external circumstances.

  40. April 4, 2013 12:30 am

    This is tragic……

  41. April 4, 2013 12:34 am

    The more effective strategy is far more important than the more righteous strategy. Is is better to commit a lesser evil (if it can be called that) to prevent a greater evil.

  42. April 4, 2013 12:45 am


    • Maggie permalink
      April 5, 2013 9:53 pm

      I agree.

  43. April 4, 2013 1:14 am

    I know a life shouldn’t be worth someone’s fame, but sometimes you just have to speak the person’s language. Otherwise they’ll never listen. And since its mostly the rich that do gendercide we’ll have to speak they’re language so they at least see the other side of the coin.

  44. April 4, 2013 1:49 am

    “Pooja’s father had wanted her killed when she was 20 days old, and had tried putting a pillow over her face.
    OUR QUESTION TO THE PUBIC WAS: Should wealthy and glamorous women like Pooja be used as a role models to convince Indians to not kill their daughters?
    WE SEEK YOUR OPINION ON: Just imagine: a group of people are being killed because of their religion: be it Hindu, Muslim or Christian. Would we pick out a wealthy and successful person from this community and hold them as example and incentive for the society to not kill this group? Would we say, look if you don’t kill these people you can benefit from them? This would be unthinkable! It would be a shameful to barter a group’s human rights this way? So then why are the human rights of girls up for sale?”

    Et bien, je trouve déjà la façon de poser votre question comme manipulatrice et le démarche comme peu noble, hélas, et pas stratégique du tout. Et disant sincèrement, je suis un peu dégoûtée par le fait qu’en se battant pour la chose FONDAMENTALE, on peut sémer le partage au sein de soi-même (vous-mêmes, nous-mêmes: tous et toutes qui avec le coeur entier luttent pour les Droits Fondamentaux pour les humain(-e)s indépendamment de leur gender).
    Ce que Pooja Chopra a survécue, vaincue et ce qu’elle peut aujourd’hui (et veut!) s’engager dans la cause qui doit être à gagner IMMÉDIATEMENT, peut être seulement la chose positive et l’avantage – et ce pour toutes les Femmes. Et vous, vous stigmatisez celle qui agit: et stigmatisez car… elle a les moyens pour ça, et parce qu’est connue. Quelle petitesse, je dirais…! N’est-ce pas l’auteure de cette démarche une ennemie de l’actrice elle-même…? Car tout semble tellement incroyable, que je ne trouve pas d’autre explication. BEURK.

  45. Emily permalink
    April 4, 2013 3:52 am

    The way this question was worded leaves it very open to interpretation. It’s worded in a way where there appears to be no correct answer, but judging by the authors apparent shock at the responses, clearly there WAS a correct answer. It’s unfair to make a question so open to interpretation, and then be shocked by the responses. The “yes” answer does not mean that there is any less value given to the lives of those girls, it simply means that it is okay to use a successful and well known celebrity as a role model to try and get a point across to otherwise uninformed people. The way the answer is worded even shows this, “Indians see their children as economic investments! So we need to give Indian parents economic incentive to not kill their girl children, by using successful, famous, wealthy women as role models.” That is a perfectly valid reason, it doesn’t mean that those who do not become successful are any less valuable as human beings, it’s simply giving Indian parents an example with which to start, which hopefully will then lead to a better understanding that all life is valuable, but it needs to start somewhere. I find the authors shock rather insulting, when they are the one(s) who worded the question so ambiguously.

    • April 4, 2013 7:35 pm

      Well most projects in India actually give economic incentive. The government tells families, if you don’t kill your daughters after birth, you are entitled to such and such amount of money. But it doesn’t work. People take the money and kill the child anyway.

  46. Marilyn Duffy permalink
    April 4, 2013 4:17 am

    I agree with Jodi-Ann in that if you have a well known person raising the awareness of this atrocity, then maybe more people will stand up and take notice. Her fame is no reason to save the baby girls, but her fame may have an impact on who listens to her story. The majority of us don’t get that much attention from the media. And it is awareness that is needed. If it takes a celebrity to stand up and say “this happened to me”, more people will hear about it. In answer to the poll, I really take both sides.

    • April 4, 2013 7:34 pm

      But that has already been done. And the killings get worse. Look at it this way: If a prominent, world famous Jewish person like Einstein was held as a Jewish role model, would it have stopped the Jewish genocide in Europe? Or would this have worked for any other genocide? Why do people assume that’s the way for the female genocide? We really are trying to figure this out.

  47. Phil Ginn permalink
    April 4, 2013 4:31 am

    These discussions are all interesting. But consider the hatefull intent of a murdering mother or father who indulge in the making of the baby, then kill the utterly defenseless child because that child isnt quite what they want. The entire Indian race will be ashamed of this world opinion, that they are child murderers, and any attempt to get the attention of the murderers is a positive step, as would be reporting them, and making them public and subjected to a life sentance, castrated and financially ruined. I am not sure if decent people would want to have anything to do with such people, or deal with them, or buy phones from them and so on. So come on India, get this sorted. These children have a right to life from conception, their own life and choices, NO ONE ELSES.

  48. April 4, 2013 4:49 am


  49. April 4, 2013 4:56 am

    It is Insane for a country to devalue girls and kill them! I have no faith in humanity when I hear this and really there are no pro’s or con’s to this argument! A human life is valuable and has every right to be here whether male or female! After all-who gave birth to these males-women of course-their mother’s! Do they want to wipe out all of the future mother’s and have only males in their country! Until people of all nation’s speak out and demand action this despicible practice will continue!

    • Tamara Gregg permalink
      April 15, 2013 6:16 am

      We should have faith in the people who are trying to change these situations. Have faith in yourself as well because we are humanity also.

  50. April 4, 2013 4:59 am

    Its not a case of wealth and whether there is the question of a rich person doing the killing. Its a question of morals which are guided by Human rights legislation. Poojah’s father should be shamed and subjected to the full rigours of the law. Just because he now has a wealthy daughter does’nt mean he has improved morals. The message that killing is wrong is prevalent in religious teachings and in law and any means of conveying this to the masses should be used.What importance has wealth in such cases where killing of daughters or sons is being done whether for wealth or any other reason. killing is wrong and cant be justified for any reason.

  51. S.Hamilton permalink
    April 4, 2013 5:56 am

    This question is phrased poorly. It is written in a way that means I either have to agree with you completely, or support the use of children as “economic investments”. I don’t support either option.
    Yes, I think women like Pooja should be used as an example. But not for the reasons mentioned. She gives a face to the abstract concept of a woman successful in her own right. It’s hard to say that women are people as well, and capable of all the things men are, without pointing to someone, and being able to say, see, I told you so! She is a woman who followed her dreams. The fact that she became wealthy as she did it should not have to take away from the fact that she has the potential to be an inspiration for many.

  52. April 4, 2013 9:08 am

    As stated in the article the rich abort but what is not mentioned is that the poor abuse their girls, who are sold to pimps or forced to work as domestic servants for the middle-class. Projecting a wealthy woman as a model is not a good idea in this context: India. What we need is values-based education and not the kind of education we have in India: where the purpose of education is seen to be all about getting a job.

  53. April 4, 2013 9:17 am

    No, I don’t believe that Pooja should be used for this purpose. We can all type OUR feelings on this subject, but all the words in the world are not going to bring change to a society that has strong prejustice against a gender. The 50 million missing campaign has the right idea in relaying OUR feeling to those of importance .They are the ones who need to look @ what the world thinks and how we perceive them for letting such heinous acts to happen.Then again they really don’t care what the world thinks. They need to bring a strong conscious effort to the ones doing the wrong. But in true reality sadly these people do not value a girl’s life or life it self. If they did this would not be happening in the first place.
    I too have read some of the stories here how mothers will be the ones who kill the daughters before the father does it. Because she knows this is going to happen anyhow. How sad that she cannot see herself in that child and find a way to save her so she may pass on a grandchild. But their society has accepted this as norm for so many years and no one has step forward to change it. As Nancy Pearl put it” we can’t seriously think we can reason with males that have such insane idea of the importance of their status.”

    • Catherine Priestley permalink
      April 4, 2013 1:28 pm

      Gosh Kitty your comments make me feel like there is no is all hopeless and we have to hope that the leaders will embrace human right skills. I wish they would but from my understanding the Govt members of countries such as this have not got the same values that those in the West normally have. Plus they are usually in the job for what they can get out of it for themselves and their family and friends.
      Imagine if the people of Egypt had waited for Mubarak to announce liberalisation.. would it have happened without the people movement? So any way that the people of India can be educated via TV and Poona and people like her who are perceived to be of a higher echelon… great .. go for it. Meanwhile lobby government and get the UN involved. Let’s not leave any stone unturned because of our own usually limited perspective or point of view.
      As Churchill once said to someone who did not agree with him…’ You are right from your point of view, but your point of view is wrong”. I think you are right from your point of view but you are limiting it to your value system.

  54. Arthi Shanand permalink
    April 4, 2013 11:08 am

    A child’s right to life is not measured by wealth and success. Each one of us has taken birth according to our various past karma. We are not able to choose the family that we want to be born into. Let us live and work on improving our karma so that we do not have to be born on this earth again. Arthi Shanand, Durban, South Africa

  55. Margaret Bruce permalink
    April 4, 2013 11:41 am

    In the 2 countries in the world with the largest populations,China and India, infantacide and gendercide have unfortunately become culturally “normanlised”.With the horrendous attack on the young woman in India, these practices are being brought to the fore and the world has finally opened it’s eyes and been made aware.Talking about human rights and how things should be is fine, but nothing will change unless a strong Goverment implements a change in the culture of it’s people through education, non corruption and strong laws to prevent this ever happening again.People power can help make this happen so get behind an Indian woman whether she be high profile or from the village, they need your support.

    • Isabelle permalink
      April 4, 2013 4:12 pm

      Couldn’t agree more.

  56. seema madan permalink
    April 4, 2013 1:08 pm

    the question here isnt financial security of women as incentive for sparing poor lil girls from being killed. This problem is deep rooted in society and I feel women empowerment is one way to curb this trend. If women feel there daughter will have a secure and happy life they will be able to stand up for the rights of their daughters.Wealthy and famous people may have a greater impact on society than an unknown face.Maling women believe that women empowerment is real thing will lift their status in their own eyes. Domestic violence is prevalent even in wealthiest of families.Why??? Women dont speak for thier rights. If a women cant stand up for herself how will she protect herself.On the other hand other group which believes that son would bring fame to family need to be taught that daughters are no less than sons.

  57. Lucy permalink
    April 4, 2013 2:30 pm

    I thought the Campaign Against India’s Female Genocide was about raising people’s awareness and unitng them to fight for girls’ right to live more efficienly.
    Why can’t the rich and the poor and the middle class go hand in hand? Everyone who wants to support the campaign should be allowed to speak up, no matter if they’re celebrities or ordinary people, women or men, Indian, Chinese or any other nationality.

    And about role models – the best ones are the ones chosen by people, because they know who they need and who they want to follow. Creating a role model, allowing or not allowing someone to become one might be a bit manipulative, don’t you think?

  58. Anne-Marie Dheere permalink
    April 4, 2013 3:17 pm

    Nobody has the right to kill someone for whatever reason they may think. We are all born under the sun equal, regardless of our gender.

  59. Shubham permalink
    April 4, 2013 3:53 pm

    Hari Bol everyone!
    I am Shubham from India. Some people think that Religion forces girl killing. I want to make it clear that abortion is very bad thing according to Vedic religion. You should join for discussions.
    Women and men are simply bodies. We are souls. But yes as man or woman, we have duty and if we fulfill it, we may reach God. Women are certainly different from men. Everyone has different works to do but goal should be one, i.e., to satisfy the Absolute Truth. All women except wife are to be respected as mother, sister, daughter. Abortion is born of irreligiousity to escape a burden to raise a girl.
    Real religion never promote women killing. In previous wars, warriors were taught to not hurt women at all.
    I hope you understand.

    • April 4, 2013 7:29 pm

      Shubnam — the killing of females both infants and widows has been sanctioned in ancient Hindu texts. That is why our focus is human rights. There is no two ways about whether or not the right to life is a universal human right.

  60. Sharon Harvey permalink
    April 4, 2013 5:21 pm

    I think you have lost focus by worrying too deeply about the morality of using Pooja. Ask any communications guru how to best get the attention of a mass audience. By using a familiar face, a celebrity, etc. to deliver a personal message is way more successful with more traction than many other campaigns. Do whatever it takes to end this tragic genocide!

    • April 4, 2013 7:28 pm

      No we are not questioning Pooja here. We are questioning what motivates a society to pick a group of people and systematically annihilate them. What is the “morality” issue there? The female genocide — both the killing of girls and women has got worse and worse. Do you think using a high profile Jewish person would convince German society not to exterminate the Jews?

  61. Hasina B permalink
    April 4, 2013 7:25 pm

    I would definitely choose option one. Why should a females life be something to benefit from? ANY human being deserves to live rightfully. Female infanticide is a crime, and a result of a psychologically dysfunctional mad man.

  62. Andi permalink
    April 4, 2013 8:47 pm

    What we really need is people to see people’s lives and rights to life differently full stop. We need to break this whole cycle of “you’ll benefit if you do this”, “you’ll benefit if you do that”. That misses the point of humane treatment entirely. People are not useful and to be used. They come into the world to make it better in ways we can not foresee or grasp. With that idea alone, people have to see the value of not killing other people male or female. “Everyone” who comes into this world has the right to live it out. Otherwise, one is just saying one female is more worthy than another, or men or more worthy than women. Break wrong thinking.

  63. John Schranz permalink
    April 5, 2013 1:59 am

    There is no doubt that no other value could ever be placed on the most fundamental human right of all except that most fundamental right of all – the right to live. There is no sense in putting any sort of evaluation on the human right to live, because doing so would be making that right a commodity, something one could exchange for some other “thing”.

    On the basis of that alone, evaluating a human being’s right to live in terms of the potential s/he has would be utterly nonsensical. On the basis of that, therefore, I would give a “no” answer to your question as posed.

    Giving such a “no” answer, however, would unfortunately mean that one is not aware of the immensely mediatic life we human beings have designed for ourselves. Prague philosopher Vilhem Flusser, in his stupendous book “Towards a Philosophy of Photography”, argues that the apparatus (and that is a crucial word in his book, having several metaphoric and literal layers of meaning) of the image industry has “weaned itself of human volition”, adding that “human volition has volatised”. The way people are so easily (and I am tempted to say “facilely”) ruled by the force of the mediatic, technical image, marketing industry is terrifying.

    In the terrible light of this, therefore, I feel the need to qualify my “no”, while at the same time definitely sticking to it.

    I would insist on a “no” answer, but I would add that a creative campaign abounding in absolute respect of the INTRINSIC value of the right to live as a value that can not be evaluated in any other term other than itself will need to be designed, replacing the facile and counter-productive campaign which utilised Pooja Chopra.

    Not to do that would amount to choosing to ignore the tremendous force of the Image Industry. Doing that, would be utterly ostrich-like, burying one’s head in the sands in the face of THAT OTHER terrifying reality – that of our being at the mercy of the very images we create … images which we create for them to serve us in our need to grapple understandingly with that which is around us.

  64. April 5, 2013 5:10 am


  65. April 5, 2013 6:39 am

    The germans had separate camps for the wealthy ,the industrialists ,and scientist jews where they kept them till it became evident they would lose the war and were no longer useful to them ,they killed them rather than ransome them even that is how deep their hatered lies. These men could sell their women to brothels but no they kill them.. I don’t remember the young woman’s name who was a model from Africa who fought for making female casteration a thing of the past,she made a lot of people of a practice most in the western world were not even aware. These womaen from India could be able to make the rest of the world aware of what is going on , that is a good idea. But don’t trust their precious lives there in India as haters hate that is what they do and they can not be trusted when they are anywhere least of all with their shame held out in front of the world . The women should know it would be like Mrs. Botha going back to Pakistan ,they would not be able to ever go home .

  66. Debs permalink
    April 5, 2013 6:40 am

    If we use Pooja as an example to get through to such ignorant people, which the normal argument of every-human-has-a-right-to-live may not have the same impact as, perhaps we can at least achieve the aim of lowering femal infanticide, despite using the “flawed” argument that girls should be saved only due to economic equality??

  67. April 5, 2013 9:28 am

    I think we should address the cause of the disease…..true killing of female child is immoral…but the question is why they are so unwanted….the answer is deceased society…it is a sort of challenge to raise a girl child in such a sick society….anti-feminist rituals rob away the self esteem of girls…so the utmost efforts are needed to change the mind set of society, so that the girls get their due respect…the laws are made not to follow them….how many times we hear that a raid is done on a ceremonial function where dowry(in the form of cash and kind) is being given and taken blatantly….the law is enforced only after the the bride is killed…I wonder even the most law abiding people fear society but not laws….

  68. April 5, 2013 1:00 pm

    What the question -no matter how phrased – has achieved is getting the knowledge of gendercide in India out to the masses via social networks. The more international responses on here the more chances of increasing pressure on Indian politicians to redraft legislation and effect a long term change. It will also act as a deterrent for other countries who may have future intentions of adopting comparable attitudes.

  69. April 6, 2013 12:28 am

    First off, I’m new to your blog so let me start by saying this organization is doing some wonderful work here. Moving on from there, I actually agree with Sharon’s comment above. I think we’re losing focus here on the issue by emphasizing this discussion on Pooja and what her avatar in this campaign signifies rather than figuring out how to help her help the campaign. I can think of three reasons why such campaigns can make a huge change like many other campaigns that take on big issues. 1. To address sections of the society that have a high hand aka most impactful, most powerful hand in influencing the people that commit these crimes or 2. To create a general awareness amongst the public where the voice of the public led by key nodes or strong advocates / activists can gather a crowd big enough to ruffle a few feathers at different places in the society and govt. to create change. 3. Utilize both powerful / popular people in the community as well as the general public to raise funds to contribute to the safety, hygiene and well being of the girl child.

    I think the Pooja campaign falls under all of these categories. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that Indians are crazy about their Bollywood and fashion icons. I mean they sell stupid ink gel pens and detergent powders on TV to make us dumb tube tied folks buy those products. Clearly there is a reason this strategy works for advertisers or clearly a reason they are pursuing this. Pooja clearly has the fame and the power to reach the public as well as people in powerful positions that can help influence the section of the society that commit these crimes. Pooja also becomes a spokesperson in the process to create awareness on this topic, especially given her history. Awareness, I think, is the #1 step towards creating change and instigating the public. Until I read your blog I had no idea this happened in rich sections of our society. And lastly, she could potentially become the face of a campaign that can help raise money. Who better than someone who’s personal history is proof enough of why she’s there. I would ask why are we biasing against her just because she’s rich and famous.

    Having her help the cause is not about using the rich to convince the section of the society that kills, to not kill. Such campaigns are about reaching the right pockets that influence the nodes that can reach those criminal sections of our society. It’s like a strategy game .. so to speak. Bad Bad analogy in principle but the analogy helps with demonstrating the connections here – so pardon me!

    I’m not criticizing this campaign by any means – I absolutely have no clue about the work here as I’m a newbie. I’m beginning to read up and clearly want to contribute but a thought to consider aka my 2c – this campaign needs to hit the right group of people, influencers and everyone Malcolm Gladwell lays out in his Tipping Point. Figuring out who the right people are to energize the public and unite them under this cause and focusing on the right set of actions to make this successful at any cost, is probably the most essential route to success here (as in most campaigns!).

    Just a quick note: I’m appalled by how few of these comments are from fellow Indians. There’s 10s of 1000s of bloggers out there from India .. at least it’s growing. And to see a handful of us responding here is kind of pathetic. I really hope this campaign already has a mass Indian following and I’m actually one of the ignorant ones that just jumped on board. 🙂 Good luck!

  70. Tanvir Khan permalink
    April 6, 2013 4:35 pm

    I totally agree with Crunch. In fact, you’ve taken the words right out of my mouth. This whole Pooja issue has relegated the actual problem to the back burner. To sum it up, who better than Pooja to highlight that this disease is rampant in all classes and is not just limited to the poor uneducated masses, as most of us tend to assume!

  71. Val Roberts permalink
    April 9, 2013 4:42 am

    No one has the right to murder.

  72. Sharon Wasyliw permalink
    April 9, 2013 4:43 am

    As a fighter for Women,’s Rights, what has been happenning in India for generations is an outrage! It’s high time to stop the killing of girls! Pooja’s mother is a hero to me.

  73. Steph Prior permalink
    April 10, 2013 11:22 pm

    No you shouldn’t need to use a wealthy model. Nobody can look at a baby and predict it’s fate and it’s not relevant anyway. The problem seems to be that the wealthier someone is the less moral judgement, love and humanity they have! That’s why richer people are more likely to murder their babies than the very poorest!

  74. April 23, 2013 1:56 pm

    I have a suggestion I don’t know if it would be possible but I think if we made a petition to Peter Lorre the creator of “The Big Bang Theory” it might help,as the most talked about Indian in the United States these days is the character of “Raj” on the show I think they need to do a story line on this subject The television show “Mash” was a comedy which sometimes dealt with problems ,I think that the character’s of ‘The Big Bang Theory” have a unique opportunity to get this problem ,talked about over every dinner table and in every school and office in America and in every country where it is shown. I think that the charateters are well enough established to take this on.I don’t of course know if they would ,but I think it is worth a try.I know you have reservations about using celebreties to get the message out there,I think what ever works ,to get the funds you need to help these girls and women is not something that they will argue to long about.They just need help as they are dying of this all the time .I am also sure their are many middle and upper class male Indians who would see it and it would make a dramatic impact upon them if their hero,as he does now have a sister Preia(?) that he love ,cares about,and respects.The father character is a ob/gyn the story line could come through him of perhaps a female scientist or just a little girl,I don’t know .

    • April 24, 2013 12:00 am

      The poorest 20% of Indians are the only ones with a normal gender ratio. The wealthiest 20% have the worst gender ratio. This is not about need.

    • April 24, 2013 11:22 am

      I was under the impression that these women and children when you are able to rescue them ,need some where to stay ,and be taken care of,that costs money. I also thought that many of these women and children were in need of medical care which costs money. The rescuers which it sounds like you need an army of cost money. The ability to protect some of these women like the ones being killed for honor killings or as widows ;if you could intercede ahead of time it would take money.I know the minds of men and women must change,but the injured and scared now need to now without thinking twice where to go for help advertizing costs money. Why you don’t think this is about needs I really don’t know ,nor do I agree.

    • April 24, 2013 1:02 pm

      Sarah: Before we answer that can we please request you to read this article and give us your feedback on it. There is a lot of misinformation that has been put out there we are battling with.

    • April 24, 2013 11:57 am

      That’s an excellent Idea, perhaps Dev in Coronation street could have a friend who he visits in the UK with involvement of this topic within the storyline. . This would get the message to many UK viewers, Likewise Eastenders could introduce a plot which brings this topic into the public domain.

  75. April 23, 2013 2:12 pm

    I want to say also that I do’not believe using women who are wealthy and successful,will stop the monsters who do this .Their motive is greed.The idea that this would be some sort of way of saying that we a also putting a price on the lives of girls shows a real cultural divid .In America we use celebraties to get attention to a cause ,because celebraaties get attention.We use them to get attention for all kinds of products form ale to zoos and everything in between.Our hope in using women celebraties is not to show ,your daughter could be like them ,but to say give us money ,now that I have your attention give us money , give us money so we can help.I also think that lambasting your supporters motives is not the way to retain their help.People help because it makes them feel good to do so. Making them feel bad about helping will not make them feel good ,and they may stop helping.Is that what you really want? You really only want people to help support this cause if their motives agree with yours? I can tell you right now if that is what you want ,you will get it .Who will suffer because of your inability to work with people you don’t agree with.The people you are tring to help will be the ones to suffer.

  76. April 23, 2013 2:39 pm

    This is for Tim Mullen ,the Nazi kept many celebretie Jews alive at a separate camp from the others till the tide of the war turned against them.As for not knowing what was goingon, there were over 50,000 camps ,people would escape and tell their neighbors what was going on ,it was so horrific they chose not to believe it.Then there wwere the people running the camps and trains and chasing the jews this took thousands of people ,German people ,they knew,but what could they do once they did know? This is much the same in India,if the law is not with you then,even if you know what can you do,or you will become a target also.I have read the reponses and do not agree with your acsessment of the numbers.Most felt that any way to get the help was worth a shot,that the people doing this are not the target of the campaign .It is forgetting these females assitance to get out.They need a viable alternative and the only thing that will give them that is money and lots of it.You want a postr child a mascot.You need each and everyone of them you can get.Rich and poor , celebratie and not even born yet .

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