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

L S VishwanathSubscribe to L S Vishwanath

Female Infanticide

Archival records on female infanticide show the different perceptions, colonisers and their 'subjects' had on the issue. Colonial officials characterised it as 'inhumane' and a 'crime'; on the other hand, castes which practised it, usually those higher in the hierarchy, justified it on the grounds that they could not afford the huge dowries or the incalculable marriage expenses having a daughter entailed. British efforts to stop female infanticide or change the social norms that contributed to the practice proved a failure. The failure of the colonial state shows the resilience of institutionalised norms to which female infanticide was related and about which little still remains known.

Female Foeticide and Infanticide

The scholars who have commented in EPW on the revelations of the recent 2001 Census in regard to child sex ratios in the 0-6 age group in Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh (Ashish Bose, May 19) and Mahendra K Premi, May 26 have drawn attention to what seems obvious, namely, that since migration is minimal in this age group, the adverse female sex ratios point to endemic female foeticide and infanticide in these states. The statistics provided by Premi on age-specific death rates in the 0-4 and 5-9 age group by sex for the years 1986 to 1994 for India and the states show that except Himachal Pradesh, the three states mentioned above, namely, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and also Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, have for the period covered a much higher mortality of female children compared to males. Since I have used archival sources and census data (till the 1931 Census) to study female infanticide in Gujarat and north India during the 19th century I would like to offer some comments.

Efforts of Colonial State to Suppress Female Infanticide-Use of Sacred Texts, Generation of Knowledge

Female Infanticide Use of Sacred Texts, Generation of Knowledge L S Vishwanath This paper deals with the use of Hindu sacred texts, namely, the 'shastras' and a 'purana', a generation of knowledge and efforts of the British colonial government to suppress female infanticide in north and west India in the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Peasant Movements in Colonial India-An Examination of Some Conceptual Frameworks

Examining influential conceptual frameworks and typologies of peasant struggles in colonial India and the reality they seek to comprehend, the author contends that it is more useful to study such movements as responses, based on economic, social and political grievances, of different categories of a heterogeneous peasantry divided on caste, class and status lines.

Gujarat Kisan Sabha, 1936-56

L S Vishwanath This paper discusses the role and activities of the Gujarat Kisan Sabha during the period from J 936 to 1956. The first part of the paper deals with the relations of the Kisan Sabha with the Indian National Congress, which is important for understanding the role of the Gujarat Kisan Sabha. The second part describes the struggles launched by the Gujarat Kisan Sabha on behalf of-agricultural labourers, small landowners and tenants, the areas where they were launched and the issues raised in these struggles. Finally, an attempt is made to assess the role of the Gujarat Kisan Sabha during the period under review.

Misadventures in Amniocentesis

Given the income distribution of the urban poor, it is essential that technical innovations suit the needs of different income groups. Starting from very inexpensive means of improving shelter (such as above examples), they could include, for those with relatively higher incomes, a range of building components which are easy to assemble. The emphasis need not be on long-term durability, with regular maintenance, which is the usual practice in habitable condition; also, changing age and family structure as well as income favour some flexibility in the design of houses.
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