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India, What the Heck?

As countries like India and China rise in their global status and economic power, I wonder if the increased visibility will force them to clean up their act and see that their children are protected.

This headline last week was a harsh reminder of what goes on…

“The father of Slumdog Millionaire star Rubina Ali, 9, is accused of trying to sell his daughter for $300,000 to a sheik.”

rubina-ali-oscarsAlthough I read this in a Hollywood gossip magazine — and many might question the accuracy of the reporting — I did appreciate that a pop magazine brought attention to the fact that the selling of daughters is not an uncommon practice in India.

Girls are trafficked in India for sexual exploitation, domestic labor, drug peddling, begging, adoption and marriage. Some say the price of the girl depends on the color of her eyes and her skin, and a virgin girl goes for a lot higher price. It can seem like a world away, but for some, it is quite close.

Last weekend in the New York Times Magazine column The Ethicist a reader submitted a query about whether he should give money, food or neither to the beggar children in India on his upcoming trip. The reader was concerned that exploitative adults might take the money.

If you saw the film Slumdog Millionaire then you probably remember the child trafficker who tricked the children into thinking they were going to get a promotion. When they arrived for their good news, the surprise turned out to be a cupful of acid poured into the child’s eyes to purposefully blind him or her to make their begging more poignant and profitable.

Records show that maiming a child is just another scam put on by these child overlords to get more money into their pockets.

I have seen these children. They have come up to me with their white milky eyes on the streets of Delhi and have knocked their stumps on my taxi window as I sat devastated staring back at them. It is all quite tragic to think about.

So why am I writing and telling about all of these horrifying things?

I write about this because I feel that the more it is reported and the more we talk about it, the more accountable the countries responsible for it become.

I am by no means saying that our own country, the US, is a grand model for human rights. I’m not wagging my finger. But in my opinion there is a level of global inhumanity that has been going on for far too long and perhaps we have reached a tipping point.

Admittedly, I may just be naïve to think that talking about issues can solve them. But in my heart of hearts I do believe this. With transparency, comes accountability, comes responsibility, comes change.

Your thoughts?

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Tabby Biddle is a writer and editor specializing in helping women entrepreneurs and emerging authors get their message out. Additionally she is the founder of Lotus Blossom Style, a yoga lifestyle company created to support women in their personal transformation. She lives in Santa Monica, CA.

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0 Responses to India, What the Heck?

  1. Lindsay Frame May 8, 2009 at 9:04 am #

    Thank you for that.

    • bajiart5000 June 11, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

      Hi Lindsay,

      Please read my comments as well. I do go on a bit, but I would love your feedback.

      Thanks,

      Baji

  2. greg zukowski May 11, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    Wow, just awful. I heard stories, but not all your described, how do these people live with themselves? Honesty, is their soul dead? How can anyone harm anyone, let alone the innocent. Are there any Human Rights groups taking on this specific area/problem…I wonder.

    • Tabby Biddle May 14, 2009 at 6:45 pm #

      Hi Greg.

      Some human rights groups are on the case like UNICEF, Human Rights Watch and the Coalition Against Trafficking of Women. However it is so widespread and endemic in the culture and economy, that I think it is going to take a lot more than what they are currently doing. I think it is going to take a major legal crackdown along with solid economic reform. It’s the poorest of poor countries that have the highest records of abuses. I know change will come as more and more people get on this case and not only speak out about the atrocities, but create fundamental re-education programs on the treatment of women and specifically eliminate the idea anywhere that a girl or woman is a commodity to be sold or traded.

      Thanks for writing in.

    • bajiart5000 June 11, 2009 at 2:13 pm #

      Hi Greg z.

      Please feel free to comment on my above comments.
      Also visit my blog:
      MaDurga Womens’ Issues

      Not as catchy a name as the Goddessdiaries. But I could change the title of my blog. What do you suggest?

      Baji

  3. bajiart5000 June 7, 2009 at 8:57 am #

    MaDurga — Hypocrites!
    This is what I posted in my WordPress Blog
    entitled: MaDurga Womens’ Issues

    Your Goddessdiaries inspired me to create the above blog and this is my first post and I offer it as also a comment for you.
    Goddess Bless Your Blog!
    Thank you – I really like the name of your Blog as well!

    “India, What the Heck?
    I came across this article from the goddessdiaries.

    Please read the article . It inspired me to start a diary and blog of my own. Dear Goddess Durga. I call upon you.
    I read: “The father of Slumdog Millionaire star Rugina Ali, age 9, is accused of trying to sell his daughter for $300,000 to a sheik.”
    Although (she continues to write in this blog) I read this in a Hollywood gossip magazine — and many might question the accuracy of the reporting — I did appreciate that a pop magazine brought attention to the fact that the selling of daughters is not an uncommon practice in India.

    Girls are trafficked in India for sexual exploitation, domestic labor, drug peddling, begging adoption and marriage. . . .

    O.K. Go to the article and read it yourself if you want to see the rest. http://goddessdiaries.wordpress.com/

    My angst about all this stems from my reading, chanting and meditating upon the Goddess Durga. She is the rescuer of Women — or of anyone in distress.
    Now this Goddess worship and devotion originated in India. How can they in India partake in horrid practices against Women? Women are to be highly reverenced and respected. A woman is considered the Creator of the entire Manifest World and all the Male Gods look to her to kill and destroy the Demons that they (with all their power) cannot. They, therefore call upon Goddess Kundalini — the Mother of Creation (in this form — Durga) to destroy the adversary of the World.
    And, by the Way, in the Siddha Yoga tradition; when practiced, leads one to the permanent experience of the Truth within ourselves. — So many of these things that Goddess Durga is Destroying are the aspects of Greed, Lust, Selfishness, Inhumane treatment of others, Outrageous, OUt of Control Rage and undisciplined Ego. Pride and Fear — the wrong kind of fear. Not the self-protective fear, but useless, self-deluded types of fear.
    O.K. Perhaps you get my point by now.
    I can only say. That I choose to align myself with the Truth. With Unconditional Love to No Harm to myself and others. Surely, these people in India have got to be exposed to the awakening of their Kundilini energy and want to Love and Do Virtuous things. –
    I cannot say enough about this. I am appalled as I said. And I, myself am chanting and practicing Siddha Yoga.
    May the Goddess Lead me into beneficial acts and practices.

    Please feel free to comment.
    Thank you.”

  4. bajiart5000 June 7, 2009 at 9:07 am #

    Another thought I’ve had after reading your answer to greg z.
    is that I think the worst can come out in any of us when we are desperately seeking to supply our basic human needs.
    Poverty is a great enemy to appropriate and kind human functioning.
    In other words. Extreme need for shelter, food and medical care might bring out the worst in anyone.

    So, it seems help would not only be in education, but in providing infrastucture, good food and necessities for healthy human existence.

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