Chapter

Female Feticide in the Punjab and Fetus Imagery in Sikhism

Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh

in Imagining the Fetus

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780195380040
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199869077 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380040.003.0008

Series: American Academy of Religion Cultural Criticism series

 Female Feticide in the Punjab and Fetus Imagery in Sikhism

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With a combination of ancient patriarchal values and twenty-first-century globalization exerting social influence, the proportion of baby girls is declining rapidly in India. Ironically, the technological and economic advancements in the Punjab have only exacerbated the practice. Neonatal sex identifications through ultrasound have made gender-selective abortions increasingly easy, though they remain illegal. Can literature succeed where laws are failing? The land where female fetuses are being aborted is also the land of Sikh scripture, the Guru Granth, which resonates with powerful fetal imagery. This chapter examines fetal images within the literary folds of the Guru Granth. The basic premise here is that literature has the capacity to change both conscience and consciousness.

Keywords: abortion; Sikhism; feticide; patriarchy; Guru Granth Sahib; poetry; Laws of Manu; womb; sonogram; androcentric; fetal imagery

Chapter.  8185 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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