The Desperate Housewives of Haryana

Gender

The Desperate Housewives of Haryana

Illustration: Akshita Monga

O

nly in Haryana can the campaign call of “Bahu Dilao, Vote Pao” and the Twitter-ready “Selfie with Daughter” exist side by side. In the state that routinely brings up the rear of India’s child sex ratio list (879 girls against 1,000 boys, according to the 2011 census), women are important enough to become election planks – but not important enough to be allowed to be born.

But female foeticide is not a new story in Haryana. It is a generational challenge. So rampant is the problem that lakhs of men in Haryana, for whom there are no brides, have had to form the Avivahit Purush Sangathan or the Unmarried Men’s Union. Their WhatsApp groups reach out to this desperate community of unmarried men, which, according to some estimates, could be as many as 3.5 lakh. The organisation’s long-term goal is to correct the sex ratio, but in the short term, their aim is to promote cross-cultural, inter-caste, and inter-state marriages.

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