An Ahimsa Crisis: You Decide ► Some Customs & Traditions In The Jain Community ► Gender Selection In The Jain Community In India

Posted: 12.08.2016

In Indian culture, because of the menace of dowry (from bride’s family to groom’s family) and other factors, the preference for a boy rather than a girl has been prevalent for many centuries. Recently, the technologies of ultrasound and thus the knowledge of the gender during early stages of pregnancy are being used in a significant way by the Indian society at large. What follows from this knowledge is the option to select gender. Here, if the couple decide not to want to have a girl, right away an abortion is performed right there and then in the doctor’s office.

In fact, in some parts of India, mobile units/vans will do the ultrasound in one corner of the van and the abortion in the other corner. I am told that Jains too have been involved in this practice, both as Jain physicians providing the service and as young couples as users of these services. I wonder, how many Jains who always consider of one-sensed Vanaspati/plants and vegetables (what they eat in their thali), ever stop and think that they are murdering five-sensed human beings. This is done by engaging all faculties (mental, verbal, and physical) for himsa which amounts to anutanbandhi or sankalpi himsa. Apart from a gory himsa, this practice is causing a severe gender imbalance within the Jain community also. I have read statistics of 75 girls to 100 boys. This will have serious societal and cultural consequences within the community in the next fifteen years if not sooner. What is even stranger is that there is very little discussion, debate, or movement about this major himsak practice. The show goes on and the community keeps quiet.

Now you decide: is this behavior consistent with ahimsa? 

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