‘The Unwelcome’ is an attempt to bring to light the untold horrors of female infanticide routinely practiced in India.
Born & brought up in a family where girls & women were cherished, loved &respected, I was oblivious to this barbarity. Overhearing hushed conversations about the misfortune of bearing a girl child leading to repeated abortions among social circles at a later stage was both surprising & upsetting. But nothing had me prepared for the fact that while there are numerous couples who yearn for a child, some are unperturbed in the choice to kill the newborn just because its a girl.
A strong preference for a male child is embedded in the cultural fabric of India. A boy is considered an asset, a girl merely a liability. Over 10 million girls are estimated to have gone missing over 20 years. An estimated 2000 female foetuses are eliminated on a daily basis.
Denied basic education, healthcare, adequate clothing, nutrition & nourishment is the lot of many a girl child in India. But many just don't make it that far.
To this day, unborn & new-born girls are often eliminated within hours/ days of birth in various parts of India. Prayers and efforts for the next born to be the much coveted & awaited boy commence without a pause.
This gender bias cuts across economic sections of Indian society. What differs is merely the manner of disposal. Self-preservation however is clearly a priority as family & caregivers adopt gruesome, prolonged methods to kill the infant girl to escape scrutiny & detection.
Can awareness and realisation of the terrible fate of the newborn (& unborn) girl child mobilise some action? I hope so.
Each image representing the unimaginable ways multitudes of beautiful but frail lives cut short. The images act as a window to the savagery that exists …a call for action and rejection of the cover of indifference it has thrived beneath.