178 yrs ago, British fined a Rajkot ruler 12,000 for female infanticide


Saeed Khan | TNN

Ahmedabad: Those who refuse to learn from history have to pay for it. Gujarat today reels under a skewed ratio of 886 girls per 1,000 boys. But things could have been different.
Gujarat and female infanticides go back a long way. In fact, it was 178 years ago — on November 6, 1833 — that the first penalty for female infanticide was awarded in the state when the British fined Rajkot’s ruler, Suraji Jadeja, Rs 12,000 and kept the entire Rajkot taluka attached till he paid up.
Today, cases are pending against 208 doctors for carrying out sex determination tests .
According an account ‘Suppression Of Female Infanticide in the Province Of Kattywar’ by Alexander Walker and JP Willoughby, an inquiry into the Rajkot incident was conducted by political agent captain Lang and reported to Walker, Baroda’s resident. Lang’s report said Suraji’s employees were involved in this incident. Suraji initially denied the charge, saying that the birth was premature.
However, attendants revealed before the inquiry how respiration was made impossible for the newborn by not removing placenta. Lang prescribed exemplary punishment for Suraji so that the evil practice could be curbed.
The British also made Suraji fire the staff that was involved in this incident. Suraji was warned that if another incident of female infanticide happened, it would cost him his estate.

 

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