A land where the girl child was / is not valued.\nA land where baby girls were drowned in a pot of milk.\nFor years I had read about it and heard about this social horror and wondered how the mothers could consent to it. But through some literature and bollywood films it became clear that the mothers had themselves suffered so much\u00a0 that they did not want their infant girl child to live such a fate.\nAnd so they participated in the killing of their baby girls out of love \u2013 to spare them the life that lay ahead \u2013 to give them the gift of death that would be easier to bear than the life.\nIt is mercy killing of a different type.\nUnless one has seen the suffering of the these women it is impossible to even fathom this suffering that makes them kill their own sentiments before they kill their baby girls.\n***\nHere is a textile that is possibly the most precious piece of art in my experience \u2013 for it contains the heart-wrenching story of such a mother \u2013 the artist-creator of this village embroidery.\nA tale in which she was forced to watch.\nA tale in which she was helpless and had no choice.\nIt documents her trying to stop her man \u2013 as he clubs the baby girl with the butt of a rifle.\nA scene of apparent female infanticide. A social problem that was rampant in those days.\nHow do we know that this is a female child? All the females in the rest of the piece are wearing a shirt on the upper body while most men are not.\nWho were these people?\nWould it help to know?\nWould they be the only ones in their time to have done this? Could such people be found today?\nSadly the answer is \u2018yes\u2019.\nThis Sainchi phulkari is over a hundred years old. But this social problem continues even today.\nIs the girl child the problem? Definitely not. It is a symptom of the problem that ails some communities / regions. And so addressing the issue of the girl child and female infanticide in isolation is not the solution. To change this, the minds of a whole large community will need to be washed for at least 2-3 generations.\nI am not a social activist and I have not studied it enough to comment further.\nAll I know is that in this textile, I can feel the despair of the woman who made this.\nShe could probably tell no one about this pain as that would mean that she would be getting her family to get into trouble \u2013 and it would result her being turned out by her in-laws family. Uneducated and helpless in a world where women lived only under the protection of men, she was helpless to do anything.\nAnd so in silence she documented her trauma into this Sainchi. Hoping that no one at home would notice her documentation. The men in her home probably didn\u2019t see this scream rendered in silk.\nAnd eventually it found its way into the market. And decades later it found its way to me.\n \nI cry for the little girl.\nBut I cry more for the mother. And all the mothers in India whose screams went unheard.\nPlease share.\njm\nMay 2015\np.s. An analytical note from a friend \u2013 an expert on Phulkaris \u2013 suggests that perhaps this could also be the depiction of a post-partition murder scene driven by religious sentiment. Perhaps more analysis and more interviews with the elders might throw some definitive light on the matter. Female Infanticide \u2013 Documented in The Wovensouls Sainchi Phulkari Textile\nThe post Female Infanticide \u2013 Documented in a Sainchi Phulkari? appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.