India is a country 1/3rd the size of the USA with a population exceeding 1 billion people. Majority of the people live in extreme poverty. The hapless Indians bow down to a multitude of gods hoping to find redress from their fear and hopelessness as they try to appease the idols in vain. They worship the cow, monkey, snake, elephant, rats etc. In a large strata of society these animals are given preeminence over human beings, especially girls, women and the Dalits.
In India, amongst Hindus the birth of a girl is often viewed as a curse while the birth of a boy is heralded with much celebration. One of the reasons is because of the dowry system that holds majority of the Hindus in bondage. Dowry is a huge financial undertaking for the bride’s parents, as they have to buy their daughter a husband. Often the girls parents will promise the groom and his parents financial amounts that they cannot possibly meet, just to get their daughter married. They do this because an unmarried woman is viewed as cursed and every woman’s destiny is fulfilled only in marriage. Only too often a young bride is set ablaze and burnt to death by her husband and in-laws because her parents were unable to pay the dowry. This act of murder is performed at home behind closed doors and is passed off as a kitchen accident. (In India kerosene is used as fuel for cooking). The girl’s parents are usually indifferent to her fate, as they believe it was her destiny to die at the hands of her husband. The police and justice department do nothing, as no one ever reports these homicides. It has come to be accepted as a way of life. The women have no option but to succumb to the domination of her husband and in-laws, because often they are not qualified to be in the work force and support themselves.
How do I know this is true and is happening today? I was born and raised in India. A friend of mine was murdered this way. Nothing was ever done for her! Her life meant nothing to her parents, husband or anyone. With tears in my eyes I write that she meant something to Jesus who died for her, but she never knew that she was of value to anyone!!!! Dowry burnings take place all over India on a daily basis.
Women on the whole are considered inferior to men. Newborn baby girls are abandoned right after birth in garbage dumps. Why? Because the baby is a girl! How do I know this? My mother has picked up babies from the garbage. She has scoured the filth to save a soul. Today a number of people work for her scouring the dumps in Agra, searching for precious lives abandoned because of the evil of this religion. Some are murdered by their parents and buried in their back yard. People have unfortunately come up with very creative ways of disposing off their little baby girls. Some little girls who get to live are never really treated like their brothers would be. They are often deprived of food, shoes and education. First the boy’s needs are met, and then if any is left over the girl is tended too. Only too often, nothing is left over. Her parents may well sell a little girl to a man 60+ years for money.
The clippings on female infanticide appeared in one newspaper in the town of Patiala on one day alone. It grieves me to
think of how many more baby girls are murdered or abandoned everyday without any remorse or guilt by those who perform these heinous acts.
Why am I writing these horrendous facts of life in India to you? Because God is good and through these dismal and grievous circumstances He has given us platform to reach out to these hurting women. Mark Anderson Ministries and our partners run a Sewing School in Agra, India where women are taught to sew and can make a living sewing if things get hard for them. We have received wonderful testimonies of how this skill has changed the lives of these girls. We also run a daycare where 65+ girls attend from the slums. Here they are fed clothed, educated and given medical attention. Recently we were able to purchase land to construct Karishma orphanage in Agra. This orphanage will house 30-35 girls.
There was a time when I struggled with sharing the plight of the women in India and brought it to the Lord, hoping He would spare me the pain of talking about it. He however spoke to me saying, “They have been forgotten by their own! Will you forget them too? I will never forsake them!” These words have shaped my resolve that I will never forget them; I will do all I can to bring awareness to their plight and do my part in trying to change it.