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Indian government launches campaign to combat ‘rampant’ female foeticide

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 7.48.49 pmThe Indian government has launched a campaign that challenges a commonly held view in India that the value of child is worth less if born a girl.

Three films from India’s Ministry of Women & Child Development, created by advertising agency Grey, each aimed at a different class in Indian society, depict terminating a pregnancy on the grounds that the unborn child is female as murder.

Each of the films finish with a clip from a speech from newly elected prime minister Narendra Modi, who says: “In the want of a boy, don’t sacrifice our daughters. They contribute equally in India’s pride and honour.”

The first of the videos, called ‘Plotting At Home’, features a family at home who receive the results from an illegal sex determination test that the unborn child is a girl.

The second, called ‘Sonography’, is set in a hospital where a mother is talking to the nurses about what can be done if her daughter is pregnant with a girl.

The third, ‘Baby naming’, centres around a discussion between a man and his pregnant wife.

‘The inhuman practice of female foeticide is rampant in our country, in even so called ‘urban homes’, Malvika Mehra, EVP and national creative director at Grey India said.

“It is shockingly par for the course that if there is even an ‘inkling’ of the unborn child being a girl, abortion seems the only ‘normal’ way out. In these three films (cutting across different strata in society), we have tried to ‘arrest this heinous thinking’ to begin with, where the very ‘matter of fact’ approach to killing an unborn girl child is threatened by the fear of strong judicial action. Portrayed via handcuffs in the films.”

“Sometimes nothing works better than a threat,” he said.

All three films are treated in cold colour tones to bring out the dark subject with a colloquial narrative, the agency explained.

Dheeraj Sinha, chief strategy officer, South and South East Asia, Grey India, said: “The loathing against the female child has infested our culture. At a larger level, no one will say they are against having girls, after all we worship women as gods. But in small ways we all indulge in behaviours that are against the female child.”

“A mother asking the daughter to fetch water and not the son, men using women in their abuses, mother-in-laws asking for a son of their daughter-in-laws, eunuchs’ blessing for a son and so on. The issue is deeply entrenched and cannot be solved with just one stimulus. Many macro-level statements have been made and they have done no good. We need to chip at the micro-level behaviour for this change to take effect. One possible way is by equating the killing of a foetus with murder. It brings you face to face with the monstrosity of the thought. It underlines the enormity of what’s being handled so casually in our society”, he said.

Credits:

  • Creative team: Malvika Mehra, Dushyant Chopra, Saurabh Kumar
  • Client Servicing: Samir Datar, Sanghamitra Chakraborty, Preeti Kawatra, Anisha Mukherji
  • Planning: Dheeraj Sinha, Abhishek Chaturvedi
  • Film team: Samir Chadha, Sharad Shinde
  • Production house: Codered films
  • Director: Gajraj Rao
  • Producer: Subrato Ray / Mahi Saini
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