Srinagar: Shazia was abandoned by her father when she was one because he wanted a boy. Her maternal uncles brought her up. For the 32 years of her life a feeling of inferiority induced by this rejection has been the dominant state of her mind. She should have settled in life by now. Instead, she is suffering from depression and undergoing psychiatric treatment.
“My mother had to pay a heavy price for giving birth to me. My father had made her life a hell, until she delivered a boy,” Shazia told this reporter at the Women’s Mental Health Clinic set up by the department of psychiatry, SMHS Hospital.
Shazia said that she always felt like unwanted burden on her uncles, who had families of their own.
Neither her father nor the uncles are ready to bear the cost of her marriage. Given the curious dynamics of marriage market in the Valley, it would be difficult for her to find a match, as she is only class 10 pass and the discord between her adoptive family and her father will work to her disadvantage.
Dr Sabreena Qadri, Registrar at the Clinic said, “I have put Shazia on some medication which will ease her depression. Counselling only her will also not work. I tried to contact her father and uncles but no one is willing to come forward.”
On an average, Sabreena says, three such cases of ‘child abandonment’ are received by the clinic.
“The number of such sufferers might be higher because our clinic is new and not many people are aware of its existence,” she added.
A few girls who had been rejected by their father or grandparents had taken to drugs, Sabreena said.
“I came across a curious of a girl who had been disowned by her father. She behaved like a boy. Her hairstyle would be masculine. She would play cricket with boys. She behaved like this to get attention which she felt was never given to her as a girl,” she said.