The north and northwestern states of India constitute its lawless "Wild West," an area where political power lies in the hands of organized criminal gangs called goondas. These states are not forgotten hinterlands; they are wealthy, better educated, and close to India's capital New Delhi. These states also have the worst sex ratios in all of India. Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer, authors of Bare Branches: the Security Implications of Asia's Surplus Male Population, discuss 30 years of scholarly research documenting strong correlations between skewed (to favor males) sex ratios and crime in India. A study conducted in 2000 showed that sex ratios are the best predictors of murder rates -- better predictors than poverty, illiteracy, or urbanization.
The danger, violence, and crime in these areas viciously reinforce son preference. Gita Aravamudan, an Indian journalist, who has reported on gendercide since the early 1990's, explains the vicious cycle in her book Disappearing Daughters: the Tragedy of Female Foeticide, 2007. Because the world is so dangerous, the argument goes, girls must be protected against rape and abduction, and this is a task that only males can accomplish. Even then, the risk of dishonor and sexual violence is so great that girls are simply better off never being born. Unfortunately, most people in these regions identify their skewed sex ratios as a response to endemic violence rather than its root cause.
The following article from the New York Times graphically illustrates the situation in northern India and refers to the large number of men without women. Of course, no single crime can be attributed directly to sex ratios. It can, however, be attributed to the extreme devaluation of women that also causes sex ratios to be skewed.
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