While the society, government and the NGO’s have become very active in the wake of increasing number of crimes against women, another social stigma that needs much attention is the abandonment of babies especially the girl child in India. Abandonment of children happens all over the world. It’s not a problem that’s unique to India or Kashmir. However, the recent Justice Verma Committee report reveals that 60,000 children are abandoned every year in India. Unicef, on the other side, pegs the number at a whopping 11 million and has been growing over the years.
Last year, nearly half-a-dozen new born babies, mostly girls, were abandoned in Srinagar. Jammu and Kashmir also recorded a huge decline in sex ratio in 2011 census. The menace of girl abandonment is growing by the fold. With a message to end discriminations against the girl child, Bollywood award winning director Mohan Das is all set to premiere his short film “Muafinaama” or ‘The Atonement’ at the Cinephile 2014 to be held at New Delhi from 18th to 20th September 2014. The film, according to Das, is inspired by the numerous child abandonment cases in Kashmir last year. “It will try to portray the repentance of a man amidst various social and political uncertainties. It also looks at dilemmas and repentance of the protagonist after he fails to save the abandoned child,” Das told Films & TV World.
Muafinaama is about a Kashmiri Pandit guy who falls in love with a Kashmiri Muslim girl and struggles to get her. The film also holds a parallel story line about the increasing menace of child abandonment. The film was shot entirely in Kashmir with local actors and has Umer Khan, Turfat-ul-Ain, Firdous Khan, Azaad Shah, Said Ishtaq and Jahan Zaib in pivotal roles as well as Sandesh Gour and Abhilash Panwar who are based out at Mumbai.
"It might come as a shocking revelation that the Indian Kashmiri society is essentially patriarchal and gives preference to male child. Muafinaama is inspired by the numerous child abandonment cases in Kashmir last year. Through this short film we aim to tackle some serious issues that lack commercial viability in the medium of features. The film is very sensitive and looks into the grave issue of child abandonment, especially the girl child. With this film we want to send out a message loud and clear to those who do such ghastly acts - Stop Dumping! Babies are not garbage,” said Lashyaban who pitched in to co-produce the film.
Through this film, the makers are keen to bring about a social change. “I guess, we need to change our attitude towards the girl child and only this can deter one from taking such a ghastly step as abandoning their girl child. Starting off with Cinephile 2014, we have planned to take the film to various film festivals across the globe. We will be showcasing it at Kashmir in the forthcoming Jammu Kashmir International Film Festival that’s happening next month. Even if we are able to make a few people think seriously on this issue, I think our goal will be accomplished,” signed off Mohan Das.