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Submitted by Evan Davis (Tucson, AZ)

A mother in India gives life to her twin daughters despite immense adversity

When Mitu Khurana found out she was carrying twins, she could have easily joined millions of other Indian women and gone for an illegal sex determination test to ensure they were sons. Daughters are a disaster for families in India, because when they grow up, they join their husbands family upon marriage and take with them years worth of income in the form of marriage dowry.

But Mitu was a pediatrician, and one of two daughters of her father, who had no sons. So maybe Mitu grew up with a different idea of the value of girls. Whatever the reason, when Mitu’s husband and parents-in-law insisted she get an illegal ultrasound to ensure she was carrying boys, Mitu refused.

Mitu was locked in a room for three days with no food. When she still did not relent, her husband and in-laws, who knew she was allergic to eggs, devised a plan. They gave her a cake, made with egg, and when Mitu became ill, took her to a nearby hospital. They convinced the doctor to perform an ultrasound under the guise of ensuring her kidneys were not damaged by the episode. The doctor delivered the news they were most afraid to hear: the twins were girls.

A violent campaign ensued to convince Mitu to abort the girls and try again for a son. Mitu held her ground. After an argument, her husband, in a rage, pushed Mitu down a flight of stairs. Mitu was then locked in a room, hurt and bleeding, in hopes she would miscarry.

But Mitu was determined to give her twin daughters life. She managed to escape to her parents house, where she lay ill for months. Finally, the twins were born, though two months premature and very sick. Mitu fought, without concern for the raging war against girls being waged in the culture around her, and won the battle for life.

Because Mitu is a champion. Mitu went on to be the first woman in India to challenge the practice of female feticide in the courts. Mitu filed a complaint against her husband and the doctor and hospital that performed the illegal sex determination test.

Mitu chose to give life to her girls six years ago, at an extreme cost to herself. Despite threats on her life and that her girls will be taken from her, Mitu has fought her case. Despite courts that have refused justice and a nation that continues to kill unborn girls at a rate of one million a year, Mitu has endured. Despite a culture that supports the devaluation and abuse of women, Mitu has stayed the course.

Because Mitu not only wants to give life to her girls. Mitu wants to give them a future where girls are valued and loved; where they will not face the injustice she has endured. Mitu is fighting for hope for the women of India.