The Indian government has announced that 63 million females are missing from its population. About 2 Indian females go missing across all age groups because of abortions, diseases and malnutrition.
As in China, Indian societyprefers men to women. Many families would rather have a son than a daughter. This can be seen in the country’s birth statistics. For every 1,000 males that are born, there are only 940 females, which is much lower than average in many countries. According to population experts, there are about 21 million unwanted girls in India, females whose parents actually wanted a son.
Although testing for the gender of an unborn child is illegal, it still happens in many areas.
In Indian society, not only low-income families in rural areas prefer having a son instead of a daughter. In upper-class families, sons carry on the family tradition or take over the family business. While land and propertypass on to a family’s son, many parents have to pay a fee, called dowry, when their daughter marries.
Social problems also arise in Indian society. Girls are often treated worse than boys. Some families keep on having babies until they get a son. Although the preference for boys in Indian society cannot be ignored, the situation of girls and young women is improving. They are being better educated and have more opportunities in the workforce than decades ago.
abortion = a medical operation that kills an unborn baby
according to = as said by …
although = while
announce = to say officially, in public
arise = come up; emerge
average = normal, usual
decade = ten years
fee = amount of money you have to pay to someone
gender = being male or female
government = the people who rule a country
ignore = to pay no attention to something
illegal = against the law
improve = to get better
low-income = if you earn very little money
malnutrition = when someone becomes ill or weak because they have not had enough to eat
opportunity = here: the chance to get a job
pass on = to give to someone else
population = all the people who live in a country
prefer = to like something more than something else
property = land that you own
rural = in the countryside
society = people in general and how they live together
take over = continue; take control from someone else
Many great civilisations in history developed along rivers. Up to now, historians have assumed that one of the oldest civilisations grew on the banks of the Indus River and its tributaries. Now, scientists may have found proof that people settled in the region after the Indus River had changed its course.
Archaeologists and scientists who have been working the region took probes from dried up river beds. They found out that water hadn’t run through the Indus Valley for over 8,000 years. That means that when people started settling in the area about 5,000 years ago there was no river. In addition, some ancientsites were found in the old river bed, which would not have been the case if a river had been flowing through it.
According to experts, the people who lived during that time may have got their water from yearly monsoon rains. There may have also been underground water supplies that they accessed.
Other great cultures used the advantages of a river to bring water to their fields and as a means of transportinggoods throughout the region. That happened in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Historians point out that civilisations do not necessarily need to be near a river in order to grow. In fact, not having a river nearby may have advantages as well because people would not have to deal with regular floods.
access = use
according to = as said by …
advantage = good side of something
Ancient Egypt = old civilisation that grew along the Nile River thousands of years ago
ancient site = a place where something was built a long time ago
archaeologist = person who studies old societies by looking at what is left of buildings or the objects that people made at that time
assume = think that something is true although you can not prove it
bank = land along the side of a river
course = path
deal with = handle a problem
develop = grow
flood = when an area of land becomes covered with water
goods = products
historian = someone who studies history
in addition = also
means of transporting = what you use to bring things from one place to another
Mesopotamia = area in western Asia along the River Tigris and Euphrates; in ancient times the world’s first cities were built andan advanced civilisation developed there
monsoon = rainy season in India and southeast Asia; it lasts between April and October
not necessarily = when you don’t really need something in order for something else to work
probe = rocks from an area
proof = facts, information or documents that show that something is true or has happened
river bed = the ground at the bottom of a river
scientist = person who is trained in science and works in a lab
settle = to start living in a place for the first time
supply = something that you need and use every day
tributary = a small river that flows into a larger one