Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Female Foeticide, Beed's Dr. Death and motherhood

He reportedly fed the aborted foetuses to his pet pack of dogs. So did a lot of "doctors" in the area.

No. Don't emote as if you were to puke and leave this page. No, not yet. You and me, we have gotten into the habit to conveniently blindfold ourselves to the wretched-ugly-gory facets of life. Hold on just a minute more, please. I promise you won't puke.

So, it has been reported that Dr. Death and his wife (Dr. Sudam & Dr. Saraswati Munde of Maharashtra's Beed region) had an ultrasound and abortion factory that they ran with the help of local goons and corrupt officials. For years and years. They continued butchering even after a sting operation by a local NGO.

It required a woman to die on the operation table (there might be more cases like this, suppressed) when she approached the couple to discard her four-month-old foetus. The woman's family refused to file a complaint and the police decided to (after being pressured and shamed into it by some activists, I suspect) file a suo-motu case.

Because I feel nauseous even as I remember those articles, I will simply link those at the end. But as I have more to say, I request you to read on for another small minute. Please.

My mother cried after I was born. She was scared my grandparents would be upset with the birth of a second girl child. Ridiculously unfounded fears. I know for a fact that my paternal grandmother would never entertain such a sick idea. May be mother herself wanted a baby boy, because when around I was 10, she asked me if I would like a baby brother. I took no second to scream "No!!!" with my wide-eyed disbelief. That was the end of the discussion.

I am glad I cornered her once and demanded why she cried on being told it was a girl. She didn't really say anything as a direct response. But I remember her silently telling me some other time that once when she went for a regular ultrasound checkup when she was carrying me, a woman was waiting to get her female foetus aborted. My mother looked deeply sad and shaken as she recollected that day.

In her typical quiet and mysterious way of withholding herself physically but coveying everything with her silent gestures and eyes, she said, "I would never do that."

Wait. Does that mean someone suggested that mother check the sex of the second child, abort, if it was a girl?

The good news is I am alive. And I am angry. Because millions of pretty, sweet, kind, funny girls (girls are all that and more) like me have been killed even before they are born just because they are girls.

That brings me to motherhood. If and when I become a mother, I want to make up for the harassment I piled on my mother for being the nastiest brat one can ever manage to be. It seems a rather humanely impossible task to be as gentle and patient as she was with a child like I was, but I will try. Baby boy or baby girl. Mine. (Correction: Ours)

End of story. See, that was quick. And no puke.

Now go catch up reading on the doctors who reportedly doubled up as butchers. And puke.

Articles in the Mumbai Mirror, India Today , and read Maharashtra steps up fight
Related essay I wrote for NYTime's journalist and my professor Michael Powell's class.