Varun Dhawan-Alia Bhatt starrer 2017 film Badrinath Ki Dulhania touched upon a sensitive topic (half-heartedly) on gender discrimination in India. It referred a boy as an asset while a girl is a liability for their parents since their births. While the film was a comedy, the reality of the situation is dark. In a series of back to back baffling incidents, India depicts its deteriorating mentality. A third-year BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine, and Surgery) textbook boasts of the syllabus on how to conceive a baby boy. Yes, it provides the students with indigenous methods for a pregnant woman to be blessed with a male fetus. This piece of shocking news unearths days after RSS’s health wing Arogya Bharati’s Garbh Vigyan Sanskar project came to light. The ambitious project headlined for the right wing group’s claims of creating customized babies. It lists guidelines like how to be intimate to deliver a stronger, taller, fairer and smarter kid. India, where are you heading up to?
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery or BAMS, is a graduate degree which is awarded after the study of five and a half years duration, including 1-year internship. The medical students have the license to practice medicine in the state of Maharashtra. Yes, they are doctors with legit license to cure you and me. Hence, this news of a syllabus from a third-year BAMS textbook giving rules and regulations on producing a male fetus in a pregnant woman through Ayurveda is mindboggling and scary, to say the least.
So what is the ‘recipe’ to conceive a baby boy? According to the text copied from Charaka Samhita, the pre-2nd Century CE compilation on Ayurveda – “Collect two north facing branches of a Banyan tree (east facing will also suffice) that has grown in a stable, take precisely two grains of urad dal, mustard seeds, grind all the ingredients with curd, and consume the mixture.” There are more techniques of conceiving a male child, which ranges from affordable to expensive ones, after all a boy, is desired all across the demographics and social strata. The costly method to have a male heir reads: “Create two miniature statues of a man out of gold, silver, or iron after throwing the statues in a furnace. Pour that molten element in milk, curd or water, and on an auspicious hour of Pushp Nakshatra, consume it.”
Just in case you are wondering this is the work of a godman whose advertisement you come across daily while travelling in Mumbai’s local trains, you can gut the possibility from your mind. This is an actual part of third-year BAMS textbook enlightening medical students about techniques on how to be blessed with a male child.
Does this method of conceiving of male fetuses have a name? You bet it does. According to the BAMS textbook, the process of creating a male foetus is called `pusanvan’, and any woman who desires a baby boy should be “blessed with the pusanvan ritual” as soon as she gets pregnant. This BAMS syllabus is supervised by the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) in Nashik, and Dr Dilip Mhaisekar. The MUHS vice-chancellor said the BAMS curriculum is decided by the Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy (AYUSH). The former dean of the Dr Shankarrao Chavan Government Medical College in Nanded said that he had written to the Ministry related to the objectionable content and still waiting for the reply.
The controversial teachings and the syllabus in the BAMS third-year textbook were brought to the notice by Ganesh Borhade, a member of the district supervisory board of the PreConception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act. According to the Mumbai Mirror reports, Ganesh who is also associated with the Lek Ladki Abhiyan supervised by advocate Varsha Deshpande was quoted saying, “Doctors with BAMS degrees have a thriving practice not just in rural areas, but also in cities such as Mumbai, Pune, and Nashik. Many people shun allopathy in favour of Ayurveda, and if this is what medical students are being taught, God help this society.”
This shocking piece of syllabus-supporting female foeticide comes a day after Garbh Vigyan Sanskar project of the RSS’s health wing Arogya Bharati gained momentum. The highly ambitious project with the aim of creating Samarth Bharat (strong India) is looking to achieve their objective through uttam santati. What is uttam santati? It is a perfect, “customised child”. No, no, we are not talking about any Hollywood movie. This is for real.
According to the masterminds, the ‘customised baby’ project was inspired by Germany, which they claimed had “resurrected itself by having such signature children through Ayurvedic practices within two decades after World War II”. Dr Hitesh Jani, national convener, Arogya Bharati says, “The parents may have lower IQ, with a poor educational background, but their baby can be extremely bright. If the proper procedure is followed, babies of dark-skinned parents with lesser height can have fair complexion and grow taller.”
What is the guideline of having uttam santati? Three months of “shuddhikaran (purification)” for the parents, intercourse at a time decided by planetary configurations, complete abstinence after the baby is conceived, and procedural and dietary regulations. Dr Karishma Mohandas Narwani, national convener of the project claims that the project “is not an intervention in the natural process” but based on the principles of Ayurveda.
She adds, “Ayurveda has all the details about how we can get the desired physical and mental qualities of babies. IQ is developed during the sixth month of pregnancy. If the mother undergoes specific procedures, like what to eat, listen and read, the desired IQ can be achieved. Thus, we can get a desired, customised baby.” There are repair genes which ensure the genetic defects are not passed on from parents to child and hence a perfect child is given birth.
Every year, numerous records and stats show India to be spending less in healthcare sector. From malnutrition to morality rate of infants and woman at the time of birth, India scores a high in the world. Girl’s education is dipping while deaths due to dowry are soaring high. We get offended at the Snapchat CEO’s alleged remark at being called a poor country. We take offence on being called a ‘land of snake charmers’, but we don’t utter an uff in forcing the same reptile in drinking milk on occasion of Maha Shivaratri for the prosperous lives.
Where does the problem lie? We live in DENIAL. We are a country of 1.2 billion IGNORANT individuals (Let’s stand united as one country, no discrimination here). In our Biology textbook, it was taught – the chromosome of a male ( father) decides the gender of a child – yes, a female (a mother) has no say in it. Is it that difficult to understand the science? So much of hocus-pocus for what?
Let’s admit it India is a male child obsessed nation. No, we are not questioning everyone’s mentality here, but there are many, many of the parents who give a spontaneous smile on hearing – It’s a baby boy than to the smile breaking after a second on hearing – It’s a girl! The skewed male-female ratio, the maddening female foeticide events countrywide to discouraging numbers of girl’s education to her health at the later stages – everything highlights India’s attitude towards a girl child (obviously only if she survives the murder scare in her mother’s womb).