Guide­lines for ex­cel­lent off-spring

Im­pos­ing taboos on ex­pect­ing moth­ers may not have de­sired re­sults of im­prov­ing fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

Alive - - Contents - by Chan­dr­shekhar Shri­vas­tava

Mother is a sym­bol of na­tion­al­ism in In­dia. Moth­er­hood is a dream that ev­ery woman cher­ishes to achieve one day. Abus­ing one’s mother is cer­tainly re­tal­i­ated with force and of­ten vi­o­lence. But proper sen­si­tive­ness and aware­ness are clearly lack­ing re­gard­ing the health of a mother to be.

How­ever, moth­ers who are go­ing to give birth to the fu­ture gen­er­a­tions can be seen stray­ing – like their bovine coun­ter­parts – here and there in search of proper healthy diet and med­i­cal treat­ment, which are con­spic­u­ous by their ab­sence.

These starv­ing preg­nant moth­ers among teem­ing masses, it seems, are even in­fe­rior to cows, which have got state pro­tec­tion un­der the new regime. If it were not so, the Union health min­istry would not have un­der­taken a sur­gi­cal strike on the plat­ter of these would be moth­ers just to im­ple­ment the agenda of the party in power of mak­ing In­dia ‘Hindu-sthan’.

In or­der to ob­tain the pu­ri­fied off­spring of im­proved race, Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Sid­dha and Homeopa­thy (AYUSH) min­istry has is­sued a book­let con­tain­ing sug­ges­tions and guide­lines for the health of preg­nant women and their to be born ba­bies.

In the book­let, ti­tled ‘Mother & Child Care’, the min­istry sug­gests all would be moth­ers to cultivate pi­ous think­ing and ab­stain from Ta­masik (non-veg) food dur­ing preg­nancy. Ac­cord­ing to the book­let, sin­is­ter Ta­masik food is un­fit for hu­man con­sump­tion, es­pe­cially dur­ing preg­nancy, and in­cludes hot spices, fried food, eggs and all types of meat and hence should be avoided by an ex­pect­ing mother.

Such sug­ges­tions defi-

nitely show that AYUSH min­istry is com­pletely obliv­i­ous of ground re­al­i­ties and con­di­tions in which thriv­ing masses sur­vive. At the same time, it seems to be an at­tempt to curb and con­trol the eat­ing habits of the peo­ple ap­par­ently fu­elled by some veg­e­tar­ian lobby that wants to im­pose its agenda of mak­ing In­dia a veg­e­tar­ian coun­try through the cur­rent gov­ern­ment.

What is more, the BJPled Cen­tral gov­ern­ment, which is re­mote-con­trolled by RSS, seems to push ahead its agenda of ban­ning cat­tle sale in the name of pro­tect­ing cow by pub­li­cis­ing non-veg food as harm­ful for the health of preg­nant women and their prog­eny.

In the process, the Ce­nand tral gov­ern­ment seems to have for­got­ten that it does not rep­re­sent only the high caste Hin­dus, who are sup­posed to be strictly veg­e­tar­ian, but is the gov­ern­ment of all the pop­u­la­tion that re­sides across the length and breadth of In­dia.

Is the Union health min­is­ter un­aware that non-veg foods, es­pe­cially eggs, are rich source of pro­tein and iron? Mak­ing such sug­ges­tions sim­ply shows the sick men­tal­ity of health min­istry babus who con­trol it.

Ma­jor­ity of Dalit and tribal peo­ple rel­ish meat and non-veg food. From the north­east to down south, not only tribal peo­ple but high caste peo­ple also con­sume meat and cow meat is no taboo for them. When Mus­lims were be­ing beaten on the charges of eat­ing cow meat, one min­is­ter of State in the home min­istry – who in­ci­den­tally hails from the north­east – had boasted that he was eat­ing cow meat and no one could stop him. And now egg has be­come ac­cept­able food item even among Brah­min fam­i­lies of north In­dia.

Mal­nu­tri­tion and anaemia re­sult­ing from it are ma­jor prob­lems that the tribal peo­ple are fac­ing and strug­gling with in ma­jor parts of In­dia. They are be­ing stripped of their in­her­ent rights on nat­u­ral re­sources like land, wa­ter and forests. In this back­drop, AYUSH min­istry’s sug­ges­tions could be an at­tempt to fur­ther weaken them phys­i­cally and even erad­i­cate them in the end.

The gov­ern­ment gets dis­turbed when sen­ti­ments of high-caste ma­jor­ity are ‘hurt’. But who has given the gov­ern­ment a right to run a cam­paign to change eat­ing habits of mil­lions of tribal peo­ple, Dal­its as well as Mus­lims and Chris­tians? All this is be­ing done in the name of mak­ing a pure and im­proved race of Hin­dus at the be­hest of Sangh.

Var­i­ous sur­veys con­ducted by the health min­istry it­self say very loud and clear that more than 50 per cent of preg­nant women in In­dia suf­fer from mal­nu­tri­tion and anaemia. In such a sit­u­a­tion, sug­ges­tions made by AYUSH min­istry will fur­ther pro­mote mal­nu­tri­tion and anaemia among ex­pect­ing moth­ers and may ul­ti­mately re­sult in mak­ing In­dia a coun­try of mal­nour­ished, ill and weak peo­ple.

One can­not get healthy and ex­cel­lent off­spring by

keep­ing would be moth­ers starv­ing and mal­nour­ished. Chil­dren of such moth­ers can never make In­dia a strong na­tion ex­celling in ev­ery field.

It was needed to ad­dress the row em­a­nat­ing from the book­let. But the Union health min­is­ter brushed it aside by sum­mon­ing a re­port from AYUSH min­istry. Min­istry, too, pre­sented its clar­i­fi­ca­tion on the sub­ject and that was all.

Clear agenda

Still, guide­lines given in the book­let make the agenda clear. It con­tains moral­i­ty­based ap­peals for women, such as nur­tur­ing spir­i­tual thoughts dur­ing preg­nancy and con­trol dam­ag­ing emo­tions like de­sire, anger, hate and sex­ual feel­ings.

These ap­peals cer­tainly aim to douse the pos­si­ble un­rest among women and also to sub­due the dan­ger that In­dia’s male-dom­i­nated so­ci­ety may face from free­dom con­scious mod­ern woman. Any­body who reads these moral­ity preach­ings may be­come con­fused if these are im­por­tant tips for good health of ex­pect­ing mother and her child or sug­gest them to sup­press their nat­u­ral hu­man in­stincts and be­come as­cetic.

Per­haps, the gov­ern­ment which has en­throned so many yo­gis and sad­hvis wants to make all men and women yo­gis, so that mas­culin­ity of na­tion­al­ist Hin­dus does not go astray by fe­male sex­u­al­ity. It may be a con­spir­acy to re­duce a woman’s sta­tus to child­bear­ing ma­chine only; which has no hu­man de­sire and emo­tions. Once make her preg­nant and then ask her to sup­press her sex­ual feel­ings in the name of moral­ity.

Nat­u­rally, health and fea­tures of com­ing baby are supreme con­sid­er­a­tions for an ex­pect­ing mother. The ques­tion is: Why same sug­ges­tions – of nur­tur­ing spir­i­tual thoughts and ab­stain­ing from sex with preg­nant wife – are not given to men? Af­ter all, they too have their share in the com­ing prog­eny.

Even a lit­er­ate per­son may be­come con­fused by this Cen­tre-spon­sored pro­pa­ganda of body-cleans­ing celibacy. An ex­am­ple is the for­mer Ra­jasthan high court judge Ma­hesh Chan­dra Sharma, who made head- lines for say­ing pea­cocks didn’t have sex for pro­cre­ation. Later, he ar­gued that his the­ory didn’t need sci­en­tific ev­i­dence as it was backed by re­li­gious texts.

Hin­dutva pol­i­tics

This is wor­ri­some that the Cen­tral gov­ern­ment is in­dulging in Hin­dutva pol­i­tics for petty po­lit­i­cal gains. In­stead, it should dis­charge its con­sti­tu­tional du­ties of pro­mot­ing sci­en­tific and log­i­cal progress. In the name of un­proven an­cient prac­tices it is pro­mot­ing con­fus­ing and misog­y­nis­tic sug­ges­tions. AYUSH min­istry, which sug­gests ex­pect­ing moth­ers to hang beau­ti­ful pic­tures on walls to get beau­ti­ful ba­bies, per­haps thinks that ugly chil­dren have no place in this coun­try.

Ev­ery­body knows that Aryan bench­mark of beauty is lim­ited to fair skin colour only. Does it mean that peo­ple with dark skin colour are not In­dian? Or are they not as na­tion­al­ist and pa­tri­otic as fair ones? A gov­ern­ment with huge ma­jor­ity has equally big­ger ac­count­abil­ity. It ought to hon­our pub­lic man­date and be­have very cau­tiously while dol­ing out odd sug­ges­tions for the pub­lic good.

But re­gret­tably, the ac­tions of cur­rent dis­pen­sa­tion speak oth­er­wise. It is not only prop­a­gat­ing a spe­cific cul­tural agenda but also es­tab­lish­ing un­sci­en­tific and il­log­i­cal tem­per­a­ments as so­cial val­ues, which may prove very fa­tal for the com­ing gen­er­a­tions. An­other ap­pre­hen­sion is that the gov­ern­ment may soon fin­ish off the mod­ern med­i­cal sys­tem, al­lopa­thy.

Girls be­ing trained in self­de­fence tech­niques.

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