Friday - - Editor’s Letter - Mri­nal Shekar Deputy Editor mshekar@gulfnews.com

Kanuben Sanghod does not want any more kids. Af­ter giv­ing birth to 18 in 18 years of mar­riage, her protest seems jus­ti­fied. But her hus­band Ram­s­ingh doesn’t want the ‘pro­duc­tion line’ to stop un­til she gives him one more son. Of the 15 sur­viv­ing kids, only one is a boy and Ram­s­ingh is hop­ing that once he has an­other boy, both his sons will shoul­der the fi­nan­cial bur­den of look­ing af­ter this XXXL fam­ily.

While read­ing the fam­ily’s story on page 16, I was ini­tially amazed, hor­ri­fied and com­pletely dis­gusted by Ram­s­ingh’s ar­chaic and chau­vin­is­tic at­ti­tude. How­ever, I later de­cided to keep aside my ur­ban sen­si­bil­i­ties that, quite of­ten, rob us of not only ob­jec­tiv­ity but com­pas­sion too. It is then that I re­alised that poverty and il­lit­er­acy make for a toxic cock­tail. It not only has a cor­ro­sive ef­fect on the dreams and as­pi­ra­tions of those who are caught up in a vor­tex of abysmal fu­tures, but cre­ates a cir­cum­stance of peren­nial marginal­i­sa­tion. Ram­s­ingh is a prod­uct of that tox­i­c­ity and cru­ci­fy­ing him for his be­liefs is like killing the mes­sen­ger, not cur­ing the con­di­tion.

Hav­ing said that, I pity Ram­s­ingh’s un­born 19th. If it’s a girl, she, just like her older sis­ters, will be faced with a life­time of dis­ap­point­ment from her fa­ther. And heaven for­bid it’s a boy. He will have to bear the bur­den of over­sized ex­pec­ta­tions on his young shoul­ders from the day he opens his eyes. Ex­pec­ta­tions that could eas­ily crip­ple his own de­sires and hopes from the fu­ture.

I only hope all of Ram­s­ingh’s chil­dren have the courage to dream for them­selves, and the per­sis­tence to re­alise those dreams, for that alone can save them from get­ting sucked into the black hole of de­crepi­tude.

Let me know what you think. Un­til next week,

POVERTY and IL­LIT­ER­ACY make for a TOXIC cock­tail. It has a cor­ro­sive ef­fect on the dreams and AS­PI­RA­TIONS of those who are caught up in a VOR­TEX of ABYSMAL fu­tures

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