I am touring some of the remotest villages in Maharashtra and further south for my assignment. Yesterday, I had taken appointments with a couple of doctors at the village dispensaries and also hoped to meet up with the mobile health care people touring these parts. The doctors had all promised cooperation and most importantly, facts. Everything seemed to be going as per the schedule and I was sure that I would be able to finish everything that I intended to do by the end of the day, until I went for my second appointment.
I was asked to wait outside for a while by the doctor, as she was attending a patient. I waited for around 20 minutes when I saw the woman leave, escorted by the doctor, as she was howling. I was not sure what to do, so I waited for sometime longer. The doctor spoke to the lady for another couple of minutes and when she returned, I saw her face was flushed. She called me in.
Before I could ask what was wrong, she started talking, very angrily, almost shouting. The story shocked me. The woman, who had just left, has a nine month old baby girl. She had suffered from severe malnutrition during her first pregnancy and she was just 18. The doctor had asked her not to try for a child for the next two years for it could affect her very adversely.
Since no one at her in-laws was happy at the birth of a girl child, they had forced her to get pregnant a second time, inspite of the severe, even fatal consequences. And now they wanted her to go through a gender determination test for the foetus, so that they could abort it, if it was a female child. At this, she had pleaded for reason from her husband and in-laws. But all of it had fallen to deaf ears. She had been threatened that if she didn’t go through the test and delivered a female child again, she would be abandoned with her two girls and her husband would remarry.
I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say and just kept staring at the doctor. I was too shocked to get back to work and my whole schedule went for a toss. The world that I see out here is so different from where I come that I sometimes don’t know how to cope with it. I urge all you people out there, spare 2 minutes of your time and vote for stricter laws against female foeticide. Log on to log on to www.laadli.org or sms LAADLI to 575758 to pledge your support. Be human and give the unborn girl child a chance!