She was just 15 when she was married to Ramsinh Sangod. Since then she has not taken a break and have repeatedly produced children every year for Ramsinh. India is known for it’s patriarchal society and the quest for the male child is never getting quenched. No matter how hard the Indian government launches schemes like “Beti Bachao, Beti Padao” or the #Selfiewithdaughters thingy, there are some people who stick on to their own beliefs consciously aware of the package of issues that would come with the bigger family.
Kanu, who is 33 year old feels very fragile to procreate anymore after having given birth to 14 daughters and 1 son. Her husband’s quest for a son has left Kanu vulnerable. After fourteen deliveries, the couple finally had a boy two years ago. To the surprise, Ramsinh wants one more boy who could take care of their daughters. Kanu is nine months pregnant again and hoping she would give a baby boy to her husband and seek a full stop to the cycle of procreation.
Ramsinh is a farmer at Jharibhujhi, a village in Dahod district of Gujarat with no final decision taken yet says, “I have not thought about what we will do if we have another daughter. We are both still young, so we could give it another try,”. He has not made any decision while his wife Kanu says, “My body is very weak and I know it. When I could not bear a son in the first seven pregnancies, my husband threatened me, saying he would bring another woman home. I am an orphan and I did not want to be deserted, so I agreed,”. This is the condition of Indian Rural Women, whose voice is suppressed or it is never spoken aloud.
At first I thought Ramsinh has accumulated enough wealth in order to take care of his dozen daughters; however, it is not what it seems. His youngest daughters Payal, Moni, Hasina and Baigan go to primary school while Hansa, Joshna, Meena and Ranjan look after three cows. Two of his daughters Sevanta and Neeru who are 17 and 15 were married off while two daughters Ovanti and Kali died when they were 2 years old, to this he says, “They fell ill and died, we don’t know what happened,”. With increasing daughters, Ramsinh forced himself and his elder daughters to work in construction sites for money.
The quest for a son has lead all the girls into illiteracy, poverty and vulnerability to many social issues which are inevitable. It is very difficult for a seasonal crop farmer to feed the family of 15 people. Ramsinh says with no stress on his forehead, “When the crop is bad, we travel for months to Madhya Pradesh or other parts of Gujarat in search of work. I take my elder daughters along with me to work at construction sites. Once my son grows up, he will shoulder the responsibility of the family,”.
We hope Kanu give birth to a baby boy and end the bizarre desire for boys at the very moment. Babies definitely bring happiness to the family but we need to be practical and face the cruel reality of our existence, to feed so many mouths given so less financially is painful. “There are many days when we go without food. I have lived through my pregnancies without meals too,” said Kanu who knows the torment of not feeding her unborn child which has its consequences.
India is a land of miracles, incredible facts and home to many bizarre things happening, I do not wonder on this fact anymore. Small family is a happy family, given a chance to your daughters who I know have the un-compared potential to beat the boys in every field can stop this stupidity. At least I am thankful to Ramsinh for not throwing his daughters in trash. People need to STOP producing more children as large families leads to scarcity of everything you NEED; food, water and land, our basic needs. Had he thought of family planning, I bet Kanu and Ramsinh would have been living at good terms with their small and happy family.
Let’s take a pledge on this World Population Day: See a SON in your DAUGHTER, Count them EQUAL, go for Small Family Planning and embrace the Happiness!!