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World Population Day

For A Boy, Forever

Preference for the male child hampers efforts to control India’s population

For A Boy, Forever
All Smiles | Photograph by Getty Images
Women await their turn at a family planning clinic in Bihar
For A Boy, Forever
outlookindia.com
2017-07-08T11:19:04+05:30

Imarti doesn’t want to be sterilised. The 35-year-old and her husband, a farmer from Mukhtiarpur village in Madhya Pradesh’s Morena district, want to have more kids, in the hope of adding a male child to their brood of six daughters and a son. Manoj, a 38-year-old mother of six, including three sons, would understand their predicament. For she too wants more sons in her fam­ily. Manoj and her husband Rajendra are predictably wary of local health workers who pester them with unsolicited opinion on why the woman should get sterilised.

In Uttarakhand, a woman went into depression after giving birth to her sixth daughter and then slipped into coma and eventually died. Her bereaved husband Nirmal married another ­woman and went on to have a son with her. Clearly, the number of male children in a family continues to be a marker of social prestige, more so in rural areas.

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