Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Remembering 'ma'

Today morning, in a mental state when you are awake but not out of bed, i suddenly remembered my mother. She died some 15 yrs ago-May her soul rest in Peace-.What i was trying to remember was our life in 70s.

My parents were both Doctors, GPs in Mumbai. They had pretty busy but comfortable life. My father died of Heart Attack.At that time my mother must be 53 or so. I had just passed my MBBS and was doing MD. i was staying in Hostel. My sister had moved to USA. At home only my younger brother was staying.

For the next 5-6 years I was pretty busy as resident Doctor. i hardly had any time. Even when off duty i had to stay in Hospital,at most could get 3-4 hrs off to go out,or visit home. It was difficult to spend any quality time with mother. she used to go for movies, outings, long vacations with my father but after his death suddenly she was isoleted and alone. Ofcourse she had her practice where she met people( It was a time when your Family Doctor was part of your family). But for her Social needs there was no one.She was young widow and Social norms of the time did not allow her to go out alone for movie. I dont remember any movie that i might have seen with her. We did go out for vacation together, but mostly it was short vacation to nearby hill stations or to Nashik-Shirdi. She had my other relatives for company but they would go out together for social functions in the family and she was not very comfertable as she was from different community- she was Saraswat from coastal Maharastra married to Guju Brahmin. Those 10-15 yrs must be really hard for her.

Looking back I feel guilty. In those days we were brought up in joint family and we did not have much communication or interaction with parents. Her being busy doctor didnt help as she would be busy in the evening upto 9 pm. We spent most of the time with friends.At home other relatives were there to take care of day to day issues. We had our vacations,outings etc with friends. I dont remember even thinking about how her social life must have changed after my father's death.she loved touring and she did visit Europe and USA for very long 10 weeks. I used to coax her to go for vacation, but it was with other relatives. I didn't have time or inclination to go out on long vacation or tours.It didnt make sense as well for just 3 of us ,with different interests and outlook of life to go for Family Vacation. Besides at that time going out with parents for movie or outings was not very common. Things did change after I got married. We had family vacations,outings etc. but by then she had got used to her life i guess and was very reluctant to join us. --- PK

Monday, November 02, 2009

Punished For Pre.Natal Sex Test

A lower court in Mumbai gave maximum punishment to two Doctors under PNDT Act of 2003. They did not carry out any test to know the Sex of the unborn child. Dr. Tated a Homeopath,advertised in a magazine offering treatment to get Male Child. Other Doctor Dr.Adkar was owner of Hospital where Dr. Tated practiced. This was in 2004 and in their defence one can say that in 2004,most Doctors believed that Diagnosing and revealing Sex of the Foetus was punishable under PNDT Act. Lots of people-Doctors and other Lay people- advised various things to select sex of the child before 'conception'. Pre Conception Sex Selection was also covered under the Act and was punishable was not known to many. Most of these method were con and didn't work is different story. Of those who took treatment, more people got Male child than credit should be given to Nature which selects Male child over female Child in the Ratio of 105:100 at birth. Recent studies have shown that in population where Hepatitis-B is prevalent the ratio shifts in favour of Male Child, and some Environmental Conditions change the ratio in favour of Female child. India's skewed Sex ratio is probably combination of this Natural selection and Social causes where Girl child is neglected after Birth or is killed.

But even in Countries which have no record of Female Foeticide-Sex Selection and Abortion of female Foetuses- the Sex ratio is slowly moving in favour of Male. In China with 1 Child norm ratio is almost 120:100. In U.S.A. also the ratio in many states is more than 110:100.If do Google or Wiki search you will find this is true of most of the states in the World.

So here is my problem. Are we overstating case of Female Foeticide ( Million Girls Lost) ? Are so many Sex selection /Detection procedures are carried out in India today? and Girl Child aborted? Is skewed ratio of 140:107 ( ratio at Birth 131) of Mumbai is due to female Foeticide? I dont think so. It will be almost impossible to find Sonologist doing Sex Detection in Mumbai. mind you cases registered under PNDT Act does not offer any guidance as many cases pertain to not following Administrative aspect of the act like not Prominently Displaying the Certificate and such. There are very few cases of Doctors actually doing Sex detection and Abortions as most of us genuinely believe in the cause of the Girl Child and our Associations are in forefront of this effort.

I think one has also to take into consideration falling Birth Rate. All our data of 105: 100 at birth indicates that at the time of Birth More Males are born than Females. If number of children couple has falls from Median of 5 abt 100 yrs ago to just 2 now, we have to factor this into our statistics. I am not expert at statistics but this may explain why ratio is climbing in countries where preference for Male child and female Foeticide is not carried out ( As in USA). Also important is the total births that takes place. But these are all statistical problems. My concern is that we may be paying more attention to a problem which may not have the magnitude it is projected to be. This money and effort if spent on 1-15 age group female child, we may get better result.--- PK