The Dossier
No Lust and Non-Veg: The Secret To Successful Pregnancy, Says Govt

No Lust and Non-Veg: The Secret To Successful Pregnancy, Says Govt

CCRYN 's Mother and Child Care booklet via Ministry of AYUSH
Image Credit: Mother and Child Care booklet via Ministry of AYUSH

The Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy (CCRYN) recently published a booklet revealing the ‘secrets’ of a successful pregnancy, advising pregnant women to practice abstinence from lust and non-vegetarian meals, amongst emotions like desire and anger, essentially, as a precursor to the World Yoga Day coming up on June 21, 2020.

CCRYN was a part of the initiative that was taken under the Government’s Ministry AYUSH (Department of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy). This Mother and Child Care booklet suggested a list of obnoxious and questionable do’s and don’ts, signed off by the Union Minister Shripad Naik.

Comprising of what has been referred to as a list of suggestions more than prescriptions, the content of this CCRYN booklet seem not just problematic but also incorrect to an extent, from a scientific as well as an ethical viewpoint. It is common knowledge and a proven fact that the richest and most abundant source of protein, which is one of the many necessities of a pregnant woman, is meat and milk. Besides, even if the advice was followed up on, the well-to-do families would be able to afford other protein sources like soy and exotic fruits, but that ceases to be a viable option for the poor. So, naturally, the advice pertaining to abstinence from non-vegetarian meals seems ridiculous and unscientific.

Also, read – ASHA: Wonder Women Who Need Health Kits & Funds As They Fight Covid-19

Following this unreasonable suggestion, was one that recommended pregnant women to “detach themselves from desire, anger, attachment, hatred, and lust.” Once again, it is common knowledge but to back the facts up, an article by Healthline states the obvious which is that pregnancy results in both physical and hormonal changes in the mother’s body.

Another article by Live Science discusses in detail, how pregnant women can undergo mood swings and hormonal fluctuations due to the increase in levels of oestrogen in the body. Suffice to say, these consequential psychological effects in a woman’s mindset are natural and more importantly, necessary to maintain normalcy.

So, CCRYN ‘s suggestion of abstinence from ‘desire’, ‘attachment’ and ‘lust’ is not just easier said than done, but also irrational and ignorant. These feelings are in fact, quite essential contributors to strengthen the coping mechanism for other simultaneous and heightened emotions like anxiety.

stereotypical representation of the ideal woman, even in the illustration of Bharat Mata
Image credit: Wikipedia

Women have always been seen as the saintly representation of India as per the illustrations of Bharat Mata. Just like the problematic notion of toxic and hegemonic masculinity has undergone the rightful scrutiny, and is still a part of the discourse, the misogyny involved in the expectation that women should confine themselves to the ‘saintly’ representation needs to be challenged. 

Pulling along the strings, advising pregnant women and further reprimanding them for letting their body undergo the natural tendencies is misogynistic and talk of male-privilege. Further to this, an article by Feminism In India accurately states, that “while in the case of complicated pregnancies, and sometimes in the first trimester, couples are advised to be careful, the onus of a healthy baby and controlled sex does not lie with the women alone, as has been made to look in this booklet.”

An argument was made by Mr Naik in an attempt to clarify that the booklet simply suggests abstaining from sex and not the feelings of desire or lust. Accordingly, a BJP leader, Shaina NC also pushed the public response by saying that these were only a list of suggestions and following them through was a matter of personal choice.  

The Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) of the country is an unstable one but still amounts to a whopping 178 in 100,000 live births. In simpler terms, it projects the death of around 55,000 women per year, simply on basis of pregnancy-related issues that are largely preventable. 

Keeping the insulting figure in mind, it would be much more helpful and practical for the authorities such as those from CCRYN to take up development of trustworthy health facilities, availability of appropriate medications, environment and nutrition, rather than suggesting a baseless and impractical set of do’s and don’ts.

However, this is not the first case of irrational statements or claims made for ‘successful pregnancy’, a concept that is still linked back to the birth of a male or fair-complexioned child, despite living in the 21st century. The national convener of Arogya Bharati, Dr Hitesh Jani once claimed, “If the proper procedure is followed, babies of dark-skinned parents with lesser height can have a fair complexion and grow taller.” 

Baba Ramdev, through his Putrajeevak medicine, went on to promise the birth of a male child. According to the website Ramdev medicines, which sold Putrajeevak explicitly mentioned, “It is an extremely effective herb that has been used for ages in ancient India to rectify the defects in a woman’s body to make her conceive. According to ancient texts, it is also helpful in conceiving a male child.”

Also, read – Pregnant Woman In Bihar Denied Treatment: Discrimination Costs Mother Her Child

India has borne sexist, racist and superstitious stereotypes for a longer time period than not. Despite the ‘woke’ drives and protest for self-appreciation, there is a large chunk of the Indian population that still believes in the obnoxious and unfairly orthodox framework. It is a result of this, that self-acceptance and diversity within the country seem far-fetched and too ‘ideal’. Unknowingly, if not intentionally, all of these problematic notions add to the kind of pressure which is harmful to pregnant women.

how sexism and racism can affect pregnancy
Image Credit: Verniers C, Vala J

Rather than continuing to conform to these ridiculous claims and desires, and producing a booklet of objectionable do’s and don’ts, it is high time that the authorities worked towards other things that actually count. The list is a long one, from getting rid of the racist and sexist biases to being able to provide the necessary resources and facilities to pregnant women. While it is understandable that these goals cannot be assumed with a snap of the fingers, the clock for change will not start ticking until the first rightful initiative is not taken. частный займ челябинскзайм до 100 тысяч на картубыстрый займ на карту маэстро займ с плохой кимоментальный займ на карту без проверокзайм на карту сбербанка мгновенно

Tanvi Kulkarni

Add comment

Your Header Sidebar area is currently empty. Hurry up and add some widgets.

%d bloggers like this: