Saturday, May 19, 2007

Childfreedom on the Rise in India

Mum’s not the word
First-time mother at 35 is a common statistic; delayed pregnancy is on the rise in metros. Women opting out of motherhood are clear-eyed and unapologetic. A high-velocity life of work, consumption and leisure would unwire a nine-month pregnancy. “Having children is not supported in 10-10 work structures,” says documentary filmmaker Safina Uberoi who works in between India and Australia. “This is systemic overseas but it’s increasingly happening in India as well. Having a child? You’re out of the ball game baby, see you in five years… So, it’s not that I chose not to have a child, but I chose to make a film.”
. . .
Partnership is the new deal. Without it, many women are saying they will not be burdened with motherhood. “If we have a child, Dhananjay knows he will have to pitch in with 50 per cent,” says Cairmuley. Not having a child is thus a continual social and political act, an act of subversion if you will. A woman who is taking time off for herself and doesn’t want to be a mother is something of a loose canon, a new class in urban India.
. . .
Rinku Jacob, a Hindu Brahmin, and her husband, Mac, a Syrian Christian, get plenty of advice from her aunts. ‘Have one child at least, otherwise people will talk.’ Or: ‘You are young right now and in love but in a few years you’ll need your child to be the bond between you and your husband.’ “I am 36 now and the bond is intact,” she says with a laugh.
. . .
There is of course no social encouragement for such stands. “No one has patted me on the back and said ‘whatta girl’,” says Parnal. Mothers are responsible for home and country, so goes the popular idea, admits Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman, McCann-Erickson. Motherhood, the age-old method by which society has exercised control, sells very many powders and soaps. The beauty of the baby and the joy of parenthood, are woven into a theme of exclusive dependence from which no man, and certainly no woman, must break free.
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1 comment:

Conceiving a Child is a Sin said...

The Childfree movement is catching on globally. Around 20% of the world’s population lives and breeds in India, and there are many people in our country who procreate despite being unable to give their children a proper upbringing – something even wild animals refrain from doing. It would be nice if our mass media also started making the masses aware of the childfree movement – it has to happen one day, better sooner than later. You can read my essay “Conceiving a Child is a Sin” at to get a perception on the evils of breeding from the Hindu point of view.