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Sunday, April 23, 2017

"Banned Parenthood" and Microcephaly

    I recently came across an article with the above caption written in 2015 and it immediately brought to my mind an old Urdu write-up ?Afsana, may have been Minto but  I only remember the abominable and heart-wrenching contents.
 But first a word or two about "Banned". Many years ago USA practiced "Eugenics" almost like Nazi/Hitler's. The 'committee' ordered  Surgical "sterilization of young women (and men) considered to be unfit for parent-hood like:
 Feeblemindedness
 too poor
physically disabled  --  and so on.
 That eugenics committee dissolved in 1977 (Thank God). There may still be other ways of continuing the "selection' process and I will not go further except mentioning that pictures I saw (in that article) were those of African-American  grandmother who looked perfectly normal with her grandson and she was raped at age 13, when she was declared feebleminded (instead of rape investigation) so that when she got married at 19 and found out what surgery had been done it wrecked her marriage but she was thankful they let her have her only son.
  The Urdu afsana or whatever was that of a microcephalic teenager who became a mother (do not remember who made the poor bayzubaan pregnant) causing problems for the "owner" whose "livelihood" got disturbed with her pregnancy. Those of you who do not know  "microcephalics" just a few words for them. Medically this means a child born with a very small head (and therefore brain) who live with extremely poor intelligence,  very very feebleminded. In Panjab they were called "Shah Dawlah's Choohay". The story goes about a mazar of Shah Dawlah in Gujrat (Pb) where some time ago some childless mother made "mannat" that if you give us children I will "donate" the first child for your  service/set-up (lot of Mujawars and buildings). It so happened that the first child born turned out to be a microcephalic (known medical condition). After that many "childless mothers" did the same thing and the first child was given to the service of Shah Dawlah and that child was "made" into microcephalic with iron cap on the newborn so received . It was not uncommon to see people taking such a child to use him/her for asking for alms. These "Shah Dawlah's choohay" were sold from the mazar and the "owners" lived happily ever after, for such a child when he/she approaches you and begs speaking hardly any words with out-stretched had one can imagine  why such hand would always be filled with money. I dont remember the whole afsana but you remember my village Kotla which is located in Gujrat distt. and I remember seeing these children coming to me tapping on my shoulder and making me feel so disturbed and helpless. Later I came to know of the family of Shah Dawlah when they stopped this abominable practice.
 Yes I would vote for such a "feeble-minded" for that operation (call me "flexible") but would be horrified to apply that principle to everybody microcephalic or not.
 Does any Urdu reader recall such afsana?



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