At 70, Krishna Devi is impassive about life — save a desire for a son, for which she ended up having 14 daughters. Her youngest daughter was born when she was 55, making her one of the ‘oldest mothers’ in the world.
“Yahan toh sab chhora hi chahte hain (Everyone here wants a son),” she says. In Bhalli Anandpur village in Rohtak district, Krishna is ‘famous’ for the sheer size of her all-girls family. “There were no machines (ultrasonography machines) to check, so I kept having girls till I was 55.”
Krishna, who had her first daughter at 15, is in sync with the social fabric of a region where the worth of a family is dictated by a son. In the third National Family Health Survey released recently, 90 per cent of women with two sons said they didn’t want to have any more children, while only 61 per cent with two girl children said they wanted to stop the family.
Unlike Krishna, villagers here resort to sex determination tests clandestinely: “If the doctor writes in red it’s a girl, if blue, it’s a boy.”
Incentives for the girl child don’t work, with only about 5 per cent registering for them. Says Krishna’s husband, Dayanand Lohaar: “I had to take loans for their marriages.” His eldest daughter Satwanti, 55, is a mother of two sons. Ask her if she’d got the ‘test’ done, and her silence says it all.