Health

RSS-Linked Organisation Promises Couples Customised, Fair ‘Super Babies’

The Calcutta high court allowed the organisation to hold a workshop on how they can create genetically-superior babies, but said no treatment can be administered at the event.

The organisation claims that children conceived through their 'garbh sanskar' methods will have an early development of childhood milestones like sentence formation. They will also be braver, more creative and less stubborn than other children, and can be 'fair' even if both parents are 'dark'. Credit: Screenshot from Johnson's baby powder ad

The organisation claims that children conceived through their ‘garbh sanskar’ methods will have an early development of childhood milestones like sentence formation. They will also be braver, more creative and less stubborn than other children, and can be ‘fair’ even if both parents are ‘dark’. Credit: Screenshot from Johnson’s baby powder ad

New Delhi: India is the land of Gandhi and the Buddha, an Indian official told the United Nations last week. “We cannot have a racist mindset.” What would he then say to the promise made by the “medical wing” of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – parent organisation of the party that is currently running the Indian government – promising prospective “dark-skinned” parents who undergo its workshop and procedures “babies … with fair complexion”?

Call it racism or quackery, the Calcutta high court on Friday decided to allow the RSS-linked Arogya Bharati to carry out a programme on how to conceive children that would be tall and fair provided it adhered to strict conditions. The workshop in Calcutta intended to tell couples ancient secrets on how to conceive a ‘susantan’ or a super baby, reported NDTV. West Bengal’s Commission for Protection of Child Rights had approached the high court seeking guidance on the programme.

The workshop, priced at Rs 500 per couple, was to be conducted by Dr Karishma Narvin, a visiting lecturer at Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar.

Dr Hitesh Jani, also from the Gujarat Ayurved University, told NDTV that modern-day genetic science allows for genetic engineering in vitro, which is in a petri dish, whereas the garbh sanskar which they propagate would enable this genetic engineering to be in vivo, inside the womb itself.

The court allowed the programme to be held but set the condition that no money can be charged for it and only a lecture can be given, there should be no administration of any treatment. The court also asked that the event be videotaped and submitted to the court.

A formula for superbabies? Credit: Text (The Wire), Image: Nestle

The website of ‘Garbhvigyan Anusandhan Kendra’ says, “Garbh Sanskar, a scientifically proven fact, is an amazing way of teaching/educating and bonding with unborn baby in womb during pregnancy.” For this, they ask couples “to increase the good karmic level to such an extent that the divine soul chooses it to be its parents.”  They say that children born after garbh sanskar will have an early development of childhood milestones like sentence formation. They will also be braver, more creative and less stubborn than other children. They also claim to be able to mitigate hereditary diseases if garbh sanskar is “started during planning phase with full devotion.” Ultimately, the organisation says that all this helps in “getting best progeny”. They do this via Ayurvedic herbs and Panchkarma therapies, and by regulating diet, through yoga, music CDs and activity plans.

Image from Garbhsanskar.org

The Indian Express reported that the project claims to have successfully delivered 450 customised babies. However, the ‘success stories’ section of their website has two pieces of identical text, written in faux Latin. The Indian Express also said that some of the expected protocols will involve three months of ‘shuddhikaran’ or purification. The time of intercourse will be decided by the position of the planets. The couple must not have any intercourse during pregnancy. All of this together will give the couples their ‘uttam santati’ or perfect and customised child. The project started in Gujarat and plans on having centres in every state by 2020.

The ‘success stories’ page of Arogya Bharati.

Jani, the national convenor of Arogya Bharati, was quoted by Indian Express as saying, “The parents may have lower IQ, with a poor educational background, but their baby can be extremely bright. If the proper procedure is followed, babies of dark-skinned parents with lesser height can have fair complexion and grow taller.”

  • arosecellar

    To think of this issue in terms of quackery is to misconceptualize it[ in today’s political context how the Sangh Parivar understands Science of anything from reproduction, plastic surgery to planetary motion, etc. is not the point ].The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh after every few months calls on Hindu women to produce and reproduce more and more babies. One more move has been made: to create ‘racial warriors’.
    Eugenics is very crucial to Nazi ideology[ for more on this and other related issues, please read Claudia Koonz’s works: Mothers in the Fatherland: Women, the Family, and Nazi Politics + The Nazi Conscience]. I repeat, the point is not whether they can do this scientifically or whether they understand the concept of genetics or not.The idea is to repeatedly tell the religious majority[ i.e., Hindus] that it is their nation, that Hindu men are effeminate, that they should be like Spartan warriors, that their numbers are going down, and that they need to increase their population to decimate ‘aliens’ i.e., Muslims and Christians. A cloth of interminable lies, bellicose jingoism, sickening sexism, and supremacist myths has been stitched as a full-blown ideological social construct to spread hatred.

    • arosecellar

      Of course, it is quackery, but that is because they have nothing to do with science, or with human beings for that matter. But one has to go beyond making fun of these people as quacks [please remember one more thing about hindutva types: they may be saying all this ridiculous stuff, and actually carrying out experiments in some modern labs as a lot of IIT types have joined them]. What I am trying to conceptualize is nazi eugenics not rss’ method of making a Spartan warrior. Hence, I wrote:”To think of this issue in terms of quackery is to misconceptualize it.” For me, a critique of nazi eugenics is politically more significant than merely calling it quackery [which I am saying it is in this instance].In other words, meaning of eugenics has to be understood not of the method employed.genetic engineering is growing by leaps and bounds. several ethical issues have emerged, and more are bound to come up…neo-nazis of all sorts are getting ready…

  • Anjan Basu

    What complete rubbish! Ten years back, such charlatans would have been laughed out of court any day. But times have changed. We now live in a higgledy-piggledy world where fair is foul, foul fair, white is pitch-black and black is radiantly red. And where, above all, saffron is the only officially- sanctioned colour. So

  • Amitabha Basu

    The RSS stands true to its Nazi credentials, and the courts and public stand and watch … our inherent racist tendency whispers : Maybe they can really deliver ?

  • Anjan Basu

    Courts are part of the same social system that holds its sway over the nation. So it should not surprise us that our honourable judges behave honourably only very rarely. As for the target audience of the RSS fraud, sadly, we cannot any more derive any comfort from the thought that the Sangh is fooling only the gullible. Look around you today, and you will find the ranks of such ‘fools’ are swelling by the hour. Some of your own near and dear ones, as much as some of mine, are dedicating themselves to this criminal enterprise with their eyes and ears open. Think of Germany, 1933. There are chilling similarities.

  • Anjan Basu

    Why should we assume that our courts are free from the social malaises that plague us today? They are as much a part of the circus as is everyone else.

  • Anjan Basu

    A chilling question. Indeed, what next? Especially as there are many, many takers today for such egregious thuggery. Some of the ‘faithful’ are our own friends, yours and mine.

  • Anjan Basu

    Well, you and I can find it amusing only at our own peril. For such frauds are no longer peripheral to our society. They are being rapidly ‘mainstreamed’, made respectable. Think of what our PM claimed about India’s glorious plastic-surgical tradition! Or of the ‘scientific’ findings that spaceships were routinely used by our ancient Rishis.

  • Anjan Basu

    I don’t know for sure if such things can only happen in India. What bothers me, however, is that they do happen here. We certainly don’t deserve such monstrosities.

  • S.N.Iyer

    Whether true or false,the matter is further compounded by the High Court’s intervention. Wonder if the learned judge asked for
    evidence to prove that the program is supported by evidence! But what is worse is that the RSS has promoted this program to divide people on the basis of ‘colour of skin’.

  • Anjan Basu

    And at the Science Congress, no less, there are learned speeches to the effect that ‘Vedic Science’ was infinitely superior to all modern science, and that, in fact, spaceships and inter-galactic travel were fairly common