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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”