According to sitting Member of Parliament and Uttarakhand BJP chief Ajay Bhatt, women should drink water from a river in Bageshwar, Kumaon called Garud Ganga, if they want to avoid C-section. Bhatt’s statement is to gynaecology what Rajasthan high Court judge’s infamous “peacock tears” was to sex education. More often than we would like, politicians turn scientists and doctors, imparting such nuggets of wisdom, without realising what dangerous repercussions they could have, especially in a matter as sensitive as child birth.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: 

  • MP Ajay Bhatt has said that drinking water of Garud Ganga river can help women avoid C-section.
  • Bhatt’s statement isn’t back by any research or study and is thus very reckless.
  • Does the politician realise how his words could put the well-being of numerous women and unborn children at risk?
  • C-section isn’t some yearly extra expense that one can “avoid.”

According to UNICEF report mothers in the lowest economic bracket have about a two and a half times higher mortality rate.

According to The Times of India, Bhatt said in Lok Sabah that only few have heard about the medical properties of Garud Ganga’s water, adding that stones from the river if rubbed on snakebite wounds can save lives. Further elaborating on the “powers of the sacred river” Bhatt said, “Rub the stone of Garud Ganga, mix it with water and make the patient drink it. There will be no need of caesarean deliveries.”

According to UNICEF report mothers in the lowest economic bracket have about a two and a half times higher mortality rate. Does Bhatt realise how his statement not backed by medical science, can put the lives of many pregnant women and babies in danger? Wouldn’t such a statement tempt economically challenged families into stalling caesareans and opting to believe in magical “powers” of a certain river’s water? In times when India is actively working towards further reducing maternal mortality rate and tackling maternity and child birth complications that numerous women have to deal with, with every pregnancy, this statement is very irresponsible. And it was made from a platform as relevant as Indian parliament.

How has this not earned Bhatt any serious consequences? Why hasn’t he been reprimanded for making it? Does he have any scientific backing to prove that water from Garud Ganga can indeed help women avoid C-section? Are we just supposed to risk pregnant women’s well-being, based on his beliefs? Some people have argued in favour of Bhatt’s statement alleging that C-section has been monetised by private hospitals, which often coerce pregnant women into electing for the procedure, despite them not needing. But just how does drinking water from a river solve that problem. Wouldn’t it be better to prompt issuing of stricter guidelines to the medical fraternity, than discrediting what could be a life-saving procedure in many cases as a sham and replacing it with river rocks and water?

In times when India is actively working towards further reduce maternal mortality rate and tackle maternity and child birth complications that numerous women have to deal with, with every pregnancy, this statement is very irresponsible.

There should be a law that could prevent higher officials and government representatives from making such statements, especially those which require medical expertise to cross check. Political leaders like Bhatt should in fact be sensitised in public speaking and made aware of the weightage that their words carry. Heaven knows what would happen if all women facing pregnancy complications begin gulping down cups full of river water and wait for its “powers” to help them have a natural childbirth.

C-section, in a lot of cases is an essential procedure which ensures safety of mother and child during child birth, facing complications. It isn’t some added yearly expense that we should avoid. When your gynaecologist recommends the procedure, you opt for it. The cost of believing in magical potency of river water could be two lives. But does Bhatt realise that?

Picture Credit: udayavani.com

Also Read: Digvijay Chautala: Yet Another Politician Taking Moral High Ground

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own.

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.