"today we are going in a western way."
Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar has come under fire following his claim that modern Indian women are unwilling to give birth.
Dr Sudhakar made the comments at Bengaluru’s National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences while at an event to mark World Mental Health Day on October 10, 2021.
He had said: “Today, I am sorry to say this, lots of modern women in India want to stay single.
“Even if they get married, they don’t want to give birth. They want surrogacy.
“So there is a paradigm shift in our thinking, which is not good.”
Dr Sudhakar criticised the “western influence” on Indian society and said that people are unwilling to let their parents be with them.
He continued: “Unfortunately, today we are going in a western way.
“We don’t want our parents to live with us, forget about grandparents being with us.”
On mental health in India, Dr Sudhakar said that one in seven Indians has some sort of mental health issue.
He went on to say that stress management is an art that Indians do not need to learn, but need to preach to the world on how to handle.
He added: “Stress management is an art.
“This art we need not learn as Indians. We need to preach to the world how to handle stress, because yoga, meditation and Pranayama are the wonderful tools that our ancestors had taught the world thousands of years back.”
The minister’s remarks have received criticism, being labelled as “sexist, patriarchal and inappropriate”.
Karnataka's K Sudhakar makes bizarre comments on 'modern Indian women',
Bengaluru: Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Sunday claimed that modern Indian women want to stay single, unwilling to give birth even after marriage and desire children by surrogacy. pic.twitter.com/h7vj35bVLH
— Subodh Kumar (@kumarsubodh_) October 10, 2021
All India Democratic Women’s Association Vice President Vimala KS said it is a woman’s choice whether they want to have children or not and that such a statement coming from a state Health Minister is not appropriate.
She said: “It is the freedom of women whether to have a baby or not.
“He must have forgotten that a large section of women in this country do not have the rights over their bodies.
“Being a minister, issuing a sweeping statement is not good and while being a Health Minister, is not acceptable.
“Let minister Sudhakar prove his statement. How many women have these choices? Like women, many men do not want to have children. Why does no one say anything to them?”
One user said:
“No matter how much India progresses, the average Indian man will not change.”
“Karnataka health and family welfare minister Sudhakar says, ‘modern women in India want to stay single. Even if they get married, they don’t want to give birth’.
“Yes, women are baby-making machines.”
News reporter Gargi Rawat said: “Such a bizarre statement on World Mental Health day.
“Women not wanting to get married or have kids is connected somehow?”
One person said: “Because modern women have to consider whether it’s worth spending our lives with men who think like this.”
Another woman wrote: “Yeah, sure. How can it be ‘good’ that a woman makes conscious and informed decisions about her career, family, health and bodily autonomy?
“This coming from a qualified doctor. And Indian men wonder why women don’t want to marry them.”
A third woman commented: “How to deal with mental stress? Just put the blame for everything on the woman. Easy. Classic solution.”
Journalist Faye D’Souza also condemned the remark, writing:
“Ah! The modern woman of India, the source of all problems.
“If only women would marry and stay at home we would solve unemployment, poverty, petrol and LPG prices, lack of hospital beds, potholed roads, electricity shortage, crime and hunger.”