In the UK (some of) the population sits with baited breath, waiting to find out what sex the new royal baby will be. Does Kate know? Is she sending a cryptic clue with her blue pram? For royal watchers and those with a lot of time on their hands, it’s a fun game. Over in India however, there’s a rumbling baby sex war of an all together different kind going on.
There are reports that Bollywood mega star Shah Rukh Khan knows he and his wife are expecting a baby boy- highly controversial, as baby gender sex tests are illegal in India. State health officials are currently investigating the claims, which if true, could have serious implications for the super star. The couple themselves, who are said to be using a surrogate, have yet to comment on the matter.
It may well turn out that the couple are well within their legal rights and had the baby’s gender legally checked abroad, or that media reports are inaccurate. What is certain is the strength of feeling underlying the ongoing controversy. Maharashtra state health minister Suresh Shetty said he had instructed his officials to conduct the inquiry after an Indian medical association had wrote to the ministry, calling for an immediate investigation.
A traditional cultural preference for boys, especially in rural, agricultural communities, has lead to considerable gender imbalances in some areas
A spokesperson for the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) told the BBC, “We’re demanding an inquiry, asking for the truth – we want to know who said what to whom.” IRIA’s overriding concern is that the country’s tough rules on revealing gender must not be undermined by anyone, rich or poor. He went on to comment;”These rules are applicable to one and all… there cannot be one rule for the rich and one for ordinary people.”
Female infanticide is a huge issue in India. A traditional cultural preference for boys, especially in rural, agricultural communities, has lead to considerable gender imbalances in some areas. One high profile study estimated that there could ultimately be 30 million more single men aged 15-35 in India in the near future, leading some analysts to speculate that there could be increased social disorder, greater potential for violence, and a rise in crimes such as trafficking and kidnap.