Modern women don't give birth, they want surrogacy: Karnataka Minister
Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Sunday said that "modern" women are not interested in giving birth and blamed them for disappearing joint families. Sudhakar was speaking at a World Mental Health Day event at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurological Sciences. His comments were condemned by several attendees, including eminent mental health experts and faculty members of the institute.
Lamenting the "Western influence" on Indian society, the Minister spoke about a resultant "paradigm shift" in our thinking. Blaming "modern" women, Sudhakar said, "Sorry to say this... Today, a lot of modern women in India want to stay single." "Even if they get married, they do not want to give birth; they want surrogacy," the Minister added.
Criticizing the Western influence, K Sudhakar said people today are not willing to let their parents live with them. "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," he added.
Meanwhile, the audience present at the event criticized the comments made by Sudhakar about "modern" women. Speaking to The Times of India, a senior professor at NIMHANS described the comments as "awful." "It cannot be dismissed as his individual comment when said in an open forum like the World Mental Health Day event," a faculty member told TOI.
On mental health, Sudhakar said every Indian has some kind of mental issue, which could be mild, moderate, and severe. Speaking on the role of yoga and meditation in stress management, he said that India can preach the art of stress management to the world. "...Because yoga, meditation, and Pranayama are wonderful tools which our ancestors had taught the world thousands of years back."
He also stressed that COVID-19 and mental health could not be separated. COVID-19 took a mental toll on people who were not even able to touch the bodies of their loved ones. He highlighted that the Karnataka government had counseled 24 lakh COVID-19 patients.
Separately, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya talked about the need to remove the stigma around mental health issues, calling it a "silent killer." He said mental health issues often go undetected due to the stigma attached to them. He also stressed incorporating Indian traditions on good mental health in the medical syllabus and urged NIMHANS to conduct studies in this regard.