Representational image.

This is a story of a family belonging to the Northeast, as a person living in this country one need not go searching for truth somewhere deep in the remote village or a forest tribe to know of the condition of common people in this country. They come and tell you a story themselves, one needs to have eyes which are connected to the heart to see.

This couple Dhairyajit and Sahanubhuti (names changed) belong to a village called Balisatra of Rangia, around 60 km from Guwahati, the capital city of Assam. They have three children and the husband came to Guwahati for better living.  He is employed as a driver and the wife does domestic help to earn some extra living to fend for the three children.

There is another couple living in the nearby place and are relatively well off because the husband is a professional white collared and wife is childless after a married life of 12 years. They approach a nearby hospital but the hospital says they need a donor for eggs (human oocytes) so as to make embryos (human babies visible only under microscope) by a new technology known as IVF (test tube baby). They see hope in this couple Dhairyajit and Sahanubhuti who are willing to donate because they are related to the couple but also bear some sympathy and also foresee socio-economic upliftment which may happen in the process.

But the youngest child was still breastfeeding at that time in 2018, hence after screening Sahanubhuti was rejected as a potential donor of oocytes. She was told to wait another six months, but by then there was anti-CAA protests in Assam and life was out of gear for her husband. The white collared couple had already got dejected because of repeated unsuccessful attempts to conceive by the technology of IVF with other ladies who helped and donated eggs.

The couple Dhairyajit and Sahanubhuti  approached the hospital again with some hope of getting recruited as a donor, but when she was offered to become a surrogate mother instead of being just a donor, they had the courage to agree and to do so and asked for a pre-condition while signing the surrogacy agreement, condition being that the white collared couple must keep it confidential because the people in their village may not approve of such scientific methods due to backwardness and lack of knowledge, to which the white collared couple agreed.

Hope for some betterment in this country doesn’t arise from some charismatic leader or some foreign country which sells latest fighter jets to this country. It is the courage of a common poor man or woman like Dhairyajit and Sahanubhuti who give hope, this was when most of sisters and relatives of the white collared family lady with childlessness didn’t agree to be a surrogate mother, and their child was waiting in frozen condition in the IVF lab for a suitable uterus.

Thanks to Nobel Laureate Dr Edward and Dr Steptoe who invented IVF way back in 1978 that today the childless people in this educationally backward country have some hope of conceiving or having children, the surrogate mother became pregnant.  During the course of mid trimester the pandemic struck and they had to move out of the thatched house they stayed in to a more secure house to prevent spread of the pandemic, but the childless lady instead of helping them had an altercation with the surrogate couple in distress and asked them to abort the unborn child.

This was heartbreaking to the poor surrogate couple who decided otherwise and continued the pregnancy.

Meanwhile, the transport facilities had broken down and the fear of pandemic had overtaken everyone as per the wishes of the administration.  The white collared couple’s (mainly the husband’s) plans to rehabilitate the surrogate mother and family faced hurdles due to stupid movies about surrogacy made by weed addicted bollywood which the childless lady wife of white collared professional saw and decided to violate the contract.

The surrogate mother Sahanubhuti required some compassion from the white collared couple but unfortunately the lady with childlessness turned harassing against Sahanubhuti and her husband for no fault of theirs, but luckily the husband of the white collared couple was more educated and made sure the surrogate mother is psychologically healthy by giving some compassionate medical attention needed.

In the end the surrogate mother Sahanubhuti and husband Dhairyajit decided they wouldn’t deliver the child in the presence of the childless lady and instead would sign a new agreement with the white collared husband who was forthcoming and understanding to the surrogate couple’s family and their social situation.

The white collared husband in total disagreement and marital discord with his wife went ahead to save the unborn baby by safely arranging for the delivery and is now taking care of the baby as what is essentially a single parent.

The uneducated status of the childless lady who didn’t have the basic human qualities of compassion towards an unborn child and also didn’t have least understanding of the worsening socio-economic situation of the country and its effects on the poor and vulnerable (like the surrogate couple) had destroyed her own future by harassing a couple who had nevertheless the courage to help the white collared couple with a technology which was almost a taboo in this country filled with morons in the village side and even so in the cities and its rape capital.

The status of lack of compassion for an unborn child may be at the root of the malaise which afflicts this country in the form of violence against children and the same becoming normalised inside families and that leading on to insensitivity to gender based violence and that reflecting in the form of rapes and other sexual violence against the weak, innocent and the vulnerable.

The ordeal for the unborn baby doesn’t end here, the safe home created by the white collared commissioning husband for the surrogate couple and family was made a target of smear campaign (of harbouring a female other than wife and the unborn child was named a “prostitute’s child”) by none other than the unborn child’s grandfather who refused to allow the child into the house.

Further sub-Inspector Vijay of the local police station having admitted to have understood nothing about surrogacy and still sat on judgement on the case instead of referring it to a family counsellor and further brokered the decision that the white collared commissioning parent had to vacate his house this brazen support to people who are anti-child and anti-women in the society is because of his lack of education and lack of knowledge of scientific progress. (and its a shame that such people become police officers)

Though the author doesn’t harbour any hate against the childless woman or the uneducated grandfather, or the equally uneducated police officer Vijay, exposing such events may be useful for the social scientists and others concerned and the unabated sexual violence against women in our society may continue because of such people holding powerful positions in family and organisations, education at schools and colleges have essentially failed us in this aspect and need a massive revamp to call ourselves a civilised and scientifically oriented society.

This fiasco of a sort looming in front of us, obviously exposed by the pandemic, needs some serious learning points.

–The society is filled with unscientific beliefs dangerous to the future of the country.

–The education system doesn’t equip people to lead life properly.

–Compassion to others is lacking due to greedy intentions of unscrupulous people like the childless lady in this article and the equally stupid grandfather.

–Lack of compassion to vulnerable groups like children and women leads to normalisation of violence against them.

–The country’s police and criminal justice system is posed against such vulnerable groups which further makes the situation worse, like the one Vijay who has become a feudal lord of a sort.

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