Qatar World Cup 2022FIFA World Cup | Argentina vs Australia Round of 16 match live updates

Did not intend to single out women: Karnataka Health Minister

K. Sudhakar drew widespread criticism for saying many modern Indian women want to stay single and are not willing to bear children even after marriage

October 11, 2021 06:16 pm | Updated October 12, 2021 10:45 am IST - Bengaluru

Karnataka Health Minister Dr. K. Sudhakar, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya (2nd from right) and NIMHANS Director Dr. Pratima Murthy (right) at the 25th convocation of National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences, in Bengaluru, October 10, 2021.

Karnataka Health Minister Dr. K. Sudhakar, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya (2nd from right) and NIMHANS Director Dr. Pratima Murthy (right) at the 25th convocation of National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences, in Bengaluru, October 10, 2021.

 

After his remarks that many modern Indian women want to stay single and are not willing to bear children even after marriage drew widespread criticism, Health Minister K. Sudhakar clarified that he did not mean to single out women, but only stressing on the positive role played by family in handling mental stress.

The Minister had made the remarks at the World Mental Health Day programme organised by NIMHANS in Bengaluru on October 10.

“It is unfortunate that a small part of my address out of the 19-and-a-half-minute-long speech has been taken out of context, and thereby losing out on the larger point I was trying to make,” he said in a statement on October 11.

The Minister asserted that it is widely established through research and studies that in a situation where the mental health resource is a scarcity, families form a valuable support system. “Indian society is collectivistic, and promotes social cohesion and interdependence. The traditional Indian joint family, which follows the same principles of collectivism, has proved to be an excellent resource for the care of the mentally ill,” he said.

Quoting a paper in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, the Minister said: “Indian and Asian families are, therefore, far more involved in caring for their members. Indian families are more intimate with the patient, and are capable of taking greater therapeutic participation than in the West.”

“My statement about the younger generation shying away from marriage and reproduction is also based on a survey. The findings of YouGov-Mint-CPR Millennial Survey shows that, among millennials, 19% are not interested in either children or marriage. Another 8% want children, but are not interested in marriage. Among post-millennial (or Gen Z adults), 23% are not interested in either children or marriage. As in the case of millennials, 8% want children but are not interested in marriage. There are very little gender-wise differences in these trends. It is applicable to both boys and girls.”

Congress reaction

Earlier in the day, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D.K. Shivakumar ridiculed the minister for his comments by tweeting, “They make big promises about women’s empowerment, while this is what the actual mindset is. Regressive, bashing women for their choices. All masks eventually come off.”

Congress MLA Anjali Nimbalkar too criticised the Minister by saying, “These men need counselling on World Mental Health Day. Let her [the woman] live with her choices. No one can decide for her but herself...”

Pointing out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi too was single, she wondered why the BJP Minister was not commenting about it. “Any comments on their leader Narendra Modi? Paradigm shift of living single even after getting married,” she remarked in a tweet.

'Must apologise'

Meanwhile, condemning the Minister's remarks, Swaraj India has demanded a public apology.

“The atrocious, misogynist and sexist statement by Health Minister K Sudhakar is not based on any fact, and is made to show women in poor light. His statement is a reflection of how women and reproductive rights are barely respected. Women are constantly policed about their bodies and choices they make," said Nisha Gulur, president, Swaraj India, Bengaluru Urban district unit.

“This is not the first time such a statement has been made by a political leader. Political leaders from many parties make anti-women statements and get away with them. When politicians give voice to the ugliest forms of misogyny and sexism, it is especially important to fight back, so that the majority voice of the women is not silenced," she added.

Top News Today

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.