She was doomed from Day One

February 14th, 2008 by Shakir Lakhani

This is a true story. Rajoo (not his real name) married Rani (not her real name) in 1970. He was from Karachi, while she was from Bombay. It was an arranged marriage, and one reason Rajoo married her was because an Indian wife wouldn’t easily be able to go back to her parents if she wasn’t happy with him. The second reason was that he wanted her to look after his aging father (his mother had died some years earlier). The third reason, of course, was that he wanted to be a father.
In four years she gave birth to three children, all girls.The poor woman was the subject of taunts from her husband’s relatives. “You’re possessed by the devil,” they said, “you can’t produce sons.” Her husband took her to all the charlatans in town; he took her to the tomb of the “Crocodile Saint”, who was reputed to make women produce as many boys as they wanted. Nothing worked. She gave birth to two more girls in the period before she became a victim of acute depression.
He took her to a psychiatrist. “Mr. Rajoo”, said the psychiatrist, “please, please don’t make her pregnant again, she’ll kill herself if she bears another female child.” The troubled Rajoo went to the mullah in the neighborhood mosque. “Are you crazy?” said the mullah. “Whoever heard such nonsense? If a woman stops being pregnant, she remains unfulfilled, she might even hate you for it. And haven’t you heard that it is a heinous sin to practice birth control?”
So Rajoo went ahead, and she became pregnant again. She prayed to Him who knows all things for a son. She swore that she would sell all her jewelery and feed the poor every day for the rest of her life if she became the mother of a boy. But it was not to be. Another girl was born, and she went mad. A few days later, she took her children to the roof of the building she lived in. One by one, she threw all of them from the top floor (it was a seven storey building). Then she jumped and killed herself as well. Finally, she was free, free from the tortures she had suffered for seven years.