Bittersweet story on alarming hysterectomies in rural India

Times of India | 1 day ago

Bittersweet story on alarming hysterectomies in rural India

Tags: women   hysterectomy   due   beed   year   village   uterus   sugarcane   started   practice   month   menstrual cycle   menstrual   mahadevan   lose  

Panaji: The women sugarcane cutters of Beed, a village in Maharashtra, are in a race to make India the number one sugarcane exporter, beating Brazil, to earn their bread and butter. This, however, comes at the cost of giving up their womb by undergoing a hysterectomy. The practice among these women exists due to lack of information about the menstrual cycle. “The sugar cutting period is just six months in a year and they need to survive on the paltry salary they receive during the harvest time for the rest of year. So women cutters can’t afford to lose even a single day. Unfortunately, due to the biological process of menstruation, they lose three to four days every month. To avoid this, the practice of hysterectomy started about 10 years ago in the village of Beed,” director of the film ‘Bittersweet’, Ananth Narayan Mahadevan said while speaking at the 52nd Iffi in Goa. Quacks and non-qualified gynaecologists that migrated from areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar into Beed started advising these women to undergo hysterectomy. They succeeded in convincing the women that getting rid of their uterus would free them of all their problems, like the pain during the menstrual cycle every month, the loss of wages during those days, and the possible growth of tumours in the uterus and other medical issues. “In the film we have shown that a government officer is probing the issues, but none of the women come forward due to fear of losing their job as it is their only source of income. They say they are doing it willingly,” Mahadevan said.