Sex-selection through Ayurveda? The vice-chancellor (VC) of the newly established AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy) University in Kurukshetra has put the BJP government in Haryana in a spot of bother with his reported remark that gender selection before conception was possible through Ayurveda.

While speaking at a function to mark the birth anniversary celebration of Narad Muni on Sunday, Dr Baldev Kumar Dhiman reportedly had claimed that Ayurvedic medicine provides alternate techniques that can give desired results in choosing the sex of the baby even before conception.

This apparently includes dietary and physical regulations, and the observance of appropriate instructions as laid down in the ancient scriptures, he was quoted as saying.

Though Dr Dhiman was not available for comment over phone despite repeated attempts, highly placed sources said authorities dealing with the enforcement of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act – which makes sex selection illegal, whether before or after conception – are confused if action should be taken against the VC who is associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

This is despite the fact the VC’s remark is against Haryana’s much appreciated Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign which discourages gender discrimination.
“The VC’s statement is clearly against the PCPNDT Act. We are getting the matter examined and trying to ascertain what the VC exactly said on Sunday,” said a senior official in Chandigarh.

Sources said when questioned, the AYUSH university authorities are defending the remark by quoting Ayurdeva scriptures about the “putrjeevak beej”. In Sanskritm ‘putra’ means son, ‘jeevak’ means birth and ‘beej’ means seed.

The AYUSH authorities, however, maintain that putrjeevak beej is for treating causes of infertility and childlessness but there is no drug which can guarantee a male child.

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s pharmacy was in dock in the past for its controversial infertility medicine, ‘Putrajeevak Beej’, was it was in violation of the PCPNDT Act as it allegedly promised male child to user women.

Meanwhile, condemning the statement as shocking, the All Indian Democratic Women Association (AIDWA) on Monday said the VC, Baldev Kumar Dhiman’s statement not only displays a completely unscientific mindset, it also violates the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act which makes sex selection illegal, whether before or after conception.

The AIDWA said at a time when the BJP government in Haryana is claiming to have reduced sex imbalance in the state through their effective implementation of the PCPNDT Act, and other measures, these views expressed by an esteemed vice chancellor cannot be taken lightly.

Demanding strict action against Dhiman for his anti-woman mindset and his violation of the law, the AIDWA said he must be removed from office immediately and register a case against VC for violation of the PCPNDT Act, otherwise, the movement against it will be launched.