This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Does The Foreign Affairs Ministry Really Not Know How A Child Is Conceived?

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Shivani Nag:

In a case involving conflict regarding the Passport Authority’s refusal to include a child’s step father’s name in the passport, a judge wondered, ‘what in case of the unwed mothers’! A rational person may have responded saying that depending on whether the mother is staying with her partner or bringing up the child alone, or on any other relevant basis, she can ask for the ‘inclusion’ or ‘exclusion’ of the father’s name. This or any other response respecting the agency of the mother who has given birth to the child and is now taking care of it might have been fine. But sample this response – “Unwed mothers must file an affidavit revealing ‘how she conceived’ and if ‘she was raped’, and giving a reason why she does not want the father’s name to be included”. Before commenting on the response, it must be made known that this response came from the advocate representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the court.

Indian passport

The response is problematic at multiple levels. First, and foremost, there already exists an affidavit for such cases where all that an unwed mother might be required to say is that she is not legally wedded to the biological father and that she is the sole custodian of the child. Why must the government want to replace an existing, non intrusive and non misogynist affidavit with a highly intrusive and a misogynistic one?

Second, why must a query pertaining to whether the mother was raped or not, be a part of such an affidavit? Is the government trying to say that rape is the only “legitimate” way of conceiving a child outside wedlock, and if it isn’t by rape, then it must be further explained and justified? Why shouldn’t the fact that the biological parents are not married and that the mother is the sole caretaker of the child be sufficient as information needed by the courts, as is currently the case? The passport authority of India is required to issue passports and not character certificates to the unwed mothers. The judiciary, the executive and the legislative, are required to defend and uphold the spirit and provisions of the Constitution and not play the moral police!

And seriously, does the Foreign Affairs ministry really have no idea as to how children are conceived? I can only think of one response to such a question that asks a mother how her child was conceived – “She had sex with the biological father”. If the suggested questions are not outright patriarchal and misogynist, then the only other plausible explanation for the suggested questions by the Foreign Affairs Ministry can be absolute ignorance and naivety, and that perhaps should provide a food for thought to the Health Ministry that ‘sex education’ is not such a bad idea.

You must be to comment.
  1. Templetwins

    A rational person may have responded saying that depending on whether the mother is staying with her partner or bringing up the child alone, or on any other relevant basis, she can ask for the ‘inclusion’ or ‘exclusion’ of the father’s name.

    Children are womens property. That is how the law dictates in most of the countries. The only role of a father is to be a disposable ATM machine. She can include or exclude him out of the childs life at her own will and he has to continue playing the role of a disposable ATM machine even after separation.

    It is also to be noted that the advocate of foreign ministry(label) who said the comment, ‘Unwed mothers must file an affidavit revealing ‘how she conceived’ and if ‘she was raped’, and giving a reason why she does not want the father’s name to be included’, is a woman and her name is Purnima Bhatia. The author kept saying how misogynistic and patriarchal it is to say such a comment but failed to mention her name and hid her behind a gender neutral label. I don’t know if it was done intentionally.

    Why must the government want to replace an existing, non intrusive and non misogynist affidavit with a highly intrusive and a misogynistic one?

    The point is that, the pre-existing affidavit has a line which says, ‘That no legally valid marriage ever existed between me and Mr./Ms……………………….(name of father/mother of the minor child)’. Out of her spitefulness the woman who wanted to get a passport for her child doesn’t want to include the childs biological fathers name. Hence they wanted to replace the affidavit to allow women to exclude the disposable ATM(father) from the childs passport and they also want a reason as to know why the biological mother doesn’t want to include the biological fathers name. It kinda gives an illusion of importance to the role of the biological father.

    The rest of the authors complaints are irrelevant because the original issue with the passport was that the woman in concern refused to fill it out completely, since she has to mention the biological fathers name, which she was not willing to. Somehow when you utter the word rape, their(womens) reasoning capability is shunned and they go into an ‘outrage’ mode and that’s why these news media uses such a title (For child’s passport, unwed mother needs to declare if she was raped: Centre to HC).

    The issue at hand is that biological fathers are disposable at the whims of biological mothers. That is the reality here but instead the focus is on her ‘feels’, rape and stuff. Rape can also result in child birth and if the woman in concern doesn’t want to include her rapist name, it should be allowed, is the concern of Purnima I guess. I don’t see any misogyny here?

    PS:- Misogyny is the hatred of women, questioning womens moral(moral policing, which is not done here) is not misogyny.

    1. Shivani

      The name of the advocate was not mentioned not to hide her gender but because it was not as a woman that she was being asked her view but as an advocate on behalf of government. Second the case in which these arguments took place was indeed one where the mother wanted that the name of the step father who is also the current guardian of the child be ‘included’ and the passport authority refused. Before venting out on women, you could have tried to understand the context of the case. Questioning women’s morals is no business of passport authority and neither is it yours. Without knowing the woman fighting the case you have already judged her to be spiteful… The objectivity in your arguments is just so visible !!! Lastly there is every reason to feel outraged by the term rape! Asking women to reveal rape in forms is also a breach of privacy provisions existing for rape victims.

    2. Templetwins

      The name of the advocate was not mentioned not to hide her gender but because it was not as a woman that she was being asked her view but as an advocate on behalf of government.

      On whose authority did she gave such an opinion? Was she being a mouthpiece for someone else? We have no such information, but what we do have is that you didn’t mention her name, which is what I was pointing out.

      Second the case in which these arguments took place was indeed one where the mother wanted that the name of the step father who is also the current guardian of the child be ‘included

      In countries like sweden, a woman automatically becomes a mother and a custodian for the child or children resulted from birth, whilst a man becomes a father and a custodian only if the mother approves it. As we cherry pick laws from western countries which are detrimental to the rights of the fathers (biological father), I was questioning the status quo of mothers who is willing to discard the biological father and choose which ever man she wishes as the father/guardian of the child.

      Before venting out on women, you could have tried to understand the context of the case.

      Oh I did understood the context, I was merely question this line of yours ‘, she can ask for the ‘inclusion’ or ‘exclusion’ of the father’s name’. This line reeks with hegemony of motherhood, which is what I want to point out. I used the term ‘biological father’ so I did understood the context well.

      Questioning women’s morals is no business of passport authority and neither is it yours. Without knowing the woman fighting the case you have already judged her to be spiteful…

      I don’t think anyone questioned her morals here and that is your take on it, my only point about it is that questioning a womans moral is not misogyny. I don’t care what you do, but if your actions are going to be detrimental to the rights of someone (biological fathers), then we ought to question it.

      Without knowing the woman fighting the case you have already judged her to be spiteful… The objectivity in your arguments is just so visible
      The objective of your arguments is the focus on your typical victim narrative while the rights of the biological fathers are under the bus.

      Lastly there is every reason to feel outraged by the term rape! Asking women to reveal rape in forms is also a breach of privacy provisions existing for rape victims.

      The names of the alleged rapists are often revealed and the names of the false accusers aren’t. That makes sociopaths to hide under victim pulpit and these special provisions masks their malice, so eff your provisions. If you don’t want to include the biological fathers name, you better have a good reason.

      http://i.imgur.com/A1Sbi9F.png

  2. irate_pirate

    Are single fathers too required to fill in the affidavit?

    1. Raeesa

      You, my friend, said it all.

  3. Paresh

    Utterly disgusting. This is a symptom of the fact that something deep within us is festering. I laud the author and the publishers for bringing this to the fore.

  4. amit

    The Point is valid. Govt Must clear why the heck they want this info.

    but my dear “sexual intercourse” is not the only way to conceive these days.. may be they want to know this fact?

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Taylor Guerrero

By Chiranshu Sihag

By ananya rajawat

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below