It’s the mother of all superstitions. Urban myth has it that giving birth in Tihar jail means a woman will necessarily be blessed with a son. Jail time, it is believed, will effectively wash away all her sins, guaranteeing a boy. Driven by this belief, a 39-year-old former inmate went for a desperate act to avoid a sixth daughter: she stole her employer’s gold bangles and Rs. 5,000 in cash when she was four months pregnant, reports Hindustan Times
The woman living in a Janakpuri slum said:
“No one forced me to steal and I didn’t need those items either, but having daughters is an expensive affair. At the end of the day, they have to go to someone else’s house. If I have a son, he will at least take care of me.”
Her wish, however, did not turn out as she would have liked. Though she managed to get herself arrested and sentenced, a four-month jail term was all she got. Released a month short of her due date, she delivered another baby girl.
The 39-year-old woman said:
“I have seen women whose sins were washed away when they spent time in Tihar and gave birth to boys. I was not so fortunate, but I have accepted it as God’s will.”
Several women, mostly from Delhi’s slum clusters, commit petty crimes to end up in Tihar just in time for childbirth, jail statistics show. Tihar received 120 pregnant inmates last year alone. Of the 120 children delivered, 82 were girls and 38 boys.
The rush of pregnant women pushed jail authorities to issue a circular to bust the myth. Despite that and the poster campaign, it may not be easy to shatter the myth.