Pulling the trigger on sterilizations

Men in one Indian district are being offered a loaded weapon if they agree to unload another. Well, sort of.

A scheme that trades one male status symbol for another has achieved a large
rise in the number of men undergoing vasectomies in a bandit-ridden region
of central India.

Shivpuri district in the state of Madhya Pradesh, an overpopulated area
renowned for itsRifle machismo culture, has started to offer fast-tracked gun
licences for those who agree to be sterilised.

“This is a state with a high number of dacoits [bandits], where people like to
keep rifles,” Manish Shrivastav, the administrative chief of Shivpuri and
originator of the lateral thinking behind the plan, said.

“It also has a low level of vasectomies because of a perceived notion of
manliness. I decided to match that with a bigger symbol of manliness — a gun
licence. It has been a success.”

The results are impressive: 139 men have undergone vasectomies in the district
since the incentive of a firearms permit was introduced a month ago,
compared with only eight in 2007. [Link]

It must have been a tough choice for some men, deciding between the right to bear arms and the right to bear children. "Let me see … the gun will not take care of me in my old age, but on the other hand, I will very rarely have to wipe its underside."

As population-control strategies go, this one is ingenious. Not only are you getting men sterilized, so they won’t increase the population, you’re letting them have guns, so they might help decrease it.

Photo by Simonov

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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