Hindu nationalists are trying to create designer babies that are fair, strong, and smart

Perfect babies.
Perfect babies.
Image: Reuters/Andrey Kasprishin
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

The health wing of the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has an astonishing plan to use eugenics to help dark-skinned Indians produce fair and lovely children.

The Garbh Vigyan Sanskar (pregnancy science culture) project claims to use a combination of Ayurvedic herbs and practices, dietary regulation, and other prescriptions to “purify” the sperm and eggs of interested potential parents and create uttam santati—perfect progeny—with light skin and a high IQ, according to a report in The Indian Express newspaper. The plan was launched in Gujarat over a decade ago and has been expanding to other states since 2015. Currently, there are 10 branches that promote the service in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, and more are expected to open up in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, the report said.

“Ayurveda has all the details about how we can get the desired physical and mental qualities of babies. IQ is developed during the sixth month of pregnancy. If the mother undergoes specific procedures, like what to eat, listen and read, the desired IQ can be achieved. Thus, we can get a desired, customised baby,” Karishma Mohandas Narwani, the national convener of the project, told the newspaper. “Our main objective is to make a samarth Bharat (strong India) through uttam santati. Our target is to have thousands of such babies by 2020,” she added.

The project claims to be able to repair genes to prevent “defects” from being passed on, and says it has helped produce 450 super-babies so far.

According to Narwani, the RSS’s health wing has already organised a number of seminars and counselling sessions to promote the project in Delhi and Mumbai, as well as in towns such as Udupi in Karnataka and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. On May 07, the Calcutta high court permitted the group to hold a session in Kolkata, without taking any money from clients, despite opposition from the state’s commission for protection of child rights; as many as 50 couples had reportedly signed up to attend. The group’s plan is to have a facilitation centre to offer such sessions and services in every state of the country by 2020.

“The parents may have lower IQ, with a poor educational background, but their baby can be extremely bright,” Hitesh Jani, the national convener of the RSS’s health wing, the Arogya Bharati, told the Indian Express. “If the proper procedure is followed, babies of dark-skinned parents with lesser height can have fair complexion and grow taller.”

This is in line with the RSS’s dedicated, decades-long project to “purify” the country, making India a nation for a very specific type of Hindu Indian alone. It also fits with the Hindu right’s historical appreciation for the efforts of Hitler in Nazi Germany. In the 1930s, as that country embarked on a horrifying and destructive project to improve the stock of population and create an Aryan super-race, a number of Indians, who identified as Aryan descendants, roundly supported and celebrated Hitler’s eugenics project.