Mother of seven dies after failing to produce son

A woman in India’s eastern state of Orissa died of a heart attack after giving birth to her seventh daughter, and her husband said it was in dismay at not having had a son, a newspaper said Friday.

A woman in India’s eastern state of Orissa died of a heart attack after giving birth to her seventh daughter, and her husband said it was in dismay at not having had a son, a newspaper said Friday.

Kadambini Jena, 35, who was married to a businessman in the village of Bhogara, had a heart attack within hours of delivering her seventh daughter, The Times of India said.

“She used to offer prayers to god every day. She was expecting a son this time,” the daily quoted her husband, Fakir Jena, as saying. “But when she learned that her seventh child, too, was a daughter, she could not bear it. She sobbed for nearly two hours and suddenly collapsed,” Fakir said.

The newspaper quoted a doctor in Bhogara as saying Kadambini suffered a cardiac arrest within hours of delivering the baby.

Many Indian families prefer sons to daughters, and women often have many children to have at least two sons.

Girls are often seen as burdens on families, requiring huge dowries, which many poor families can ill afford.

The discrimination against girls can begin in the womb, with expectant mothers using ultrasound scans to determine the sex of their foetuses and abort females. While sex-determination tests are illegal in India, they are readily available and have caused a resulting skew in the ratio of males and females in many parts of India.

In Bhogara, villagers said Fakir had blamed his wife for the couple’s failure to have a son.

“Fakir used to pester his wife for a boy,” said Sarojini, a neighbour who uses only one name.

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