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Mother of 25 kids becomes Nepal''s new ''heroine''
Published on 13 Dec. 2009 11:04 PM IST
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Unable to read or write and extremely poor, Santkumari Pariyar seems an unlike heroine. But the story of the village woman of uncertain age is making ripples in Nepal after a chance encounter led a filmmaker to train his camera on Santkumari and her family. It is a large family. Besides her husband Jitman, the couple have eight children. The size of the family would have been larger still had all the children survived. In her 27 years of marriage, a stoical Santkumari bore her husband 25 children, only eight of whom have survived. Though the Pariyars live in Dhading district in central Nepal, close to capital Kathmandu, very little of the government's benefits have trickled down to them. Let alone education, neither husband nor wife knew about planned parenthood and safe motherhood though Nepal's government has been spending millions of rupees on campaigns to promote family planning as well as mother and child health care. On Friday, Santkumari blushed and hid her face while watching a film on her own life in Kathmandu. "Mother of 25", a documentary by Ramesh Khadka, was screened in the capital as part of the five-day Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival that brings to the capital 59 films from 26 countries. Santkumari, her husband and their 25th child Ganesh, were brought to Kathmandu to watch the film. After the end of the 40-minute documentary, the trio were surrounded by filmgoers who wanted to know why they hadn't resorted to family planning. "We didn't know," the shame-faced couple said. "We came to know it was possible to stop the birth of children only after a neighbour mocked us and asked us to go for family planning."

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