Beed: Lankabai Kharat, the 38-year-old woman from Beed, who was going to be a mother for the 21st time, recently had her baby but unfortunately, the newborn died shortly after. Working on a sugarcane farm in Karnataka, though in an advanced stage of pregnancy, Lankabai went into labour and gave birth on the farm.
She is married to Maloji Devidas Kharat and the couple have 11 surviving children -- nine daughters and two sons. Four of her daughters and a son are married and have children of their own.
The Kharats have been living for the last 12 to 15 years in the Kesapuri Camp area, Mazalgaon.
Lankabai has never had a hospital delivery. Though her name was registered with Asha (accredited social health activists) Swayamsevaks, she never received any medical services.
When the story of Lankabai's 21st pregnancy became known in September, authorities had her admitted to the district hospital. On September 9, doctors conducted a few tests on her and informed her that she would have to remain in the hospital under observation for two months.
But Lankabai expressed her inability to be hospitalised for so long, packed her bags and left after two days. "First of all, I am pregnant. Besides, I have six kids and a husband at home to take care of. While I am here under treatment, there is nobody to take care of the children and grandchildren," she said.
In 2018, she had given birth to a boy who died. With the 21st delivery, she has given birth twice in 18 months.
In Latur and Mazalgaon, families have 10-12 children on an average. Villagers of Kesapuri mostly belong to the Gopal community and travel from village to village, begging. The question of naming their numerous children arises, which results in the young ones being called 'Bhaaji', 'Bhaakri', 'Gaanja', 'Daaru', 'Goli', 'Banduk', 'Supari' and so on.