Why many women in Maharashtra’s Beed district have no wombs

Lakhs of men and women from the Marathwada region migrate to work as cane cutters between October and March - RAJENDRA JADHAV

“You will hardly find women with wombs in these villages. These are villages of womb-less women,” says Manda Ugale, gloom in her eyes. Sitting in her tiny house in Hajipur village, in the drought-affected Beed district of Maharashtra’s Marathwada region, she struggles to talk about the painful topic.

Women in Vanjarwadi, where 50 per cent of the women have had hysterectomies, say that it is the “norm” in villages to remove the uterus after having two or three children.

The majority of these women are cane cutters and migrate to the sugar belt of western Maharashtra during the cane cutting season; with the drought intensifying, the number of migrants multiplies. “The mukadam (contractor) is keen to have women without wombs in his group of cane cutters,” says Satyabhama, another cane-cutter.