Mangalam, a newspaper published from Kerala – one of India’s most literate states – has offered its readers “scientifically proven” advice on how to conceive a boy. The advice includes eating plenty of mutton, never skipping breakfast and always sleeping with face turned leftwards.

The report, carried in Tuesday’s edition of the newspaper published from Kottayam in Kerala, did not explain why the advice was “scientific.” But it did expose the society’s and perhaps also its own preference for male children.

The report advised couples desiring a boy to religiously include mutton, dry grapes and salty food in their diet. It also advised them to attempt procreation on only the first, third, fifth or seventh days of the week, when sperm were “scientifically” shown to be stronger. Women should sleep with their faces turned leftwards and also facing west simultaneously.

The article, however, added in passing that these methods might not assure 100 percent success. This is because “even science cannot discount for those rare anomalies.” On Friday the British newspaper Guardian lunched a scathing attack against the report.

The column was translated from Malayalam by the Indian feminist website Ladies Finger, which recommended the advice to its readers with a sarcastic comment: “especially if, God forbid, the blood moon sacrifices conducted by your extended family for a male heir haven’t worked out yet”.

A preference for boys ingrained in India’s culture results in thousands of girls to be aborted each year. India has a heavily distorted gender ratio. According to latest reports, 940 girls are born each year for every 1,000 boys. The disparity is worst in Haryana, where just 830 girls are born for every 1,000 boys.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has often been vocal against the practice of female foeticide, comparing it with Ravana, a demon king from Hindu scripture. He has even equated sex-selection with terrorism and has lunched the Beti bachao, beti padhao (Save girl child, educate girl child) scheme with an initial corpus of Rs 100 crore.