Prof. Mohammad Salim Engineer
Rising population is being dubbed the cause for economic problems the world over. The entire world is concerned about it. Our Government too is taking the same stand and measures are being taken to control population. There may be the role of western countries and international institutions in the furtherance of this opinion. But I think governments talk of rising population to hide their failures. Otherwise we should be proud of population; it can be a strong and viable source of development.
The global population is nearing 8.0 billions. India is second only to China, reaching close to 1.4 billion. China’s population is 1.44 billion, just 4 crores higher than that of India. The margin of population between China and India is coming down at a very fast rate. It is expected that India’s population would exceed China’s in 2027, reaching to 1.47 billions. This is because China’s growth rate is only 0.39 per cent as compared to India’s growth rate of 0.99 per cent. This decline in growth rate of China’s population is mainly due to one-child policy enforcement in 1979. The fertility rate of China has come down after 1979, it is 1.69 as compared to 2.24 for India.
At present 65 per cent population of our country comprises below 35-year-old youth. They are our great strength. On the basis of this strength, we can establish our say in the world. Our youth are winning applauds by proving to the hilt their high calibre and talent in reputed universities and companies of the world. We can make these human resources the source of our development.
For example, we have plenty of barren lands and we also have human resources sufficient enough to make these lands useful. We can open up a new vista of development of the country by utilising these unused lands with the help of our youth power. Therefore, the Government’s plan of population control will not solve problems rather it will create problems and pave ways for moral and human devastation. As for the idea that population control will bring prosperity, it is an exercise in futility. On one occasion, Gandhiji said, “There is enough for everybody’s need and not for any body’s greed.”
The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh once said that the two-child norm will be brought in to strike a balance in all the communities. If there is indication towards the Muslim community in this statement, and such a baseless statement is dished out in the backdrop of the upcoming Assembly elections in UP to spread hatred against Muslims and to create a sense of fear in the majority community that ‘if Muslim population grows thus, Hindus will fall into minority’, this is illogical and a very dangerous agenda based on lies. This is because the population data available in the public domain says that the population growth rate in the Muslim community is less than that in many other communities.
The Census 2011 also shows the declining growth rate of Muslim population in comparison to that in the earlier Census. As for ‘striking a balance in all the communities’, the group opting for government jobs might pay heed to this law while those who do not want government jobs wouldn’t; thus the population growth rate among the educated will come down while it will increase among general people. It means the ratio of educated persons in the country will decrease in the long run. This aspect apparently would not have been out of the sight of the government. Then it means such a move is being hatched keeping in view the Assembly elections and the ruling party want to reap benefit therefrom. It is indeed unfortunate to take such anti-national measures just for temporary political gains.
The people who are at the helm of affairs in the country and who are ruling the roost are all wise persons. But they nurture anti-Muslim stance so deeply that they in spite of understanding the pros and cons of issues are unable to take right decisions and directing everything negative towards the Muslims so much so that even the development of the country and patriotism is measured in terms of anti-Muslim phobia. And the country as a whole is bearing its consequences. This is evident to show that the population control move has been advanced to reap political ends. Otherwise the truth remains that population has never been an obstacle in the way of prosperity rather it has been contributory to a prosperous economy.
It can be gauged with a comparative analysis of the period between 1950 and 2015. In 1950 the population of the country was 33 crores, which came at 131 crores in 2015. In comparison to the situation in 1950, the food production has increased five times, lifestyle has changed, job and self-employment opportunities have greatly augmented, poverty line has decreased. This shows that the real problem is not that of population, rather it is the issue of governments’ failure in utilising the large human resources for the development of the country with good planning. To take human resources as burden is manifestation of fault in the way of our thinking.
This law is also uncalled for in the sense that in the modern age youth remain immersed in settling their career up to the age of 30-35 years. Thus it is obvious that they start matrimonial life only thereafter. As they are educated and conscious, they do realise the impact of population on economy. Therefore, trying to bring in such a legislation to control population at a time when the culture of delaying marriage due to career compulsion and delaying of child birth by working couples would be much more dangerous. The fertility rate among the educated, professionals and working couples is coming down due to several factors. The institution of family and marriage is becoming weaker and weaker due to the culture of live-in relationship, decriminalisation of homosexual relationship and same sex marriage and other unnatural practices.
The legislation of such a law will create, besides other problems, a drastic change in the ratio of boys and girls in the country. In the society here, generally the birth of a boy is preferred over that of a girl. According to a report, five lakh fewer girls than boys are born here. When the population control law will be enacted, murder of female foetuses will increase and the whole society will fall prey to huge disproportion. Increase in abortion rate and female foeticide at large scale is the natural outcome of such an anti-nature measure. In India the male-female ratio is 108.18 to 100, which is poorer than China’s at 105.32 to 100. In the last 20 years almost 1.0 crore females have been stopped to take birth in India. It is a clear genocide of women.
Also, in the present times, we have been encountering ever newer diseases, pandemics and other natural calamities; it is owing to interference in the system and balance Nature needs to maintain. Therefore, legislating laws for population control and adopting unnatural methods will cause interference in the system and balance of Nature. Adopting such unnatural ways is tantamount to waging a war against Nature, the result of which will be very detrimental to society. Therefore, governments should keep from reaping temporary political ends by employing such uncalled for laws and having freed themselves from anti-Muslim stance should think of the welfare and development of the country. This will be good for the country.
In the last revelation to mankind, God commands: “Don’t kill your children due to fear of poverty, we provide for them and for you. Indeed their killing is ever a great sin.” (The Qur’ān – 17:31)
Human beings are not a liability rather they are invaluable assets and resources. The Last Prophet of Islam says: “The human beings are the mines of Gold and Silver.” This means that every individual is born with many inherent qualities and talents, which should be properly utilised for the benefit of humankind.
The countries which committed the blunder of controlling population are facing its consequences. Our neighbouring country, China enacted a coercive one-child law, but now sense has dawned upon them that it was terrible. Therefore, they are bringing in changes in this law. Japan, in spite of being a developed country, is worried about population decline. If its present diminishing population rate continues, it will come down to an alarming point.
Thus we see many of the countries are now taking the reverse measures to ensure increase in fertility rate. Therefore, we need to take lessons from western countries as well as China and Japan, and must not commit those blunders, which have almost demolished the family system and the institution of marriage. Our country should refrain from going on this path of social destruction.
[The writer is Vice President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind]