*From political point of view, introduction of population control bill just before the elections in Uttar Pradesh is largely believed to be a communal ploy to unite Hindus behind BJP.
*In social terms, introduction of population control bill may also be an attempt to keep the population of low caste Hindus, especially Dalits in control.
*Studies by organisations monitoring food production have been categorical in proving that the rise in food production in the last seven decades has been greater than the rise in population.
*What is needed is the proper distribution in order to decrease all kinds of inequalities. Population Management rather than Population Control should be the ultimate aim.
Dr. Javed Jamil
MANGALORE—Two-child policy imposition through law appears to be the latest agenda of BJP state governments. After ban on “Love Jihad”, this appears to be another attempt to ensure that the domination of Hindus, especially the upper caste Hindus continues. In fact, the Hindutva is primarily a Baniyawaadi agenda, which has little to do with the basics of Hindu Dharma and is largely interested in the economic domination of business community, which in India largely means Vaish community commonly known as Baniyas.
ATTEMPT TO CONTROL DALIT POPULATION
While, from political point of view, introduction of this bill just before the elections in Uttar Pradesh is largely believed to be a communal ploy to unite Hindus behind BJP; in social terms, it may also be an attempt to keep the population of low caste Hindus, especially Dalits in control. They may feel concerned not only about a slightly higher population growth rate of Muslims but also a higher growth rate of the scheduled castes. See the following report published in the Times of India:
“Four states account for nearly half of the country’s Dalit population, reveals the 2011 census. Uttar Pradesh stands first with 20.5% of the total scheduled caste (SC) population, followed by West Bengal with 10.7%, says the data released by the Union census directorate on Tuesday. Bihar with 8.2% and Tamil Nadu with 7.2 % come third and fourth. Dalits form around 16.6% of India’s population. The 2011 census recorded nearly 20.14 crore people belonging to various scheduled castes in the country. As per the 2001 census, the number was 16.66 crore. The Dalit population showed a decadal growth of 20.8%, whereas India’s population grew 17.7% during the same period.” (“Half of India’s Dalit population lives in 4 states”: Times of India; B Sivakumar May 2, 2013).
It can be argued that purely in terms of caste/communal equations; it will ultimately boomerang on Hindus, as the combined population of SCs and OBCs is much higher than that of Muslims. But it is exactly what the Hindutva is more concerned about. While on one hand, they do not want Muslims to prosper, they are also keen to maintain superiority of Upper Castes in general and Baniyas in particular within the Hindu community. The proposed Bill by Uttar Pradesh Government will serve both their purposes. On the ground of this policy, they want to reserve more and more seats in colleges, jobs and administration for upper castes. Already, through the privatisation of education, they have created a massive reservation for themselves, as it is mainly the children belonging to the upper castes who have enough riches to send their children in private colleges.
IT WILL BE HIGHLY DAMAGING
Even in terms of human values and health, the effects of the policy will be highly damaging. First, it will lead to sharp increase in abortions in general and female foeticide in particular. Both are already high in many parts of the country. With fewer women, long term effects can be highly dangerous leading to more polyandry and promiscuity. Second, family system will get increasingly weakened with more and more people indulging in promiscuous life. This in turn will lead to more sex transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, which still kills more than 2 million every year in the country.
The policy of severely strict population has already started boomerang in many countries. China has already abandoned its one-child policy and people can now have three children. In Western societies, population growth is already negative and with homosexuality on rise it is bound to worsen more. They are relying on migration from other countries. This trend will continue to rise. Till now, people from countries like India and other third world countries have been providing a sizeable chunk of this migrant population in Western countries. In countries like the US and Canada, already people of Indian origin are making their presence felt through their achievements in various fields. With strict two-child policy, Indians will lose this advantage.
HINDUTVA HELPING BANIYAS
As I have argued previously also, Hindutva is mainly helping Baniyas, both in terms of caste domination (Vaish) and in business terms (businessmen). In Indian terms, my now well-known phrase of “economic fundamentalism” can easily be translated into “Baniyawaad” and Baniyas as the biggest economic fundamentalists. Brahamainwaad represented dominance of the power of “knowledge”; Baniyawaad represents dominance of the power of “money”.
It has been rather a fashion for long to say that Brahamins and Brahaminwaad continue to rule the country and it is they who are responsible for the majority of the problems of the country, especially the plight of the deprived sections of society. We have failed to realise that the balance has changed quite some time back. While the Upper Caste Hindus continue to monopolise India’s socio-economic structure and their hegemony is ever on the rise, it is not Brahamins and Brahaminwaad but Baniyas (Vaishyas) and Baniyawaad that now reign supreme.
All the propaganda about “Appeasement” of Muslims, and to a lesser extent about the schemes favouring Dalits and OBC Hindus, emanate from the desire to continue the centuries-old domination of Upper Caste Hindus. In the remote past, Kshatriyas ruled with the help of the intellectual power of Brahamins and the Money Power of Baniyas (Vaishyas). Then Brahamins started ruling the country with the help of the money power of Baniyas and the Muscle power of Kshatriyas. More recently, Baniyas have taken the reins in their hands turning Democracy into Corporatocracy, with the help of the intellectual power of a section (not all) of Brahamins and the muscle power of Kshatriysa. This is the most dangerous phase because when the money rules, morality soon gets cremated with full honours.
RESERVATION FOR THE RICH
Not only the consumer industry is largely controlled by the Baniyas, even education industry is dominated by them. The mushrooming of tens of thousands of private institutions of all kinds in the country has introduced another kind of Reservation – the Reservation for the Rich, which again hit the Muslim community in a big way because less number of Muslims is likely to be able to pay the exorbitant fees that good private institutions demand. Privatisation has also benefited Upper Caste Hindus on business front in a big way. Through them they earn huge money and get their children highly educated. And of course they get most of the jobs in private companies.
The role of Baniyas is also getting increasingly high in politics. While Congress had more Brahamins than Baniyas, the BJP and its sister organisations are now being driven by the Baniyas. It is they who are running the BJP show. Hindutvawad is nothing but a movement that seeks economic and political hegemony of Baniyas through polarisation of politics on communal grounds.
The international population control campaign was in itself a market-driven programme. It may be true that the population is growing at a rate considered fast by the experts. It may also be true that such rapid growth of population escalates several problems. If the infectious diseases cause mortality and morbidity at alarming rates, mothers still die during deliveries, a sizeable percentage of infants do not remain alive to celebrate their first birthday and out of the rest many more die in their paediatric age owing to lack of nutritious food and unavailability of good medical care and cities are becoming overcrowded, the population growth may be a significant contributory factor.
But there are other factors related with the issues that are conveniently forgotten. Disinformation is generously used to further the birth control programme. For example, the impression has been usually disseminated that a steep rise in population would create shortage of food. The studies by the organisations monitoring food production have been categorical in proving that the rise in food production in the last seven decades has been greater than the rise in population. If the people still starve, it is because the food is not allowed to reach them. It can be said with confidence that if the distribution of food becomes equitable, no human being on earth will remain hungry.
The earth allows birth of only as many humans as it can sustain. The economic fundamentalists know this. This is why some economists have gone to the extent in their argument that increase in food production must not be allowed to occur because if the food production rises, the population will naturally expand to consume it. It can therefore be the reason why food is not allowed to reach all the corners of the earth; if it reaches all humans, it would save many lives from starvation. This would obviously cause an increase in population. Once there are no more deaths owing to starvation, the drive for population control will receive further setback. Why exactly the economic fundamentalists seek to keep population under control is explained below.
TOTAL BIO-MASS OF EARTH REMAINS SAME
Another point that has entirely been missed is that the total bio-mass of the earth remains the same. If the human population grows, the population of animals would decrease; and if the human population is reduced by natural or artificial means, the animal population would increase. The question arises: should we reduce the number of human beings and increase the population of beasts? If the human population has always continued to increase, it is because Nature wants to replace the less developed creatures with the better developed. Should we endeavour to interfere with this natural phenomenon?
Similarly, in order to popularise family welfare programmes, advertisements suggest that early marriage is detrimental to the health of the girl. This again may be disputable; if Nature has made her physically capable to reproduce, the probability of damage to her body would be minimal, provided of course she takes adequate diet and receives appropriate medical care, which is essential as well for older mothers.
Conversely, it has been very well documented by gynaecologists that the chances of congenital abnormalities in children and certain kinds of malignancies (cancers) of women rise with increase in the age of mothers. The best period for procreation is below thirty. Family welfare programmes are definitely worth following as far as their objective is to save mothers and children from diseases and death; proper spacing is essential; avoidance of pregnancies in mothers who are ill or when their other children are not healthy and if the income of the family is too meagre to sustain a large family is also understandable.
But is the programme really aimed at alleviating the problems of the common people? Unfortunately, not. There is much more to what meets the eyes. Behind the “mercifulness” for the poor are several undeclared motives.
ATTEMPT TO DIVERT PEOPLE’S ATTENTION
One, by fixing the blame of every problem of the world on the population growth, the economic fundamentalists are able to divert the attention of the people from their own sinister games that are in truth responsible for sweeping poverty. When less than five per cent have more than 90 per cent of the country’s income (and wealth) in India, for example, how a growth of less than two per cent per annum is going to aggravate the problems?
Despite the high rate of population growth, the country has become self-reliant in food production and is now in a position to export it. Yet poverty haunts about half of the nation. Even if the population growth becomes zero, with the continuous flow of wealth from the poor to the rich and from the richer to the richest, would the situation show any signs of improvement even in decades?
The situation warrants harsh measures and requires that the holders of the 90 per cent of wealth of the country are made, either through force or through change in policies, to share the benefits of their wealth with the rest of the countrymen. It is not the explosion of “population bomb” but that of the bomb of myth that frightens the economic fundamentalists; lest the people should know the truth, it is better to keep them engaged in debates on the adverse effects of population growth.
Two, big industries know that a big family uses a big portion of its income in purchasing food items. Rest is utilised in purchasing clothes that too are usually of cheap variety produced by small industries. Little money is left with it to buy costly consumer goods manufactured by the big industry. It tends to assist agricultural growth (and that of small scale industry) at the cost of industrial growth. It is essential therefore that the size of the family remains small so that it can save enough money to bestow on big industries.
Three, the popularisation of contraceptive devices through promotion of small family norms is a great boon for industrialists. Through these programmes, men and women are informed and conditioned with the use of methods for avoiding unwanted pregnancies. This awareness helps the commercial sex. If women had not become fearless on this account, promiscuity could never have become common. Furthermore, through the marketing of various contraceptive devices, the industries earn billions.
Fourth, encouraging men and women to marry as late as possible again immensely benefits the market, including sex market. Young working women in big numbers means opportunities for dating, which helps food, fashion, hotel and many other industries. Sex market too thrives. For the sustenance of the flesh-trade, demand and supply are essential; and if the people start marrying as soon as they attain puberty, the market would take a nosedive. It is hardly surprising therefore that, to achieve success in population control, encouragement to promiscuity has been advanced by the Western experts as a method to discourage people from early marriage.
It is also for the same reason that the so-called champions of human rights do never raise their voice against the killing of millions of children by way of abortion every year. The truth is that the so-called family welfare programmes are aimed at the disintegration of the family system because the family system is not consistent with the “development” model. The weaker the family system the more likely the members of the family are to spend money in the consumer and sex-market helping the “development” in the process.
What is needed is the proper distribution in order to decrease all kinds of inequalities. Population Management rather than Population Control should be the ultimate aim. Even if population growth becomes zero, the problems will not ease. Big cities are getting increasingly crowded not mainly because of population growth but because of the migration from the rural to urban and from smaller cities to bigger cities. Unless massive Rural Development programmes are not devised, the problems will not cease. And, of course, massive efforts and harsh steps are needed to reverse the rising Economic Inequality. There are many ways but the most effective way will be to replace Income Tax and GST with the Wealth Tax.
REALISE DESIGNS OF FORCES OF HEGEMONY
Specifically coming to India, it is high time the country understood the designs of the forces of Hegemony. Baniyawaad needs to be confronted in its ideological as well as practical forms. For this, all the right thinking persons will have to unite. The protagonists of Hindutva should know that Dalits, OBCs and most Muslims not only belong to the same class and have common ancestral roots but also share similar beliefs regarding secularism, justice and equality.
Together these classes constitute around 90 per cent of India, and you like it or not, it is they along with a large number of those upper caste members, who value secularism, equality and justice, who will play a dominant role in future India and will outsmart the forces of monopolisation. Two-Child Policy needs to be abandoned without delay. If upper castes are so wary of the decrease in their percentage in population, they must first aggressively address the horrendous issue of Female Foeticide. With two-child policy, Female/Male ratio will further suffer. The Equal Right to be born is the first right of equality that needs to be restored to women without wasting any more time. It is already late.
*DR. Javed Jamil, a physician, is chairman of the Chair in Islamic Studies and Research at Yenepoya University, Mangalore, Karnataka.