Although many other factors do matter, the growth and decline of populations and changes in the relative balance between different groups within a population play a crucial role in the rise and fall of nations and civilizations. This is why active and alert societies, especially in modern times, keep a close eye on changing demographic trends within themselves as well as everywhere else in the world. We are one of the fastest growing nations in the world and expect to overtake China soon and as early as this census.
This is also a much older debate in India, but came to the fore again in 2019 when Prime Minister Narender Modi mentioned it in his Independence Day speech, which sparked the next round of this debate. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP, recently again discussed the need for population policy at his Akhil Bhartiya Karyakari Mandal. The latter is its second decision-making body.
The Sangh has long raised the issue of demographic imbalance. RSS sarkaryavaha (Secretary General) Dattatreya Hosabale spoke about population control and planning, stressing that the country has limited resources. Prior to this, RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat also spoke about this issue in his annual Vijayadashami address in 2022. RSS has been raising this issue since 2004. In 2004, the Sangh passed a resolution in his Akhil Bhartiya Karyakari Mandal after reviewing the results of the census carried out in 2001.
The resolution stated “that demographic changes lead to social and political changes, is a universally recognized fact. , need no outside example for this. The 2001 census only underlined the continuity of this process. He added that “11 states recorded a ten-year growth rate of more than 30% in the Christian population, while nine states recorded a ten-year growth rate of more than 30% in the Muslim population.”
Muslim intellectuals have long been in denial mode on the issue of the population explosion. But lately, some voices like former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi in his book, The Population Myth, while overlooking many facts, have attempted to portray the Islamic view of family planning from an unorthodox perspective. .
Quraishi concluded that the issue in question might not be considered a “Hindu versus Muslim” issue, but common to both communities and should be taken seriously. His call for Muslims to embrace family planning is a positive initiative. He also suggested a comprehensive communication strategy to promote family planning among Muslims.
However, in an attempt to defend the indefensible, he only looked at the organic growth of Muslims, ignoring other avenues, such as illegal immigration, infiltration and conversions. The border regions of Bangladesh, Assam and Nepal have seen an unprecedented increase in the Muslim population and the questions raised by this anomaly need to be answered. A few anecdotal pieces of evidence should also be discussed. In western UP, the Hindu population decreased by 2%, thus increasing the Muslim population.
The population ratio has undoubtedly changed, with a sharp increase in the percentage of Muslims in India from 9.8% in 1951 to 14.2% in 2011. And there has been a corresponding decrease in the Hindu population from 84% to 79.8%. % over the same period. It will be interesting to watch the latest numbers.
Another interesting fact is the increase in the Christian population, which could not be determined due to certain peculiarities. The demographic change by conversion is well noticed in Arunachal Pradesh, from 18.72% of Christians in 2001 to 30.26% in 2011. In Meghalaya, from 70.25% in 2001 to 74.59% in 2011. In Manipur, from 37.7% in 2001 to 41.29% in 2011, and in Sikkim from 6.7% in 2001 to 9.91% in 2011. It will be interesting to see the demographic change in the border state of Punjab, where Christian conversion would occur at a faster pace. Although the exact numbers cannot be determined due to a new class called “Crypto Christians”. Most Crypto Christians may not properly mention their religion when enumerating.
Historically, there have been reasons to plan and control population. In countries like China and Japan, the elderly have become a problem and governments must take care of the elderly. Due to demographic changes, new countries have been formed from countries like Indonesia and Sudan. India has a huge young population, which will eventually age, and planning must be done to take care of it as this population ages. The formulation of a comprehensive population policy is the need of the hour, and the current government is capable of doing so.
(The author is a columnist associated with the RSS)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of DH.