Rashtriya Scaremongers Sangh!


Recently, when Sakshi Maharaj, Vasudev called upon Hindus to start having four and ten kids respectively, Hindus were awefully shocked, and muslims started counting themselves.

The RSS fear is that Hindus will become a minority in India in the not-too-distant future. This rests on a number of population myths the RSS has assiduously been propagating over the years. These myths are ridiculous to the rational mind.

“…in 2035, Muslim will become absolute majority in India (total population: 197.7 crore).
•No birth control… are being the major tools for Muslim to reach that figure within the said period,” says the RSS website.

Are Muslims particularly prone to explosive population growth?

Countries with the largest Muslim populations show otherwise. But that is rational chutzpah. How does one address the fear that a man marrying multiple women would lead to a rise in the population (never mind that data shows more polygamous Hindus than Muslims.

Population growth depends on the number of children each woman has, whether from one man or many. The measure that demographers use for the purpose is the total fertility rate, TFR. It is the number of children that would be born to a woman if she were to live to the end of her childbearing years and bear children in accordance with current age specific fertility rates. If a woman has two children over her lifetime, these two would replace herself and her husband when they pass on, neither depleting the population nor adding to it.

However, given the likelihood of some children not living to adulthood, the TFR that is required to achieve replacement has to be marginally higher and is generally accepted as 2.1.

Global Trend

As societies become more prosperous, healthy and women gain agency and more and more control over their own lives, their TFR comes down. This is so, regardless of religion or geography. It used to be thought that Catholics would resist contraception. Devoutly catholic Spain and italy today have a TFR of 1.2, tying with Hong Kong us among countries.

Poorer regions tend to have higher TFRs. But poverty is not the only determinant of¤
people’s decisions on how many children to have.

Cultural values and practices matter a lot. But no Muslim country is immune to the larger trend. TFR has been declining in every major Muslim nation. It is below the replacement level in Iran. Indonesia and Bangladesh are fast approaching that level. Bangladesh’s TFR of 2.2 in 2011 is significantly lower than India’s 2.7.

And in India, backward states like Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh still have high TFRs: 3.5, 4.2 and 3.6 respectively.

Goa (1.5), Kerala (1.6), TamilNadu (1.6), Puducherry1.6 have TFRs significantly below the replacement level. Soon, their populations will stop growing – as past young cohorts enter the reproductive age, population will continue to grow for some time – and they can soon apply for UN funds for endangered species. Does Muslim populations will stabilise at the same rate as Hindu ones? It does not. To the extent cultural and religious factors inhibit progress of the global trend for TFR to fall with social development, the pace of change will vary.

In Kerala, in Muslim majority Malappuram district, the TFR has dropped only to 2.2 even as it has been coming down. At the same time, in Muslim majority Lakshadweep and several districts of Jammu
and Kashmir, the TFR is below the replacement level.

RSS’ Irrational Fears:

What of the RSS fear of Muslims becoming more than half of India’s population by 2035?

To make this claims, its number crunchers have to project a total population of 198 crore by 2035. By most estimates, India’s population
would peak at 154Cr by 2050. The simple extra populations used for demographic scare mongering have no basis in science. To the extent social backwardness has been identified as the reason for high TFRs, whether in regions or in communities, the need is to invest more in things that create development: Skills, awareness, education, health, roads, power. But any move to step up investment in Muslim majority areas, as the Planning Commission has messed, is immediately branded as minority appeasement by the Sangh Parivar.

India cannot progress as a nation with the Sangh brand of scaremongering about the nation’s largest minority moving from the fringes of national consciousness righyt to the centre.

…shabab khan blog

About Shabab Khan

A Journalist, Philanthropist; Author of 'The Magician', 'Go!', 'Brutal'. Being a passionate writer, I am into Journalism and writing columns, news stories, articles for top media houses. Twitter Handle:@khantastix khansworld@rediffmail.com
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