Written by a law enforcement officer by profession, this book is a topical study of the political scene in contemporary India.
Demography has always played a vital role in the history of mankind. Auguste Comte, the French philosopher of 19th century, had remarked, ?Demography is destiny?. Demographic changes have been a source of progress as well as destabilisation and decimation of many a country and civilisation.
India'ssecurity has been its Achilles? heel, leading to extended periods of subjugation and exploitation by invaders from outside. This has been because India has never paid adequate attention to domestic cohesion and consolidation since Independence. Broadly speaking, India'sprincipal interests are to safeguard its territorial integrity, aim to be a dominant influence in the Indian Ocean, and craft an international role commensurate with its size and capabilities. Of greater interest is the need to ensure stability in its patterns of demographic growth for internal security. Any country'sinternal security would be seriously undermined if there were rapid changes in terms of ethnicity, religion, race or culture. It would spur national and provincial problems, and embolden hostile States to consciously seek to exploit the changes in order to weaken Indian security. At the root of the various insurgencies prevailing in the north-east is ethnic discontent and antagonism over rapid demographic changes due to the influx of immigrants from Bangladesh and other Indian states. The Assamese students? movement began in response to such an influence.
The author discusses threadbare the Census 2001 whose data confirm two worst fears of the ?nation'sconcerned population-watchers?. First, the percentage growth of Muslims has been galloping ahead ever since Independence and their growth rate is now higher by almost 45 per cent than that of the Hindus. Second, this trend of increasing growth rate of Muslims is likely to pick up more speed and ?culminate in a dramatically higher growth? decade after decade, which is likely to continue for the next 40 to 50 years!
The author has a valid point when he says that countries with a higher proportion of a young and economically active population are able to achieve a higher rate of economic growth compared to nations which have a higher proportion of an ageing population. But the economically active population must be educated and sufficiently skilled. An illiterate and unskilled population incapable of earning livelihood for itself through economically productive effort is a liability.
Ohri says that the Hindus, who are now approaching the one billion mark, will become a helpless minority within the next five or six decades. He points out that in several parts of India, especially in states like Assam, Tripura, West Bengal and Bihar, the Hindu population will get drastically reduced and the ?community will come under increasing squeeze year after year,? if the government of the day does not wake up. This would lead to flaring up of tensions and cause a sharper communal divide. This is already in evidence in Assam, some adjoining states of the north-east, West Bengal and Bihar.
Talking of doctoring of population data, Ohri says that the sharp increase in the Muslim growth rate as revealed by the Census 2001 is an established fact and the truth ?is a red rag to politicians of our country trying to usurp power by recourse to vote-bank strategy.? When the Census data was revealed by the Registrar, J.K. Banthia, it created quite an uproar and the Central Government forced him to make certain ?unwarranted changes?. He has every right to ask, ?Why was not the same dubiously ingenious method of arriving at the ?adjusted? data applied at the time of analysing the1991 Census figures? What is the legal and moral justification for omitting the headcount of Jammu & Kashmir and Assam forming more than 3.6 per cent to the county'spopulation from the analysis of the 2001 Census? Are the two states of Jammu & Kashmir and Assam not part of India? Are more than 3.6 crore people living in the two states not Indian?
The author rightly feels that it is time the government as well as the people, especially the top politicians and educated classes, started viewing the phenomenon of skewed population growth of India'sreligious groups in the global context.
The other major highlight of the book is the damage caused to good governance by the lengthening shadow of parochial politics ?supported by radical Islam and myopic Leftist leadership?. The emergence of several casteist parties and regional satraps functioning in tandem with self-seeking Leftist groups has systematically undermined most democratic institutions.
The book, in short, is sounding the alarm bell by warning that unless effective remedial measures are initiated, India?the only bulwark of secularism pitted against jehadist Islam in South Asia?stands marked as the next civilisational battleground.
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