To keep a check on the rising population in Bharat, the proposed Bill pending in Parliament needs to have stricter provisions. The rapid rise in numbers of adherents of Islam due to appeasement politics of Congress is also an important factor for the rise in minority numbers in States like Assam and Bengal
India’s huge population is a burden
According to a new United Nations report, the world’s population is currently 7.7 billion and is expected to increase by 2 billion people in the next 30 years i.e. to 9.7 billion in 2050. Also, according to the World Population Prospects 2019 report released by the United Nations, the population of India is set to overtake that of China within a decade. India’s population in 2011 was 1.21 billion, against China’s 1.34 billion.
According to a statistical study made in June, 2020, India is home to about 1.38 billion people while China has about 1.44 billion people. China and India together account for about 36% of total world population and 67% of Asia’s population. The population of China is 59 million more than India. China is approximately 9,596,960 square km, while India is approximately 3,287,263 sq km. In comparison to land area of both the countries, China is 2.9 times bigger than India. With a study of the above statistical figures, by 2030 India can be projected to be the most populous country in the world. By an estimate made in September, 2019 on religion wise population growth rate in India for the bracketed period 2010-2050, India’s Muslim population would grow by 76% while Hindu population wou;d grow by 30%, and Christian population would be at below 20% . As such, the cause of this high population growth rate can be attributed to the high rate of Muslim population growth in India.
As per India’s population Census of 1951, India’s population figure was 361,088,090 , which was an increase by 42,427,510 than the 1941 Census figure of 318,660,580, i.e. an increase by 13.32%. A Census for the category of displaced persons was also made and according to that 7,226,000 Muslims left for Pakistan (East & West) & 7,249,000 Hindus and Sikhs moved into Indian territory after Partition.
In 1952 India created the National Family Planning Programme whose primary objectives were to lower fertility rates and slow down population growth as a means to propel economic development. But the Governments at the Centre and the States were not keen for successful promotion of the programme. Few of the elite section of people adopted the measure but the bulk of the population preferred to increase family members so as to strengthen workable manpower. The Governments at the Centre perennially failed to realise the danger of population explosion in a country like India with slow economic growth rate. The Congress Governments instead of being concerned for increased population, encouraged population growth to be used as vote banks to remain in power perennially. Being encouraged by Congress, the Muslim population of East Bengal origin termed the family planning measures of the government to be anti-Islamic and so they refrained from adopting family planning measures. Some orthodox Muslim leaders took the lead to misguide and instigate the Muslim populace not to cooperate with the Government’s family planning programme sequel to a greater world wide sinister plan for increase Muslim population in the Muslim minority countries, specially those run by democratic governments like India. This was encouraged mostly by some national and international Muslim organisations working against the interest of the Indian nation. There have been news reports that some Indian Muslim organisations are being funded by foreign organisations to carry on anti-national activities. Often national level Muslim leaders have been suspected of feeding their Muslim brothers with the idea that in a democracy like India, the greater is their population, the greater is their role to play in elections to grab political power since a voter’s eligibility to vote depends on his being adult in age only. So, the idea infested in the minds of the religious minority block of people that the only means of gaining political power is to elect leaders of their choice to the political forums and for that end in view they have to multiply their population . They are fed with the idea by their mentors that greater the population, greater the power in hand. Suspectedly, a sinister game plan is being worked out by some Islamic World Bodies for Islamisation of the non-Islamic nations like India.
The abnormal increase in population in a country like India is a very serious matter. Yet the men in the helm of governance were not at all concerned with the problem. For a country where more than 60% people are illiterate and economically backward, Government’s tough stand is needed to compel the people en masse to adopt the family planning measures. Just after Independence Government should have passed stringent family control laws as to restrict multiple births. but nothing was done by the successive Governments. Our neighbouring country China had rightly and timely realised that population growth hinders economic growth and development, and so in 1979, the Chinese government introduced the most crucial one family one child policy. China implemented the birth control programme strictly along with providing economic incentives to families with fewer children.
Muslims of Bengal
With population growth unchecked, other related health programmes are sure to suffer. In the words of our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji, while addressing the Nation on the Independence Day of 2019 – “Population explosion in the country will create various problems for the coming decades. Those who follow the policy of small family also contribute to the development of the nation. It is also a form of patriotism”. PM Modiji said – the aim of his government is to ensure ease of living in India along with ease of doing business.
The National Population Policy came into force in 2000 states that its immediate objective is to fulfil unmet needs for contraception, healthcare infrastructure, and health personnel, and to provide integrated service delivery for basic reproductive and child healthcare. Even though the national population policy was in force the governments’ lackadaisical attitude did not solve any purpose. The family planning programme was a total failure due to lack of earnestness on the part of the officials manning the department. It is said earlier that almost all the Muslims were not at all cooperative in the family planning programme as they thought it anti-Islamic to adopt family planning measure. On the other hand the idea of Islamisation of India by increasing Muslim population in the secular India is doing round in the minds of Islamist fundamental groups. Though, during the Emergency declared on 25th June, 1975 by the then President Fakruddin Ali Ahmed at the instance of Indira Gandhi led to oppressive rule by putting in jail many opposition leaders on flimsy grounds, yet the coercive sterilisation measures to implement family planning programme by the late Sanjay Gandhi was a right step against the people showing defiance to family planning programme.
Fortunately, the present Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji has rightly realised the gravity of the population explosion in India. All Government Schemes and Programmes cannot be implemented properly because of the problem of overpopulation. Overpopulation entails corruption and anarchy among masses. Economy of the country cannot cope with the needs and aspirations of the outnumbered populace. Our PM during his 2019 Independence day address to the nation cautioned the nation of the new challenges for coming generations due to population explosion. He emphasised on Central and State Governments’ launching of programmes to deal with it effectively. The Prime Minister gave vent to his sense of patriotism saying that an endeavour to control population growth is a kind of patriotism. Because of his concern for overpopulation in the country, the Population Control Bill, 2019 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha through Rakesh Sinha, MP in July 2019. The purpose of the bill is to control the population growth of India. The proposed bill was signed by 125 MPs. However, it is yet to become a law. On 7 February 2020, a Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was proposed in the Rajya Sabha by Anil Desai, MP. He proposed to amend the Article 47 of the Constitution of India and introduce an Article 47A of the Constitution to state – “The State shall promote small family norms by offering incentives in taxes, employment, education etc. to its people who keep their family limited to two children and shall withdraw every concession from and deprive such incentives to those not adhering to small family norm, to keep growing population under control.” The Bill proposes to introduce a two child policy per couple and aims to incentivize its adoption through various measures such as educational benefits, taxation cuts, home loans, free healthcare, and better employment opportunities. The 2019 bill also talks about introducing penalties for couples not adhering to the two child policy such as debarment from contesting elections and ineligibility for government jobs.
Opinions are expressed in different circles for the solution of the problem of over population. According to some empowering women, promotion of family planning, making education entertaining and government incentives may be the solutions to overpopulation. In my view, family planning cannot be left to the choice of the married couples. A China type strict rule or regulation is needed for controlling population explosion. The proposed Bill pending in the Parliament may also need to be rectified by introducing stricter provisions like compulsory sterilisation after a birth, compulsory abortion in case of pregnancy after two births and punishment for long term jail for rule breakers. Another important thing is that once the rule or regulation is made that must be implemented with right earnest. The officials responsible for execution must be accountable and any slackness on their part must be promptly and effectively dealt with. In India, crores of rupees have been spent in the name of family planning programme with only a negligible result.
I take it as an obligation on my part to specifically mention the problem of population explosion faced by the Indian State of Assam. In the beginning of the 20th century the undivided Assam comprising all the North Eastern States of today was a very sparsely populated State. The population of Brahmaputra valley basically consisted of people following the Hindu way of life, and people of various tribal groups whose culture was not very different with those of others adopting Hindu way of life, while the Barak valley comprising the present districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi (the part was separated from East Bengal and amalgamated with Assam at the time of Independence) was inhabited mostly by people of Islamic religion.
The Government of India Act 1935 made provisions for a Legislative Assembly for each of the Indian State, and as a result the Assam Legislative Assembly came into being on the day of its first sitting on April 7, 1937 at Shillong, the erstwhile capital of the composite State of Assam. It was to Assam’s misfortune that Maulavi Mahammad Sadulla became the first Premier of Assam. Though in September, 1938 the Premiership went into the hands of an Assamese Sri Gopinath Bordoloi, he too was dislodged by Mahammad Sadulla after a year and came to power in November, 1939 again and remained in power till Independence. Mahammad Sadulla, being a most communal minded leader, was responsible for importing lakhs of Muslims from East Bengal with the plea of growing more food by agricultural farming. The flow of immigrant Muslims continued unabated and thus Assam which was a thinly populated State became the most populous State in India later on with great number of new Muslim settlers.
The Partition of India carved out a separate territory by the name of Pakistan for Muslims only, while India declaring itself a secular country gave an additional opportunity to Muslims to stay back in India and also the Muslims to migrate to India at their choice from the territory marked out as Pakistan. Though there was movement of people from either of the two newly created territories of India and Pakistan initially, most of the Muslims who left Indian territory for Pakistan had migrated back again to India. The Indian Constitution which was adopted on the 26th day of November, 1949 vide its Article 5, 6,7,8,9 and 10 defined who would be considered as a citizen of India. The Article 6 of the Constitution clearly mentioned that those who migrated to Pakistan but returned back to India on or before the 19th day of July, 1948 would be considered as Indian citizens. This constitutional provision was ignored and no sincere effort was made to implement the mandate of the Constitution by the successive Congress governments in the Centre and the State. Migration to India continued after the said cut off date and the Government did not have a record of such illegal entrants. The abnormal increase of population led the Assam Students Union to launch the agitation to detect and deport the illegal migrants back to Bangladesh (former East Pakistan). The agitation resulted in signing of the Assam Accord in 1985, but the Accord proved to be of no use due to its ambiguousness of certain provisions, and also the lack of sincerity in implementing the provisions. The Accord was a faulty document so far as it made the 24th March,1971 as the cut off date for illegal migrants to be considered as Indian citizens, against the constitution mandated cut off date of 19th July, 1948 for migrants back to India from erstwhile Pakistan (later Bangladesh). The result is that the illegal immigrant population figure back in 1979, the year the agitation was started, has increased manifold today after 36 years of signing the Assam Accord. It would be relevant to cite a statistical data of religion wise population growth of Assam herewith: According to 1971 Census, Muslim population was 24.56% of Assam’s total population, while in 1991 census it rose to 28.43% of Assam’s total population. Again in 2011 Census, the total population of Assam was 31,205,576, of which 10,679,345 were Muslim population, i.e. against 61% of Hindus there was 34.22% of Muslims. Observing the trend of higher Muslim population growth rate, the Muslim population in 2021 Census will certainly cross 40% and by 2031 Census the figure may touch half of the Assam’s total population.
In the premises stated above, the Central Ministry of Health ( handling population matters) and the Ministry of Home Affairs are urged to consider the problem of Population Explosion in Assam especially, along with serious attention to the population growth in entire
India, and take the best of measures warranted to solve the problem.
(The writer is advocate Gauhati High Court and member of Editorial Board of English weekly Ishan Darpan)