Muslims are the fastest-growing community in the world. The growth rate of the Muslim community has been consistently higher than that of Hindus and other non-Muslims in India. It is gradually changing the religious demography of the nation. A family planning act is immediately required to restrain the unconstrained population growth, retain demography, and protect the culture of India. In this article, a formula is suggested to enhance the quality of population, essential for the rapid growth on the health, academic and economic front.
Global Population Scenario
Based on the recent data of the UN, the estimated population of India in 2019 was 1.37 billion. It is estimated that the population density has reached 417 persons per sq. km as compared to 382 persons per sq. Km in 2011. China has a population density of around 145 per sq. Km and the USA has just 34 persons per sq. Km. The overall population growth rate in India is 1.1% per year. In contrast, the population growth rate for China and the USA is 0.6 and 0.7, respectively. The Chinese government has effectively used several methods to control the population explosion. On the other hand, the population of India has doubled in just 40 years, and it is expected to upset China as the world's most populated country by 2050.
Effect of population growth
A large population puts pressure on the existing resources and becomes a liability rather than an asset. It also results in the growth of a physically and mentally weak section of society. Such population growth usually contributes uneducated, unhealthy, and financially weak people to society. The lack of education and poverty are closely linked to the size of the family.
The uncontrolled population growth also engulfs most of the national development projects and poverty eradication schemes. Such population growth is responsible for overexploitation of natural resources and causing pollution at all levels. It is also responsible for shrinking land for cultivation and forest. It is worth mentioning that the country is facing changing religious demography. It is a serious national concern and should not be ignored to maintain harmony and protect the culture of the land.
World Muslim Population
Globally, 2.4 billion (29% of the world population) people follow Christianity, 1.9 billion (24%) are Muslims, and 1.2 billion (15.4%) are Hindus. The religious profile of the world is changing rapidly. The total world population is expected to rise to 9.3 billion by 2050, a 35% increase between 2010- 2050. Over the same period, Muslims are projected to increase by 73%. It is because Muslims have the highest fertility rate, 3.1 children per woman. It is also predicted that by 2050, Christians and Muslims will make up a nearly equal share of the world population. Globally, the Hindu population is projected to increase from a little over 1 billion to 1.4 billion, a growth rate of 34%, and roughly keeping pace with the global population rate.
Muslim Population in India
Islam is the fastest-growing religion in India too. The growth rate of Muslims has been consistently higher than the growth rate of Hindus and other non-Muslims. Muslims in India are much more resistant to modern contraceptive measures compared to other Indians. As a result, the fertility rate among Muslim women is much higher than that of non-Muslims. The religious population distribution of India is presented in Table 1, and the Muslim population growth per census from 1951 to 2011 is given in Table 2.
Table 1 Population trends for major religious groups in India (1951–2011)
|Others/ Religion not
Table 2 Muslim population growth per census
1981 Census: * Parts of Assam were not included. 1991 Census: ** J&K was not included
The Hindu population to the total population proportion (PP) in 2011 has declined by 0.7 percentage points (Table 3). In Table 4 growth rate of different communities in the decade 2001-2011 is cited.
Table 3. The proportion of population to population (PP) in 2011 (India), in Percentage Point
|Hindu||Muslim||Sikh||Buddhist||Christians and Janis|
Table 4. The population growth rate in the decade 2001-2011 (India)
The Muslim population of India is projected to grow to 311 million by 2050 and surpass Indonesia to become the world's largest Muslim population. However, India will remain as a Hindu (about 77%) majority country.
As mentioned, the PP of Muslims is the highest in the nation, and it is nearly 1.6 times higher than Hindus. The Muslim community is a closed society, and they prefer to settle in segregated quarters of cities and towns. The population growth of a specific community will widen such pockets in towns, cities, and rural areas, causing more conflicts. It is also important to mention that such conflicts are already occurring in certain provinces, cities, and localities of the nation.
Spread of Islamism
Though many theories exist on the spread of Islam, it is well established that the main factors are military action and invasions. In Islam, religion is practised for all components of life and society.
Dr Peter Hammond says Islamisation occurs when there are sufficient Muslims in a country to agitate for their so-called religious rights. He has systematically explained the changes in the approach and behaviour of the community with the population rise. According to Nicolette Incze, an Islamic expert, the Islamisation of the country cannot be stopped once the Muslim population reaches 16% of the total population. Incze, in her study, pointed out that Muslim countries are relatively more prone to conflicts. In recent years, almost all civil wars have taken place in Muslim countries, and most civil wars involve Islamist insurgencies.
The presence of some 4.9% Muslims in the 28 countries of the European Union is currently sparking debate, controversy, fear, and hatred. It is predicted that even if all migration into Europe is stopped immediately and permanently, the Muslim population of Europe will still rise from the current level of 4.9% to 7.4% by 2050. This is because the Muslim population is 13 years younger and has a higher fertility rate. In the West, the growing population of Muslims and radical groups causes more concern than any other international issue, viz., climate change and the global economy.
In India, the situation is even worse. It is unfortunate that a group of religious and political leaders openly plead the Sharia law over national law and interests. The only dream of Indian Muslim leaders is Ghazwa-e-Hind, i.e., the Islamisation of India. They dream of becoming the majority, changing demography, and their obvious means is population explosion. It is also true that several foreign agencies, especially from the Muslim world and some of the forces within the nation, are actively involved in their mission. It is generally believed that Muslims deliberately deliver more children to outnumber Hindus. It is also believed that the population growth of the country, especially the Muslim population, is a threat to the social fabric, social harmony, and development of the country.
Introduce population control policy
It is necessary to adopt a population control policy similar to China. In 1979, China started the one child per family policy. The citizens were offered special benefits for adhering to this policy. Citizens who did have more than one child were either taxed heavily or punished by loss of employment or other benefits.
Hon'ble Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi, in the 73rd Independence Day speech (15th Aug. 2019), referred to the need for the implementation of family planning . It is high time to introduce an act to restrain the unconstrained population growth. My views on this issue are briefly mentioned as follows:
i. I propose to implement "A family two children" policy in the whole country for all the communities. The families who do not adhere to this policy may be taxed heavily, penalised with the loss of employment, no benefit of government subsidies, as well as no voting rights for the entire family, including offspring. The government may coin impressive slogans such as, "A family two children key to happiness, prosperity, and pride". In Hindi, “एक परिवार दो संतान सुख, समृद्धि और सम्मान”.
ii. A section of society is mainly responsible for the population explosion in India. As discussed, Muslims are the fastest-growing community in the world, and the scenario is not different in India. It is also observed that low-income and uneducated families are responsible for uncontrolled population growth. Therefore, any corrective measure should start from them. Parents (father, mother/s) from families of more than four siblings should limit their families to a child. Giving birth to more than a child should be considered an offence for those families. Such a measure will curb the population of uneducated, unhealthy, and financially weak people in society. On the other hand, defence personals may be permitted even for the third child.
iii. Taxpayers' money is used to run the nation and offer subsidies. Unfortunately, their consents and views are ignored by policymakers. It is also true that they (taxpayers) believe in small family size. Their views on family size and different welfare schemes must be honoured.
Implementation of the proposed measures will increase the percentage of healthy, wealthy, cultured, and educated people in the country. It is of utmost necessity for the nation's rapid development on the educational, economic and cultural fronts.
(The writer is a Retired Professor of NIT Rourkela, and his field of interest is in sustainable rural development.)