India's changing demography?
By Maxwell Pereira
mfjpkamath@gmail.com

What’s with RSS chief Kupahalli Sudershan! Why is he so determined to excite communal passions yet again? His suggestion to Hindus to populate and propagate as a strategy against the purported changing demographioc profile of the country – not only has managed to raise eyebrows, but also rouse, expectedly, a hornets’ nest. Such irresponsible utterances are bound to sting, and sting painfully, to the ultimate detriment of communal health in the country’s polity and deterioration in the sensitive and fragile communal balance!

Whatever the tussle between RSS and BJP… one is conscious of BJP chief - Lal Krishna Advani’s efforts in recent times to appease minority sentiments, especially of the muslim community. Lately, he has been vociferously endorsing worlwide acknowledgement today that no Indian muslim has ever been found associated with Al Quieda or Taliban related terrorist activities!

Apparently the BJP – the political wing of the RSS – and its front runners, are hard put to explain away the repeated embarrassments resulting from utterances and acts of Sudarshan. They have maintained a studied silence refraining from making any comment over the issue. But Advani has made no bones about expressing diametrically opposite views: Even while in government, the BJP led NDA had spoken of promoting the two-child norm.

Also, speaking recently on the theme of “Building a Better Future” at the Hindustan Times Leadership Sunnit – 2005 concluded last week, Advani clearly said that the alarming rate of population growth is a threat to the country’s progress and needs to be contained. He put across: “A serious problem related not only to the question of democracy but even to economy and security is the alarming population growth. Radical steps are really needed to contain this. The excess that took place during the ‘emergency’ should not deter the country from considering legislative measures to ensure a two-child norm.”

Then last Thursday at a widely televised public function Sudarshan expressed serious concern over the country’s changing demographic profile, and asked Hindus to produce not less than three children – calling for an end to the majority-minority concept.

This has evoked reaction from the Christian community – that the RSS chief’s call is irrational and an insult to Indian women and the minorities. Condemning this, National Integration Council Member Dr. John Dayal - President, All India Catholic Union and Secretary general, All India Christian Council pointed out in a press statement: “Over the years, the nation has come to expect the most bizarre and dangerous statements from the hyper-nationalist Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh and its leadership – ranging from demands for eradicating neighboring countries to a sustained diatribe against Muslim and Christian religious minorities who are citizens of India.”

Reflecting the community’s shock, Dayal elaborated: “RSS views on the status of women, their contempt for the Constitution of India and their infinite capacity to attempt to overwhelm Indian plurality and the identity of Tribals, ethnic and linguistic minorities have alarmed Civil society for undermining the democratic norms that sustain the unity and integrity of India.”

The septuagenarian bachelor’s call that Hindu couples produce more – indeed advocating 11 or a dozen sons per family – to sustain their religious majority in India, Dayal emphasises, goes beyond the bizarre and the irrational. It is a racist statement soiled by foul religious bigotry and harks back to an era of eugenics and population manipulations that died out with the end of Hitler’s “pure race” concepts. Similar ethnic logic in certain pockets in Europe and Africa led to genocidal cleansing within living memory. As callous and terrible is the implied super-patriarchal attitude Mr. Sudershan and the RSS have of the Indian woman – victim of child rape in the guise of traditional marriage, and now presented as a political womb at the service of a maniacal ideology and its demonic hatred towards other communities. The Indian woman is now being asked to produce enough children to correct fancied and imagined imbalances in the population of one religion.

The RSS demographic thesis has been given the veneer of academic exactitude by the work of the Chennai based Centre for Policy Studies – brought out soon after the 2001 Census with a foreword by the then Deputy Prime Minister Advani. The purpose of the voluminous tome, to raise a bogey of a Muslim population explosion, and fears of terrorism in a so called Christian-majority North east.

Of concern in this context are reports emanating now from Assam on activities of the RSS-backed Lok Jagaran Manch flooding local cellphones through SMS to the dangers of “alien invasion” – to make it an excuse for an economic boycott of minority community members (ostensibly Bangladeshi migrants). This has triggered a mass exodus of muslims, many genuine Indian citizens, from the upper Assam districts of Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Tinsukia!

What is particularly pertinent, Dr. Dayal points out, is that “the statistical data presented (by the Chennai study) was even then exposed to be false extrapolation. The arguments, against the scientific and official data produced by the “People of India Project” of the Government. That series had in fact established that polygamy is more common in several non-Muslim groups than in Muslim groups, which is the standard falsehood and pet RSS grouse.

On Christians, the 2001 census once again established that the percentage of Christian population in India is steadily going down because of the norm of one or two children per family, even among the poor and in rural areas. The myth of a Christian conspiracy in the northeast based on population and conversion was also conclusively exposed to be false, highly motivated and mischievous, and meant entirely to defame an entire community.


900 words 21.11.2005:
Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http:// www.maxwellperira.com and maxpk@vsnl.com

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