Monday, July 25, 2011

Population Control in India

Along with my research on families here in North India, I have been looking at the dichotomy of continuing families through IVF and stopping reproduction through Population Control. There has long been a sense in India that it is overpopulated. This belief is shared by the majority of the public. I always make it a point to ask everyone I speak with how they feel about the population in India. In many instances people bring this up in conversation without me even asking and without fail they always tell me that India has too many people and its not good. Recently I was shocked to hear health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's solution to population problems. He said that India should improve late-night programming so that people watch TV instead of having sex. “If there are good late-night shows, people will watch TV till late at night. They won’t get a chance to have children. With no good programmes and no electricity in many villages, what are people to do?” he said. There has also been talk about imposing the one child law that China is under but we have yet to see that happen. Other population control ideas include marrying after the age of 30 and using “aggressive compulsion and not forced sterilisation” to convince people to have fewer children. They have also  increased the number of family planning programs here in Northern India.

I have found that many of our parents generation come from households where they had numerous siblings. Today most families have shrunk to one or two children. There is this ideal that if one has children, they should be able to provide for them, and provide well. I also just recently discovered that in India it is taboo to not have children at all, but it is also taboo to have too many children. After inquiring into this idea futher I discovered that the reason people look down on having a lot of children is because they feel that it is a sign that you are struggling to provide. The more children you have, the more helping hands you have to contribute to family funds. It is a symbol of status.

India supports 17.2 per cent of the world’s population on 2.4 per cent of the world’s land. Through my interviews I have found that many of the people see population as what is causing the poverty and disparity in wealth as well as unavailability of jobs. However after speaking with a professor here in Delhi who has been researching population, she informed me that there is really no validaty to these speculations. On the contrary, This notion grew out of the 19th century scarcity of food. In fact, India's population grew slower during the 19th century than Europe. We cannot blame the population size for the scarcity. Today India's economy is flourishing and there is no food shortage, yet this concept of overpopulation still exists and is widely accepted. She also indicated that this notion of cretailing childbirth is taking effect all over the country as we see family sizes dramatically shrinking. Who's to say that China's one child policy has affected their economy in a good way. I find it interesting that we see this idea of overpopulation continuing to persist in the forefront of people's minds. Why do they find the solution to all their problems in shrinking family units?

1 comment:

  1. Hey, it's been a while since i've been on your blog; i like the new look. It's super cool. How'd your project end up for ya? Was it as productive as you'd hoped?