Will Muslims take over Hindus in population? Former election commissioner busts myth

Will Muslims take over Hindus in population? Former election commissioner busts 'myth'

Islam is not hostile to the concept of family planning and it is mere “propaganda” that Muslims can overtake Hindus in terms of population numbers, former chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi said on Sunday (March 27).

There are several myths being spread about the Muslim population in India which are creating hostility among the Hindus against the Muslims, Quraishi said during a discussion on his book “The Population Myth: Islam, Family Planning and Politics in India”, at the India International Centre in New Delhi.

Listing the “myths” about the Muslim population in India, he said one of them is that they produce too many children and are solely responsible for the population explosion. “Yes Muslims have the lowest levels of family planning (FP) — only 45.3 per cent. Their total fertility rate (TFR) is 2.61 which is the highest. But the fact that Hindus are not far behind, with second lowest FP at 54.4 per cent, and second highest TFR of 2.13, is completely missed,” Quraishi said.

Quraishi said it is also a myth that the Muslim population growth is upsetting the demographic balance. The demographic ratio of India indeed shows an increase in Muslims from 9.8 per cent in 1951 to 14.2 per cent in 2011, and decline in Hindus from 84.2 per cent to 79.8 per cent, but this is an increase of 4.4 percentage points in 60 years, he pointed out.

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Asserting that Muslims are adopting family planning faster than Hindus, he said the gap in their number of children is narrowing. Pointing out that another propaganda is that there is an organised conspiracy by Muslims to overtake the Hindu population to capture political power, he said no Muslim leader or scholar has asked Muslims to produce more children to overtake Hindus.

Citing a mathematical model by professors Dinesh Singh, former Delhi University Vice Chancellor, and Ajay Kumar, he said Muslims can “never” overtake Hindus.

Busting another “myth”, he said it is wrong to state that Muslims use polygamy for increasing population as a government study in 1975 found that all communities had some polygamy but the Muslims were the least polygamous. He said there is a general misconception that Islam encourages polygamy but the reality, however, is different. Polygamy is also statistically not possible in India as the gender ratio (only 924 women per 1,000 men) does not permit it.

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Asserting that Islam is not against family planning, Quraishi said nowhere has the Quran prohibited family planning and there are only interpretations — both for and against. Numerous verses of Quran and citations from Hadith emphasise quality over numbers, health of women and children and right of children to good upbringing. Islam is not only not opposed to family planning but in fact is the pioneer of the concept, he said.

Former Jammu and Kashmir governor N N Vohra, former health secretary K Sujatha Rao and The Population Foundation of India Executive Director Poonam Muttreja also participated in the book discussion.

(With inputs from agencies)

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