Relation between Development and Population

Sometimes I would like to stroll in the world of my imagination. Everyone inherits personally and socially many things. Everyone also leaves much behind him/her. In our day to day life we have inherited much from many people. In our social inheritance we have learned much from poet Rabindranath Tagore, from our former President of India Abdul Kalam, from the servant of the poorest of the poor Mother Teresa and Cricketers’ icon Sachin Tendulkar. As you read this essay, you have inherited something of other from big and small people.

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Now let us all imagine a world without our Father of the Nation Gandhiji, the great poet Rabindranath Tagore, cricketers’ icon Sachin Tendulkar and St. Mother Teresa. Imagine that they never lived in India. How poor India would have been in the fields of politics, in literature and science, in sports and in human welfare!

India would never have achieved the name and fame which India enjoys today without these eminent people; as well as many big and small people like them.

In our times we blame the population growth as the root cause of all our problems and difficulties in India. We respond to the problem with having just one or two kids. Then we also proclaim that the family planning is the only golden way to prosperity and welfare of our nation! Is it?

If there was family planning like in our times in those times of the birth of the people like Mahatma Gandhi, poet Tagore, scientist Abdul Kalam, St. Mother Teresa and Sachin Tendulkar, then they would not have been born; or if born by mistake, then they would not have been allowed to exit on mother earth as they would have been done away with in one way or other. For, they were all born after their parents had already two or more children!

Gandhiji has acknowledged in his autobiography that his mother Puthalibai had one daughter and three sons and he was the last child. Rabindranath Tagore who said, “Every child born is a symbol of hope that God still loves the world,” was born as the 14th child of his parents! The scientist and ex-president of India Abdul Kalam was the 7th child in his family. St. Mother Teresa was the 5th child of her parents. Sachin Tendulkar was the 4th child in his family.

“One is ideal; two are enough and no more after three.” A popular slogan like this one never existed during the birth of these great men and woman. In the time of their birth, around the time of India’s independence people were very poor. In many places people died of starvation and contagious deceases. Even today in modern India starvation deaths and contagious deceases are there in different places. All the same India is making great strides of progress from being an under developed country into a developed nation. In this progress there are contributions from small and big people like Gandhiji, Abdul Kalam, Tagore, Mother Teresa, Sachin Tendulkar and simple unnamed people who build our roads and our buildings. I have taken here a few names. But, I believe that in the building and development of our nation the simple unnamed people, who are true to themselves, have made significant contribution.

Today in India uncontrolled population explosion is attributed to unemployment, starvation death, dearth of drinking water, shortage of houses and the like. The people who hold these types of belief say that the population explosion is the source for all these problems! But the reality is the fact that we have made the population as a scapegoat for all the evils like our corruption, bribery, injustice, inequality, cheating, discrimination, etc. If we bring solution to all these problems on the path of truth and justice, then the population growth will be seen as a blessing, a real asset.

Here let me recall the words of Gandhiji, who said, “I challenge the belief that the country should go for birth control on account of its great population growth. This has never been proved. The earth provides everyone for their needs; but not enough for their greed.” Everyone who protest against population growth and try birth control should deeply meditate on these words of Gandhiji.

Those who have researched and studied deeply the subject of population growth have concluded that the poverty of country has not increased on account of population growth. On the contrary, many nations have taken great strides of progresses along with the population growth. We can see this that the countries which were totally destroyed during the Second World War, have achieved great development and economic growth along with their population growth. The history of the second half of 20th century is a clear proof for this statement. Even the post independent development in India has taken place through the population growth.

Our economic development has gone along with our human resource development. The then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said and I agree with him fully that, “Today for India the population growth is not a problem but it is our wealth”.

Today if we are facing many problem and difficulties, they are due to the evils like abortion, caste discrimination, artificial family planning forced on people in the name of population explosion. The women who have been subjected to abortion have often become victims of psychological trauma and physical sicknesses. Consequently the happy and tension-free family atmosphere has been affected. In some states in India the unnatural family planning methods have led to terrible imbalance in the ratio of men and women. This imbalance has led to many crimes like rapes, elopements, polyandry, etc. in the country.

Decrease in the number of children has also led to the closing of institutions like schools and colleges, which in turn caused unemployment for the people working in such institution. The decrease in population in some European countries has led to a situation where there are not enough people to maintain the essential services. So there is no retirement for the people working on some essential services. Old people are encouraged to work as long as they are physically and mentally able to do their jobs.

A leading state in India in population control is Kerala. There are no people there to do work in many areas in spite of having the highest daily wages. So one can see fields in many areas left uncultivated. Most workers in building houses and roads in Kerala are people from other states like far away UP, Bengal, Orissa, etc.

A human being comes into existence from the moment of conception with the intercourse of a women and a man. Without respecting this fact of human existence, people have recourse to artificial birth control, feticide, abortion and even causing a new born child to die. Consequently the whole world is terrible affected with the killing of innocent human beings in their mothers’ womb or outside it.

All problems caused by population have only one solution. Every human existence should be loved and respected from the moment its conception to its natural end. There are institutions in our country to look after together with medical care the needy and helpless woman with child in her womb. Similarly if any woman is unable to look after her child after giving it birth, we have humanitarian people and institution to help.

Mother Teresa once appealed all such helpless parents and helpless mothers. “Please do not in any way destroy your children; God lives in them. Give me your child if you are unable to look after. I will take care of the child on your behalf.”

Today Mother Teresa is no more in our midst. But such humanitarian service is happily continued by the sisters of her congregation with great love and care. Every one among us desires progress and development; and hopefully cherishes every human being.

Ethically and morally speaking we are called to cherish with respect and love every human being from its moment of existence to its very end. Then, we do not make any discrimination of wanted or unwanted child; of male or female. All people – young and old, healthy and sick – are welcome. All have a role in our humane society. Then there will be a balanced ratio of men and women with such human progress that there will be no more problem of population growth. We will consider our population growth as our greatest human resource.