NEW DELHI – Dismissing several myths prevalent about the Muslim population in India, former chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi on Monday said they are being deliberately spread with a motive to instill in Hindus hostility against the Muslims. Among the myths is one which says Muslims can overtake Hindus in terms of population numbers. He called it a sheer “propaganda”.
Mr Quraishi, during a discussion on his book “The Population Myth: Islam, Family Planning and Politics in India” at the India International Centre, New Delhi said Islam is not hostile to the concept of family planning and it is wrong to say that they produce too many children and are solely responsible for the population explosion, reports PTI.
Listing the “myths” about the Muslim population in India, he said one of them is that they produce too many children.
“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,” he was quoted as saying.
The other myth is that the Muslim population growth is upsetting the demographic balance. Mr Quraishi asserted that Muslims are adopting family planning faster than Hindus and that the gap in their number of children is narrowing.
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.
He pointed out propaganda 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.
On polygamy which is also being used as a propaganda as the reason to increase Muslim population, Mr Quraishi 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.
Polygamy is also statistically not possible in India as the gender ratio (only 924 women per 1,000 men) does not permit it, he said.
Asserting that Islam is not against family planning, Mr Quraishi said nowhere has the Quran prohibited family planning and there are only interpretations — both for and against.
Numerous verses of the 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, it is the pioneer of the concept, he asserted.
— With agency inputs