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Chimera of a Muslim Population Growth Rate

Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
But this is from the JNU and therefore little better than communist


>From: prabhu.guptara@ubs.com
>Reply-To: debate@indiapolicy.org
>To: debate@indiapolicy.org
>Subject: Chimera of a Muslim Population Growth Rate
>Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 07:11:02 -0700 (PDT)
>Please help make the Manifesto better, or accept it, and propagate it!
>As far as I can recollect, the following has not been mentioned in our
>and I provide it for interest.
>It is from:
>Prabhu Guptara
>                                The Chimera Of a Muslim Population
>                                                         Dr. Mohan Rao
>That the Muslim rate of population growth is as much a chimera as the
>rate of economic growth does not bother propagandists during election
>This is an issue they have flogged often enough in the past. The issue
>is the
>"Muslim rate of population growth" made topical now by the publication
>selected data from the 1991 Census. For what is being attempted is not
>understand realities- the basis of all social sciences- but to project
>view of it for purely political purposes.
>Preliminary results from the 1991 Census indicate that, excluding Assam

>Jammu & Kashmir, the rate of growth of the Muslim population has been
>per cent, whereas that of the Hindu population has been 22.8 percent.
>these data on growth rates by religious communities is not cross-
>with their determinants: income and literacy for a start. The exercise
>then is
>as meaningless as comparing the size of a lemon with that of an apple
>because both happen to be fruit.
>  The basic organised propaganda regarding a Muslim rate of population
>rests on the following four assertions, which are, as it were, articles

>      The law permits a Hindu male to have only one wife. A Muslim
>on the
>other hand, is allowed to have and tends to have more than one wife.
>      Islam, unlike Hinduism, forbids family planning. Muslims,
>therefore, do
>not practice family planning.
>      Muslims thus have a higher birth rate than Hindus.
>      Therefore it follows that Muslims will soon outnumber Hindus in
>However, what do facts brought out by official and non-sectarian
>agencies have
>to tell us?
>Nuptiality Rates
>Let us look at the data on marriages– called nuptiality rates. The
>incidence of
>polygynous marriages (i.e. one wherein a man has more than one wife) is

>5.80% among Hindus. The percentage incidence among Muslims is, in fact,

>slightly lower at 5.73 per cent. These figures are from the office of
>General and Census Commissioner of India and are to be found in the
>Polygynous Marriages in India – A Survey. What the data clearly
>reveals is that there is absolutely no truth to the commonly propagated

>assertion that bigamy or polygamy is commoner among Muslims. Indeed the

>Commissioner and Registrar General state "In India as a whole the
>incidence of
>polygynous marriage is highest among the persons returning their
>religion as
>tribal religion (15.25 per cent), next come the Buddhists (7.97 per
>followed by Jains (6.72 per cent)". What the data clearly reveals is
>that of
>all these
>religious groups, Muslims have the lowest incidence of polygynous
>What is equally important to bear in mind is that a high incidence of
>polygynous marriages does not serve to increase fertility – as is
>Given the fact that the sex ratio (i.e. the number of females per
>males which is considered a reflection of women's status in society) in

>is highly
>unfavorable to females amongst both Hindus and Muslims, more than one
>marrying one male is not likely to increase fertility; on the contrary
>it is
>to have a fertility depressant effect in both these communities.
>Religious Sanction of Family Planning
>Similarly, there is no truth to the assertion that Islam forbids
>acceptance of
>family planning. In a study entitled "Is Islam Against Family
>Planning?", Khan
>points out that the Koran does not forbid family planning. What the
>Koran does
>prohibit are abortions and sterilisations but even these are permitted
>health grounds. Let us also note that the proportion of couples using
>contraceptives in predominantly Muslim countries like Turkey, Indonesia

>Egypt is
>very high.
>In India, the percentage of Muslims practicing family planning has gone

>significantly: 40.7 per cent among Muslim women as revealed by Family
>Practices in India : Third All India Survey brought out by the
>Research Group in Baroda in 1990. Strikingly, this percentage has gone
>up more
>than proportionately among Muslims from a figure of 23 per cent in the
>All India Survey conducted a decade earlier.
>The growth rate of the Muslim population is higher, since the birth
>amongst Muslims is marginally higher than among Hindus. But this is
>neither the
>nor the real picture. Consider, for example, the data on fertility by
>provided bu the Vital Statistics Division. It indicates that the
>difference in
>the total
>fertility among religious groups is less than that between the rural
>populations. The total fertility rate for Hindus in rural areas is 5.7
>while in
>areas it is 4.2. For rural Muslims it is 6.2 while for urban Muslims it

>is 4.9.
>Christians have the lowest total fertility rate (TER) of 4.4 in rural
>areas and
>4 in
>urban areas. For the population as a whole, it is 5.8 in rural India
>4.3 in
>urban India. This clearly means that other factors are more important
>religion in explaining differentials in fertility.
>The same document provides extremely interesting data on fertility in
>to monthly per capita expenditure. With a per capita monthly
>of Rs.
>21 to Rs. 50, the total marital fertility rate among Indians is 6.8 in
>rural and urban areas. With a rise in monthly per capita expenditure to

>Rs. 51
>to Rs
>100, the total marital fertility declines to 5.8 for rural populations
>and 4.3
>for urban homes. At a monthly per capita expenditure of Rs. 101 and
>above, the
>total marital fertility rate drops to around 2.5 for both rural and
>The data, then clearly indicate that decline in fertility is associated

>among other factors, increasing income. It is thus more than likely
>the marginally higher fertility among Muslims reflects their relatively

>socio-economic standing. Indeed, this is substantiated by a host of
>findings by
>national Sample Survey Organisation during the course of the 43rd Round

>were published in 1990. This shows that in urban areas 47 per cent of
>Hindus are employed in relatively secure, salaried, occupations in the
>organized sector, in contrast to 29 per cent among Muslims. The
>around 53 percent, are self employed. The figure among Hindus is 35.9
>The self-employed are those whose households constitute both units of
>production and consumption. The salaried have households which are
>consumption alone. And it is a well recognized demographic fact that
>households (viz. the self-employed), given their low levels of
>and income, have a larger size.
>The same NSS also provides data on monthly per capita expenditures by
>and rural/ urban residence. This reveals that close to 53 per cent of
>Muslims have a monthly per capita expenditure of less than Rs. 160. The

>corresponding figure among Hindus is 36 per cent. In the highest per
>monthly expenditure group of more than Rs. 310, the proportion of
>was 22
>percent while that of Muslims was only 10 percent. Indeed an earlier
>in urban India - where the majority of Muslims live – conducted by the
>concluded that: 'Muslims in urban India are about 20 per cent below
>average in
>per capita monthly expenditure which makes them nearly as poor as the
>and ST
>(Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe) communities. In contrast, the
>average per capita expenditure for other religious groups (Jains,
>Christians, Sikhs, etc.) taken together is about 18 per cent above that

>for the
>general population in the urban sector of India as a whole.
>Socio-economic Determinants of Fertility
>It is well known that acceptance of family planning- and perhaps birth
>is dependent upon a host of socio-economic factors. Some of the major
>ones are
>income, occupation, education and skills, access to technology, child
>the economic value of children and security in old age. The
>these lend further credence to the possibility that the Muslims have a
>marginally higher birth rate because they are relatively more
>disadvantaged in
>all these
>Data from the 43rd Round of the NSS, referred to earlier, substantiate
>point. With reference to literacy, data reveals that in rural India, 51

>cent of
>Hindu males are illiterate. The figure for Muslim males is 58 per cent.

>contrast is even more striking for urban India: 25.3 per cent of Hindu
>males are
>illiterate while among Muslim males the proportion is a significantly
>higher 42
>per cent.
>Policy planners place a great deal of emphasis on female education and
>employment as a means of reducing population growth. The NSS data
>reveals that
>in urban India, an astonishing 42 per cent of Hindu females and 60 per
>cent of
>Muslim females are illiterate. Graduates constitute merely 4 per cent
>Hindu females and a negligible 0.8 per cent among Muslim females. The
>illiteracy rates are, of course, much higher among women in rural India

>there the difference by religion is not very marked. School enrollment
>and school continuation rates, at all ages in both urban and rural
>India, are
>significantly lower among Muslims than among Hindus. The differences
>glaring among females.
>Data on work participation rates reveals that they are substantially
>among females than among males. The female work participation rate
>Muslims females in urban India is the lowest at 11.5 per cent. In rural

>it is 19.6 among Muslim females and 33.7 among Hindu females.
>What we must remember, above all, is that neither Hindus nor Muslims
>undifferentiated, homogenous, communities and that we do not have data
>demographic indicators and their determinants among comparable sections

>these communities.
>Will Muslims Outnumber Hindus?
>Yet another myth that has been propagated is that given the higher
>growth rate
>among Muslims in India, they will soon outnumber Hindus. A study looks
>this issue. The study projects the prevailing growth rates among Hindus

>Muslims into the next century. The Hindu population increased by 23.71
>between 1961-71 and by 24.71 per cent between 1971-81. This is an
>increase of
>0.71 per cent points. The Muslim population increased by 30.85 and
>during the corresponding periods. This constitutes an increase of 0.05
>per cent
>points, which is much less than that of Hindus.
>Assuming the same rate of increase into the future, Bhatia found that
>hundred years from 1981, ie; year 2081, Hindus and Muslims would record

>decade growth rate of 30.71 and 30.55 per cent, respectively. In other
>the growth rates of Hindus will be higher than that of Muslims. It is
>simply not
>true then, that Muslims will outnumber Hindus in India.
>Further, data clearly indicate that there has been a decline in
>fertility among
>all communities in both rural and urban areas. Between 1971 and 1981
>general marital fertility for the Indian population declined by 19.2
>percent in
>rural India and 20.1 percent among Hindus in rural and urban India
>The percentage decline among Muslims was 17.3 and 18.5 in rural and
>urban India
>respectively. Among Christians the decline was sharper at 31.2 per cent

>and 26.4 percent. This data is also from the Registrar General and
>Commissioner of India and are to be found in the publication Census of
>1981, Series I, part II. What the data strikingly reveals is that there

>been a significant decline in the fertility of the Muslim community in
>rural and
>urban areas; the decline in the fertility among Hindus is only
>higher. The trend in fertility among the two communities is however,
>What this
>points to is the task ahead of bringing about socio-economic
>in the
>country as a whole and including her largest minority population.
>If facts are rationally examined, the inescapable conclusion is that
>is not the primary and determining factor in population growth. The
>propaganda only indicates that there is something frighteningly post-
>about them, and that is the total disdain for science and scientific
>Indeed, all fascistic enterprise have this in common, appealing to the
>chauvinistic, atavistic urges among the people. The attempts to imbue
>demography with religion is clearly guided by the same dangerous
>  References
>    1.Census of India, 1971, Series, 1. Miscellaneous Studies,
>New Delhi, 1991.
>    2.Khan, M.E. (Ed). 1978. Birth Control Amongst Muslims in India.
>Mahohar Publications.
>    3.Ministry of Home Affairs. 1976. Fertility Differentials in India.

>    4.Bhattacharya, et al. 1986. "Disparities in level of living Across

>and Social Groups in Urban India During 1973-74". Savekshana, journal
>      NSSO, Vol. 10, No. 2.
>    5.Government of India . 1980. Planning Commission Report of the
>Group on Population Policy. New Delhi.
>    6.P.S. Bhatia. 1990. "Population Growth of Various Communities in
>Myth and Reality," Demography India. Vol. 19, No. 1, January.
>                                            "Let no unfortunate,
>be born in
>                                            country where the males
>compassion in
>                                              their heart." - Ishwar
>Dr. Mohan Rao
>Associate Professor & Chairperson
>Centre of Social Medicine & Community Health
>School of Social Sciences
>Jawaharlal Nehru University
>New Delhi – 110067
>Gram : JAYENU Tel : 6107676,616 7557/2420
>Telex : 031-73167
>JNU IN Fax : (011) 6865886
>                                                    re/productions #3:

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