After 75 years of Independence, India now needs a population control policy applicable to all for the next 50 years to make population an ‘asset’ to the country, said Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday.
Mr. Bhagwat also stressed that religion-based population balance is an important subject that can no longer be ignored.
Speaking at the programme of RSS’s foundation day celebration event on the occasion of Vijayadashmi in Reshimbaug in Nagpur, Mr. Bhagwat asked people if they can imagine how many people India can feed after 50 years. He also questioned what kind of education and healthcare will be provided to people if the population continues to grow.
“Our country has a huge population — this is a reality. Populations require resources and if it keeps growing it becomes a big burden, perhaps an unbearable burden. Therefore, with the perspective of population control, plans are made,” said Mr. Bhagwat, citing the example of China’s efforts to control population.
He added that the number of children is linked with maternal health, education and financial status of a family.
“Population impacts the environment also. In short, the population policy has to be formulated considering all these factors mindfully. It should be applicable for all. Only then rules pertaining to population control will yield results.”
Mr. Bhagwat said that three new countries that have come into existence in the 21st century — East Timor, South Sudan and Kosovo — have been the results of population imbalance in certain territories of Indonesia, Sudan and Serbia.
“Population imbalances lead to changes in geographical boundaries. Alongside the differences in birth rate, conversions by force, lure or greed and infiltration are also big reasons. All these factors have to be mulled over. Population control and religion-based population balance is an important subject that can no longer be ignored,” he said.
Mr. Bhagwat’s statement came weeks after former election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner gifted him his book titled “The Population Myth: Islam, family planning and politics in India” in which Mr. Qureshi writes how the right-wing spin to population data has given rise to myths about the 'Muslim rate of growth'.
The RSS, twice in the last two decades (2004, 2015), passed resolutions on population control policy. The resolutions maintained that effective laws on conversion, NRC, and check on infiltration is something the government needs to work on to develop the policy which should be made keeping in view the availability of resources in the country, future needs and the problem of demographic imbalance and apply the same uniformly to all.
“After Udaipur incident, few prominent persons from the Muslims voiced their protest against the incident. It wasn’t happening always. These kinds of protest should not be an isolated phenomenon within the Muslim society rather it should become the nature of their larger sections,” he added.
Mr. Bhagwat added that there is a scare-mongering among so-called minorities that there is a danger to them because of us or organised Hindus.
“They say sangh wale marenge... This is neither the nature of Sangh nor of Hindus. Sangh has a steely resolve to stand on the side of brotherhood, amity and peace,” he added.
Taking forward to RSS’s outreach in Dalit community, RSS chief said that “temple-water-cremation” should be same for all.
“We need to stop fighting for who will ride horse in weddings and who will not,” he said adding that Indian constitution focussed on political and economic equality but without social equity, real and stable transformation is not possible.
“Such a cautionary advice was given to us by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar',” said Mr. Bhagwat.
His statement came at the backdrop of rising cases of Dalit atrocities in India that were widely criticised by the Opposition, in the past
With mountaineer Santosh Yadav being invited as a chief guest on the occasion, Mr. Bhagwat also focused on the role of women in country’s growth. He also claimed that it's a myth that RSS doesn’t invite women in its events.
“India cannot grow without giving equal rights and opportunities to women. We need to treat women with equality and empower them with freedom of making their own decisions," said Mr. Bhagwat.
The RSS chief also stressed education in the ‘mother tongue’ and added that English is not necessary for career building. He also spoke at length about ‘self-reliant’ India and how start-ups should be promoted.
Speaking on India’s growth in 75 years, Mr. Bhagwat said that India kept its interest and world peace in mind while putting up its stand in Russia-Ukraine crisis.
“This is why world is listening to us,” he added.