Qamar Waheednaqvi

The share of Muslims has increased in the country’s population. In 2001, the total population of Muslims was 13.4%, which increased to 14.2% in 2011. In Assam, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Haryana and even Delhi’s population share of Muslims has increased significantly in the last ten years.

However, after every census, the question has been raised why the population of Muslims is growing faster than the rest of the country? And will one day the population of Muslims rise so much that they will go ahead in the numbers from the Hindus? More than a hundred years ago in 1901 when the population figures came in undivided India and it was found that in 1881, compared to 75.1% of Hindus, their share was reduced to 72.9% in 1901. Then there was a big clutter. Since then, it has been continuously raised that Muslims are rapidly increasing their population; they marry four times and can produce countless children, consider family planning as non-Islamic. And if it is not controlled then one day India will become a Muslim nation!

It is true that the population of Muslims has increased faster than Hindus and other religions. In 1961, there were only 10.7% Muslims and 83.4% of Hindus in the country, whereas in 2011, Muslims increased to 14.2% and Hindus were estimated to be below 80%. The truth is that in the last ten-fifteen years, the increasing rate of the Muslim population has declined. Between 1991 and 2001, the Muslim population has increased by 29%, but in the ten years from 2001 to 2011, this growth was only 24%. However, the average increase in the total population was 18% in these ten years. The Muslim’s growth rate is 6% higher than that. Similarly, look at the sex ratio, the number of women against the 1000 Muslim males is 936, i.e. at least 64 Muslim men have to remain unmarried in thousand. In such situation how can Muslims do four-four marriages?

One myth is that Muslims do not accept family planning. This is completely wrong. Not only in India, but the Muslim population in the whole world is adopting a large number of family planning. Iran and Bangladesh have done so much in this case. After the religious revolutions of 1979, Iran had completely dismissed the family planning, but in ten years only when the reproduction rate reached till eight children, so the Islamic rulers of Iran had to return to family planning and today their fertility rate has decreased to only two children per woman. That is, less than the rate of India’s Hindu woman’s birth rate. Similarly, in Bangladesh, the fertility rate has reduced to three children.

Why do Muslims in India produce more children? This is the biggest reason for poverty and illiteracy. According to a study of 1992-93, there were only three children per woman rate in the high school or above educated Muslim families, while it was five children per woman in illiterate families. Similar was with Hindu families too. Increasing population is a matter of concern. The solution is that the government should bring the light of development to the backward corridors as soon as possible, increase the facility of education, expedite campaign for family planning programs, why will not the picture change?


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