This isn’t quite how the Union Minister, Giriraj Singh, actually puts it but it is the clear implication of his statements about population. Development in India in recent decades has been – in effect even if not in intent – pro-Hindu. Actually, it’s rather the opposite of what he thinks he’s saying but it’s true all the same:
AMROHA, UTTAR PRADESH: Union Minister Giriraj Singh has said India needs a law to control population growth. He said the population of Hindus in 54 districts of the country has fallen and said if population control measures are not put in place it would pose a threat to social harmony and impede progress.
Giriraj Singh’s controversial remarks came in Uttar Pradesh’s Amroha, hours after he used population figures to tweet that India would face another partition in 2047 if population control in not put in place.
Well, yes, OK, we can see where these comments are coming from. At Partition the entire aim was to produce two nations, one Hindu (with a good leavening of other groups) and one Muslim. Now, as population has risen in India the proportion of Muslims seems to be rising. That’s the complaint being made. Thus that prediction of another partition at some point, to once again create that purist Hindu nation. It’s not for nothing that the far edges of the BJP bleed off into a grouping wearing what Wodehouse would have called black footy bags.
He may not have outright identified a particular community with what he termed “the population explosion of divisive forces”. But the sustained manner in which he has been referring to population figures leaves little to the imagination when seen with the obsession of a part of Singh’s political faction over the apparent fall in the percentage of Hindus in parts of the country.
Yes, quite but without the comic leavening of Eulalie to think about.
However, think this through for a moment. In the first instance a rise in the portion of the population from one or another community means that economic development is favouring that community. Over the 5 and 10 years sort of time span how population grows is – when we’re starting from near Stone Age fertility and child death rates at least – a function of child non-mortality. Fewer than that one in four, one in five, of children who die by their 5 th birthday do so, population in that community rises.
But over edcades our process reverses itself. That very drop in child mortality leads to a fall in fertility itself. It’s happened everywhere it’s happened, as people get rich fertility falls to replacement levels and below. The Hindu population growth rate in India is – as Singh is claiming at least – lower than that of Muslim. And we can and should run our evidence in either direction. A falling fertility level means economic development, therefore we can assume that a relative fall in fertility is evidence of a rise in relative economic development.
That is, the very evidence being used here is proof that Indian economic development has been pro-Hindu.
Sure, it’s always possible that Singh is just using random statistical variability to make a political point, wouldn’t be the first time this has ever happened in the history of electoral politics now, would it? But assuming that the analysis is correct then the evidence being presented is indeed that development has been pro-Hindu. Thus neatly undermining the entire electoral platform of those wilder fringes, their point always having been that the Hindus have been hard done by.