New Delhi: Former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi, in his newly released book ”The Population Myth: Islam, Family Planning and Politics in India” have said that Islam is not so hostile to family planning and Muslims in India are least polygamous.
He added that the time has come to bust ”myths created by Hindutva groups” to demonise Muslims. He added that refrains like ‘Hinduism khatre mein hai’ (Hinduism is in danger), Muslims will increase in number and capture political power, are part of a ”deliberate design with the clear intention of driving a wedge between Hindus and Muslims,”.
In the book, he presented facts and figures to counter bigotry against Muslims.
Islam, he explained, is supportive of family planning ideas as it expects youth to marry only when they have the wherewithal to support a family. ”It lays great emphasis on the health of mother and children and the need for proper upbringing,” said the former bureaucrat who was chief election commissioner from July 2010 to June 2012.
Mr. Quraishi argues in his book that family planning is actually not a Hindu-versus-Muslim issue as the two communities have similar statistics and stand ”shoulder to shoulder” in the socio-economic indicators that influence family planning behaviour.
In fact, Muslim society in India in general views polygamy with great disfavour, he said. ”A bigamist is looked down upon as an outsider in his family,” he said, adding that polygamy is also statistically not possible in India as the gender ratio (only 924 women per 1,000 men) does not permit it.
While it is true the proportion of Hindus has come down in 70 years – from 84.1 % to 79.8 % – with corresponding increase in population of the minorities, mainly the Muslims, the Muslim adoption of family planning has been much faster in the last three decades, he said.
Even in absolute numbers, Hindus have nothing to fear, Mr. Quraishi said, adding that there were 30 crore more Hindus than Muslims in 1951 and the gap increased to over 80 crore by 2011.