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Is the Muslim population a threat to Hindus?

Is the Muslim population a threat to Hindus?

Gyaneshwar Dayal

May 18,2024

As the election season draws to a close, the divisive propaganda is reaching its zenith. Prime Minister Modi himself is the main campaigner for the BJP. Their entire election narrative is built around the falsehood that if the India Alliance comes to power, it will prioritize Muslims for all facilities and benefits. They claim Muslims will have the first right to everything, and constitutional changes will be made that will relegate Hindus to second-class citizenship. Modiji’s rhetoric is reminiscent of George Orwell’s novel “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” where truth is distorted. A fear is being instilled among Hindus that Muslims will gain all the country’s privileges.

Recently, the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council released a report as part of this campaign, stating that between 1950 and 2015, the Hindu population decreased by about 8 percent, while the Muslim population increased by 43 percent. According to the report, Hindus constituted 84 percent of the total population in 1950, which fell to 78 percent by 2015. During the same period, the populations of Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, and Sikhs increased, while the percentages of Jains and Parsis declined.

What is the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council? It was formed in 2017 and its job is to research and advise the Prime Minister on economic issues. An example of its ‘research’ came to light a few years ago when its chief Bibek Debroy, citing a study by the Council, said that “the average age of written constitutions is only 17 years.” Describing the present Constitution of India as a “colonial legacy”, he had said that “The present Constitution of India is mainly based on the Government of India Act 1935 and in this sense it is also a colonial legacy.”

And now this strange study has been released in the midst of elections. This is going to promote propaganda against Muslims and also the slogan “Hindus are in danger”, which has been raised for the last several decades. The three researchers who have prepared this report have violated all the standards of data analysis. First of all, demographic studies are based on census. But this study is based on a survey of 23 lakh people by the Association of Religious Data Archives (ARDA), an organization. Twenty-three lakh is a very small part of our total population. Census data is more reliable and comprehensive and brings out various aspects of population growth. Only the ruling party knows why the 2021 census was not conducted. These researchers have used survey data from an unknown organization, not the more reliable census data.

Again, this study compares data from 1950 with data from 2015, which in itself is arbitrary. Media and communal organizations are using this study to further strengthen their propaganda to divide the society. This study promotes the general social understanding that Muslims produce more children.
Our Prime Minister has played an important role in fueling this propaganda. When he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he had described the refugee camps of riot-affected Muslims as factories for producing children. They had closed these camps. Now they are loudly saying that Congress will snatch away the mangalsutra and buffaloes from Hindus and give them to those who produce more children.

What is the truth? The best way to measure the number of children a community produces is through the Total Fertility Rate (TFR). According to the National Health Survey, the TFR is declining across almost all communities. In 1992-93, the TFR was 3.3 for Hindus and 4.41 for Muslims. By 2019-2021, it had dropped to 1.94 for Hindus and 2.36 for Muslims. This means the fertility rate of Hindus decreased by 41.22 percent, while that of Muslims decreased by 46.49 percent. Clearly, the fertility rate of Muslims has declined more significantly than that of Hindus. If this trend continues, the fertility rate of Muslims will soon be close to that of Hindus.

SY Qureshi’s book “The Population Myth: Islam, Family Planning and Politics in India” sheds light on this issue. According to the book, the TFR in 24 out of 29 Indian states is approaching 2.179. If it reaches 2.1, the population will stabilize. It is estimated that the Muslim population, which was 14.2 percent of the total population according to the 2011 census, will increase to 18.5 percent by 2050 and then stabilize. Additionally, the decadal growth rate of the Muslim population is continuously declining.

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