Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent exhortation on August 15 that ‘small family is a patriotic duty’ has left many Left-liberals fuming. The Left, which is always on the lookout of issues to promote Islamic fundamentalism, exploited the issue to give an impression that the BJP government was targeting the Muslim community.
While Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram welcomed the PM’s statement, his party colleagues did not air their responses fearing a discussion on the topic might help the BJP.
The problem with Indian polity is that any discussion on demography or population control is often painted as anti-Muslim. It is a fact that Muslim growth rate has been the highest in the country. In many places in the country, this has resulted in demographic imbalances, triggering communal tensions. There are fears about Islamic conspiracy to engineer ‘Demographic Jihad’ in India also like it is being done in European countries, where in many countries growth of Muslim population has triggered social and communal issues. Therefore, it is important that efforts should be taken to protect demographic balance in India also.
Minister Guma’a stated that the use of birth control is permitted in Islam and that the current circumstances even necessitate it, while the former mufti stated that it was permitted, even if a woman was preventing pregnancy for aesthetic reasons.
The population control can be achieved only through taking all communities into confidence. In this, India can take a cue from Egypt where the clergy played a major role in convincing people about the advantages of family planning.
The rapid population growth has been worrying the Egyptian authorities, as the government was finding it difficult to manage resources for the burgeoning population.
According to Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, the country’s population has touched reached 98.1 million at the start of 2019. It said 3.3 million people were added to the population since the last census, in 2017.
Health Minister Halah Zayed announced that the National Population Council would lead a population policy that would enable the greatest possible socioeconomic growth.
The government roped in leading clerics, including Minister of Religious Endowments Muhammad Mukhtar Guma’a and former mufti Ali Guma’a joined in the regime’s information efforts. Minister Guma’a stated that the use of birth control is permitted in Islam and that the current circumstances even necessitate it, while the former mufti stated that it was permitted, even if a woman was preventing pregnancy for aesthetic reasons. Dr. Muhammad Salah Al-Badri, who writes for the Egyptian Al-Watan daily, also discussed the matter in an article, calling on the official religious institutions to work to change the popular perception that having children is more of a religious matter than an economic matter, and convincing the public of the vital importance of family planning.