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Hindus are urged to go forth and multiply - Telegraph, UK

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  • Zafar Khan
    Hindus are urged to go forth and multiply By Peter Foster in New Delhi (Filed: 29/11/2005)
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2005
      Hindus are urged to go forth and multiply
      By Peter Foster in New Delhi
      (Filed: 29/11/2005)


      A leading Hindu ideologue has angered secular parties
      in India by urging Hindu women to have at least three
      children to stop Muslims outnumbering them in some

      K S Sudarshan, the leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak
      Sangh group, has been accused of playing on sectarian

      "Whenever new people come to me for blessings, I tell
      them, 'Not less than three [children].' The more … the
      better," he said at the launch of a controversial
      book, Religious Demography of India.

      His words, condemned as "the politics of scare and
      silliness" by moderates, aim to strike a chord with
      the Hindu masses who comprise 80 per cent of India's
      population of more than 1.1 billion.

      They echo popular fears that India is facing an
      "immigration crisis" from Muslims crossing illegally
      from Bangladesh.

      The study used by Mr Sudarshan as a basis for his
      remarks cited Indian census data from a 100-year
      period (1881-1991), but has been criticised by
      demographers for its bias.

      What Mr Sudarshan termed a "population imbalance" in
      the north-east - where Muslim numbers are growing
      faster than Hindus - is linked to levels of poverty
      and illiteracy, not religious affiliation, say

      Fury over Sudarshan's call for more Hindu babies
      By Palash Kumar
      Mon Nov 28, 8:06 AM ET


      NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Leading Hindu hardliner K.S.
      Sudarshan has angered women and Muslims by pressing
      Hindus to have as many children as they can to avoid
      being swamped by Muslims.


      Sudarshan, who heads the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh
      (RSS), the ideological parent of the Bharatiya Janata
      Party which led India until last year, said a higher
      Hindu birth rate was vital to check a "population

      "Whenever new people come to me for blessings, I tell
      them: 'Not less than three (children)'. The more you
      can, the better," he said at a function broadcast on
      television recently.

      Women's groups in Asia's third-largest economy, with a
      billion-plus people, said they were insulted and one
      group labelled Sudarshan's stand an "agenda of

      "It is implied in his statement that a woman's
      reproductive faculties are to be employed solely to
      fulfil the agenda of a Hindu nationalist state -- like
      a reproductive machine," said Malini Bhattacharya, a
      leading activist.

      "As if the question of a woman's right does not even
      arise -- her right over her own body and health."

      The RSS holds considerable sway among the large,
      conservative Hindu population, especially in
      impoverished northern India.

      It has often expressed concern about what it calls a
      higher growth rate among Muslims, especially in areas
      bordering Nepal and Bangladesh where India says
      illegal immigrants, mainly Muslims, infiltrate into
      the country.

      More than 80 percent of secular India's people are
      Hindus, more than 13 percent Muslims and the rest
      Christians, Sikhs and other minorities. The Muslim
      community grew almost 30 percent between 1991 and 2001
      according to census data, while the number of Hindus
      rose 20 percent. Both growth rates are lower than a
      decade earlier.

      But the RSS is worried at the higher growth rate among
      Muslims and has called for a strict implementation of
      population control -- such as the government's
      declared policy of a two-child family -- for Muslims.


      After Sudarshan's comment, the state of Madhya
      Pradesh, ruled by the BJP, said it would consider
      dropping a policy barring people with more than two
      children from contesting local council elections. It
      is not clear if the move was prompted by the RSS

      "There is a difference between the growth rate of
      Hindus and the Muslims," RSS spokesman Ram Madhav told
      Reuters. "While all religions should flourish, we want
      this demographic imbalance to be checked.

      "What the RSS chief was trying to say is there should
      be a uniform population control policy. You cannot
      have population control for a certain section while
      there are imbalances in other sections. If Hindus want
      to have three children, why not?

      "India's Hindu character should be maintained. If
      there are over 80 percent Hindus, it should remain

      Population is one of the biggest challenges for
      India's rapidly growing economy, where planners push
      for a "two-child" norm. But the policy is rarely
      implemented strictly.

      Pointing to recent riots in France, Madhav said the
      RSS felt population imbalances were a real threat.

      "Imbalances in India's demography are worrying us," he
      said. "What is happening in France today? What is the
      reason for it? Is it not an outcome of demographic

      "India is not realising the threat."

      Leading Muslims said there was no threat.

      "Demographic imbalance is one of the emotive issues
      the RSS uses to polarise Hindus and nurture (a) fear
      psychosis in the majority community," Zafarul-Islam
      Khan, editor of The Milli Gazette, a leading Muslim
      newspaper, told Reuters.

      "Serious research ... has shown the claim that Muslims
      are reproducing more than other communities is false."

      The Communist Party of India (CPI), which shores the
      federal coalition with other left parties, said the
      decision on the number of children should be left to

      "The RSS wants to communalise everything," senior CPI
      leader D. Raja said. "Hindus are not going to listen
      to such an advise."

      (Additional reporting by Sanjay Sharma in BHOPAL)

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