New Delhi: There has been an increasing rhetoric, propagated by the Right-wing, on the growth of Muslim population. This rhetoric has given rise to several myths, which are used to stoke majoritarian fears of a skewed demographic.
In the new book The Population Growth, former chief election commissioner of India S.Y. Quraishi uses facts to demolish these myths and demonstrates how a planned population is in the interest of all communities. It is the first such book in India that evaluates the country’s demography through a religious lens.
The book, published by HarperCollins, will be released on 17 February on ‘SoftCover’, ThePrint’s e-venue to launch select non-fiction books.
Quraishi writes about the holy books Quran and the Hadith, in the book, to show how Islam may have been one of the first religions in the world to advocate smaller families, which is why several Islamic nations today have population policies in place.
Therefore, the assumption that Muslims shun family planning on religious grounds is untrue.
According to Quraishi, his book “is essentially a multi-dimensional look at demographic, religious, administrative, policy and communication dimensions of an issue of foremost national concern – population”.
The book has also received roaring praise from those who are involved in the field of population demographics.
“Based on empirical evidence and government data, S.Y. Quraishi busts such a divisive discourse and convincingly shows how population growth among different communities and groups is a function of poor access to basic goods such as education, family planning services and incomes,” said former health secretary of India, Sujatha Rao.
Meanwhile, Poonam Muttreja, executive director of the Population Foundation of India believes that this book “provides compelling evidence to understand family planning perspectives and practices adopted by different religions across countries and in India. Importantly, it also provides convincing pathways to effectively counteract misconceptions, increase behaviour change and reach out family planning services to those in Muslim communities who are still untouched by them”.
Quraishi joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1971 and eventually became the 17th chief election commissioner of India. He even introduced a number of electoral reforms, such as the creation of a voter education division, expenditure monitoring division, the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management, and launched the National Voters Day.