Thursday, March 6, 2014

High HDI peeps fight (fear of) extinction

The demographics of Kerala is as per this 2012 citation (may not be authoritative)



Religion
Population
Percentage
District (Highest Population
District (Lowest Population)
Decadal Population Growth
Hindu
1,78,83,449
56.2
T’puram
Wayanad
- 1.48
Muslim
78,63,342
24.7
Malappuram
Pathanamthitta
+ 1.70
Christian
60,57,427
19.0
Ernakulam
Malappuram
- 0.32

Anyhow the actual numbers do not matter (as usual) it is the perception that counts. There are Christians who fear (or claim that fellow Christians feel this) that they will be swamped by Muslim population growth.

Accordingly, the St Vincent De Paul Forane Church in Kalpetta has presented an innovative plan to reverse population decline: pay every Catholic family 10,000/- for the fifth child.

This being Kerala the fight the extinction plan has a number of detractors within the flock as well as without. The comments were the least to say interesting (my response in bold). The most interesting comment IMO was from a Muslim who supported the initiative wholeheartedly.

(1)“The incentives are not going to help increase the population”:T M Thomas Issac ( Former Finance Minister of Kerala & CPIM central committee member)

- as he is in a party of non-believers so this may have biased him against the initiative. 

That said I actually agree that the incentive is too low and for too many kids (1 Lakh per child for 3 kids may be fine, the church can certainly afford it, also the incentive amount can be connected to family assets as well).

(2)  “Christian extremism is more intense than Muslim extremism”: Sister Jessmy (Former Principal of St Mary’s College)

I am quite orthodox in thinking when it comes to the number of children in a family. I was born in a family of seven children. The more the number of children the more the training you get. Not just from your parents but also from your sisters and brothers. The argument for reducing the number of children is that they can be given better care and education. However, if you consider the money spent on counseling the children of families having single or two children, we may conclude it’s much better to have more children.
 
If there are more children, when they grow up and start working, it would be economically beneficial for the entire family. But there is no holy intention behind the church’s five children programme. Their only aim is to increase the vote banks. They want to increase their representation in the administrative system. This is an attempt to reduce the Muslim influence too.
 
In Kerala Christian extremism is more intense than Muslim extremism. Muslim extremism is visible from outside. The extremism and fanaticism hidden inside Christians are more dangerous. Who were the worst? Those who chopped off the hands of T T Joseph or those who kicked him out of his job.

 - Here is a true believer who actually endorses the policy but raises important questions about intent. As an aside I agree with her that the Church was simply in the wrong to kick out Joseph (also when it claimed that it will use its muscle to ensure that the (Christian) fishermen killing Italians will go home free).

(3) “Increasing the population by paying money is anti religious”: Stephen Aalathara (KCBC spokesperson) 

- This is not the first time that the Church has encouraged families to have more children but they do not want to incentivize this. Why? It makes no sense??

(4) This is anti- democratic unified civil code needs to be implemented”: U Kalanadhan (State president, Yukthivaadi Sankhadana) ( Atheist Association)

Article XXX of the Indian Constitution confers certain rights to minorities. This is against the XIVth article of the Indian Constitution that states that all individuals are equally before law. The article gives right to the minorities to the act against the constitution. For example take the case of marriage among the Muslim population. According to Muslims there is nothing wrong in having four wives. If you have five wives the child born out of the fifth wife will have no right on their ancestral property. This has lead to an increase in the Muslim population to a great extend.
 
The Christians are trying to compete with them by giving incentives to have more children. The funding comes from abroad. Christians recognize only monogamy and hence they have come up with this solution.
 
The only solution to this increasing competition among religious groups is implementation of the universal civil code mentioned in the 44th schedule. But the politicians are not willing to implement this law as they are afraid of losing their vote banks.

 - Par for the course for spokesman of an atheist organization (in his manner of speech he can substitute for a member of any Hindutva group).

(5) “While farmers were committing suicide they were busy spending crores for constructing churches”: Lean Thobias (Creative Director, Panorama)


While I was working in Malayala Manorama, I had been to Wayanad to study farmer’s suicide over there. While talking to one family we realized that there were a few factors besides agricultural problems that had caused these suicides. He like many other farmers had to pay huge amounts to the church. His son was studying in a private management school.   All these problems coupled together led to the suicide of that person in that particular family. While the suicides were being committed huge churches were being constructed in that area.

I am a catholic believer and am quite active member of the church. I informed the church about the distress faced by the farmers over there no one was bothered.....

The present offer put forth by the church is 10,000 for that the 5th child.  Can you imagine the problems the family will face once the child grows up? I think this offer is made for increasing the fee in Jubilee Medical College and the Christian vote banks. Poor men are getting nothing out of any Christian institutions.

- This is a new angle on farmer suicides. While it is possible that anger is clouding his thinking, he raises some uncomfortable points (for all of us). The hopelessness will perhaps be felt more in high HDI societies like Kerala and that may be a causative factor behind the high suicide rate.

(6) No need to be afraid of an increase in population”: T Ariff Ali (Jammat- e- Islami Al Hind, Kerala President)

This is a very basic issue. Manpower can be seen in two ways; Intellectual and physical. The people from Assam, Bihar, Bengal and the like are pouring into Kerala. But here we don’t have anyone.  We are exporting manpower to foreign countries.
 
All groups are afraid of the decrease in population. In the beginning Christian society was afraid of increase in the population. Now they are trying to correct it. There is no need to see any sort of communalism in it. These reactions should never be considered communal. According to Jamaat -e -Islami there is no need to be afraid of increasing population.

- !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(7) “The aim is not to increase population but to encourage life”: Salu Mecherill ( St Vincent De Paul Forane Church Project Director)

The aim of the project is not to increase population but to encourage life. There has been a drastic decline in youth population.  We intend to rectify this problem. The aim of the project is to preserve life until death.
 
The project couldn’t include other communities as the church can conduct this project at present only in a small scale. We are part of KCBC’s providence committee. We didn’t consult KCBC about this project.
 
These days women are reluctant to give birth to children. Many couples are reluctant to have kids at all. In Kalpetta the rate of farmers committing suicide are much less. The rate of increase of population is much less than even the developed nations.
 
According to the central government, by 2030 Kerala would be a large old age home. Hence it is necessary to have able youth that can work. So let other states do whatever they want.
 
There is nothing to be scared of. This is not meant for conducting war or anything. Many countries in the world are carrying on with such a project. It is not true that job opportunities are not increasing according to the population.

- spoken like a true believer, refutes point #5 on farmer suicides, raises an important point of Kerala becoming an increasingly grey society, so some action must be taken. 

This is fine however IMO any incentives should ideally come from the govt and help out the most distressed communities.

regards