The slogan “ Hum Do Humare Do” recently resurfaced in the newspapers after the government of Maharashtra disqualified a woman officer from the Maharashtra Prison Department.
The inquiry revealed that she violated the “Maharashtra Civil Services” rules as she suppressed the information from the authorities that she has three children. One of the “Maharashtra Civil Services” rules corresponds to the ‘two-child policy’
So the question which arises here is why a country like India whose constitution provides “RIGHT TO LIFE” under Article 21, should specify the number of children one should have? As the number of children a couple wants is totally their choice?
Delving more into that we can say that Family Planning is not a modern concept, ironically India was the first amongst the world to formulate a family program during the 1950s. However, post-independence, our attention diverted to other sectors for development and we left the concept behind.
During Indira Gandhi’s government, the two-child policy got an aggressive implementation which in the end backfired the Indian demography with a population explosion during the mid-’70s. It is when in the year 2000 the government came up with “NATIONAL POPULATION POLICY ” with the objective of stabilizing the population by 2045.
Further, Why is there a need for such a policy which violates somebody’s fundamental right? So with a country like India with issues like a deep patriarchal mindset restricts the society to focus on maternal health during and after pregnancy. This leads to a sharp increase in the mortality rate of mothers. As the number of children increases, mothers do not get time to recover from deficiency of iron and other nutrients after pregnancy and breastfeeding. Apart from the health perspective, there is also an environmental concern, some may like Elon Musk’s initiative to colonize Mars but would you like to leave earth and live there? It’s an individual choice but for the people living on earth resources are limited, a huge population is definitely a burden on natural resources and the national economy. From the social point of view, a stabilized population of a country shows a great impact on the standard of life of an individual, with less number of children results in judicious use of family resources
TURNING THE COAT
Obviously, things are not as black and white as it seems, everything has a negative consequence in its own way, as of now India has no national policy mandating specific numbers of children. Several states after the 1991 census prohibited those who had more than two children from holding local bodies post which further resulted in consequences like men divorcing wives for the third child. “Life is too short to learn from your own experiences” and as we see China’s one-child policy results are not so satisfying and encouraging. China’s one-child policy led to an ageing population with a fast declining workforce. If we dive into the Constitution, we find ARTICLE-51 and its sub-clause (c) states that to ” foster respect for international law and treaty obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another” so it is a contravention of international law as India became a signatory to the International Conference on Population and Development Declaration in 1994. Thus, India is committed to honoring the individual right of couples to decide freely the number of children they want to have. In recent times we can see that India already suffers from a lack of political leadership further if we restrict someone from holding an elected post just because he/she is feeding just one extra child, Is it a feature of a truly democratic country?
CHANGING THE MINDSET
what will a person do after getting married at the age of 18 ( legal age of marriage for girls in India)? Young age marriages usually lead to unplanned childbirth, increasing the legal age of marriage would delay the age of first childbirth and more maturity among couples regarding family planning. Various ways like Good education, reservation for women in administration posts would pave the way for effective participation of women in the workforce and empower them not to be too dependent on male counterparts. After all, one of the major concerns regarding controlling the population in Indian society is reducing the social and cultural taboos in using contraception, and behaviour change communication, especially for men. “HUM DO HUMARE DO” is not forcible to anybody it’s just another aspect of nationalism that whatever resources we have are limited and should be shared with everyone and should be conserved for our future generation as well.