Myth of Muslim growth

Once again, the debate on census population data on religion misses the point.

Written by Abusaleh Shariff | Updated: September 2, 2015 12:44 am
Census 2011, Census 2011 muslims population, Muslim population, population growth, Muslim population growth, Census 2011 data, Census 2011 religious population, religious population census, census population data, indian express column, in column, Abusaleh Shariff column Muslims have shown a 50 per cent higher decline in growth rate than Hindus. This positive higher decline of Muslims has been occurring since 1981 and is expected to continue in a manner such that, soon, the Muslim growth rate will be similar to that of the Hindus.

With the release of the Census 2011 data on religion and misleading reports in the media, the growth of the Muslim population has become the focus of the debate once again. Almost 10 years ago, in 2004, a similar but sharper controversy had erupted when the government released the Census 2001 data on religion.

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There were strong but misguided media debates on the differentials in population growth by religion in reference to Census 2001. The debate was so intense, and often so malicious, that the Union government established a committee to find out the “social, economic and educational status of the Muslims”; it published a report, popularly known as the Sachar report, which has dispelled misunderstandings about Muslim population growth, as well as the status of social, economic and educational conditions according to major socio-religious categories. Now, over a decade later, it is appropriate to ask what has changed that pertains to the Muslims of India.

Many often wonder whether the release of census data coincides with some political activity, like elections. The answer seems to be in the affirmative. Further, the data is released in a context where, for over a year, the sadhvis and sadhus occupying a “place of pride” within Parliament have been yelling urgency in containing the growth of Muslims. It is time to find out if such rhetoric — “paanch beevian aur un sabke 25 bachche” — has finally yielded results.

India is projected to have 311 million Muslims in 2050 (11 per cent of the global total), making it the country with the largest Muslim population in the world.

In the nearly 70 years since Independence, religious violence has claimed thousands of lives, including those of modern India’s founder, Mahatma Gandhi, and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. A recent Pew Research Centre report on religious restrictions found India to have one of the highest levels of social hostilities involving religion in the world.

With this background, let us get into the specific highlights of the Census 2011 population by religion data.

First, the total population growth rate declined from 21.5 per cent to 17.7 per cent, which is a continuation of the decline of the population of all religions since 1981. The decline has been somewhat faster than what many experts expected, which is reassuring since population stabilisation will occur earlier than projected estimates.

Second, the Muslim population has increased from 13.4 per cent of the population to 14.2 per cent, which is 0.8 percentage points higher. But the rate of growth is considerably lower than in previous decades. Muslims are expected to grow faster than Hindus for a couple of more decades because they have the youngest median age and relatively high fertility among the major religious groups in India. In 2010, the median age of Indian Muslims was 22, compared with 26 for Hindus and 28 for Christians. Muslim women bear an average 3.1 children per head, compared with 2.7 for Hindus and 2.3 for Christians.

Third, in 2011, Hindus constituted 79.8 per cent of the population, compared to 80.5 per cent in 2001. This is the result of a rate of decline over the decade of 3.5 percentage points. It is the difference between the decadal growth rate of Hindus in 2001, which was 20.3 per cent and their growth rate between 2001 and 2011, which is 16.8 per cent. Compare these with the ratios for Muslims, who had a decadal growth rate of 29.5 per cent in 2001. This growth rate, between 2001 and 2011, has declined steeply to 24.6 per cent. This decline works out to be a high 4.9 percentage points.

Fourth, when these percentage point declines are compared between Hindus and Muslims, Muslims have shown a 50 per cent higher decline in growth rate than Hindus. This positive higher decline of Muslims compared with Hindus has been occurring since 1981, and is expected to continue in a manner such that the Muslim growth rate will soon be similar to that of the Hindus. The fast pace of decline in Muslim women’s fertility rate is occurring while they have a much lower mean child-bearing age, which in itself is evidence that falling Muslim fertility is choice-based and irreversible in the near future.

Fifth, overall, there is considerable improvement in the sex ratio in 2011 — 943. This improvement has been phenomenal among Hindus. This is a very positive story of Census 2011. Yet, Muslims have better sex ratios compared to Hindus, which is also a contributing factor in the relatively higher number of births.
Sixth, it has been pointed out since the mid-1980s that the prevalence rate of contraceptives among Muslims has been increasing faster than among Hindus and is likely to catch up with the national average earlier than expected. The rate of increase in contraception among the Muslim community, even in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, has been high.

In conclusion, it would be most appropriate to ask why the census of India has not yet published data according to religion for essential social and economic indicators — such as literacy rates and levels of literacy, work participation rates according to occupation, and the distribution of public employment in national and state governments. Such data highlight the participation of various religious communities in public spaces and also provide a better yardstick to measure equal opportunities in India.

The sadhvis and sadhus in Parliament would be better-off shouting slogans that favour the establishment of national- and state-level equal opportunity commissions in India. Also, it is time the Union government established a committee to review the improvement in the social, economic and educational situation of the 175-million strong Indian Muslim community since the Sachar Committee turned in its report.

The writer, executive director of the US-India Policy Institute in Washington DC, was also member-secretary of the Sachar Committee

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First Published on: September 2, 2015 12:28 am
  1. M
    manu
    Jan 8, 2017 at 8:24 am
    ajmal kasab writes book : terrorism is myth :)
    Reply
    1. A
      Asha Patel
      Nov 27, 2016 at 5:29 pm
      Jai Hind Hindustan
      Reply
      1. M
        Mustafa Laskar
        Oct 26, 2016 at 7:36 am
        sach kya hai aur Jutha kya
        Reply
        1. H
          Haradhan Mandal
          Sep 2, 2015 at 9:16 pm
          There is another 'bogey' that is used regularly to whip up the pion in the right wing belt/vote bank. This is the so-called FLOOD of Bangladeshi (Muslim) into India thru West Bengal and am. Do census data show some lights on this, some irrefutable data? After a 34 years of left rule - Muslim potion should be somewhere like 70% in West Bengal, compared to 30% Hindu (that include the Adivasis, who are now counted in CENSUS as part of Hindu potion).
          Reply
          1. P
            Pmp
            Sep 2, 2015 at 3:57 pm
            the author is even though apologetic about the Muslim growth rate, does not explain why other communities are threatened by this,the answer clearly is in the absence of peace which may occur with the growth,which is historically true world over.
            Reply
            1. Q
              Qatari
              Sep 4, 2015 at 7:10 am
              In 1947 all Muslims went to stan. Any one who claims to be one must be an imposter , if a genuine Mao should be sent to stan immediately.
              Reply
              1. C
                C Siddarth
                Sep 4, 2015 at 11:58 am
                The writer seems to only HOPE that Muslims are using contraceptives. No figures given. A look at an average Muslim family on the road anywhere will prove to you that contraceptives are unheard of to them.
                Reply
                1. S
                  sree
                  Sep 2, 2015 at 10:38 am
                  if you genuinely want to convince Hindus, you can not brush aside the main question, which is as follows. Wherever the Muslims have gained majority, they have ethnically cleansed Hindus. Look at present day sthan and Bangladesh, look at our own secular Kashmir. How will you ure Hindus that tomorrow the same thing will NOT happen in border districts where Muslim potion is growing rapidly. In real exam, you get marks for answering the question given by examiner, and not for raising your own questions and answering the same. If you genuinely want to convince Hindus, please answer the question raised above. Else you can have the glory of getting your article published in IE, but the Hindu communal virus would continue to spoil the minds of Hindus.
                  Reply
                  1. B
                    bhanu
                    Sep 2, 2015 at 4:09 pm
                    All the statistical analysis does clarify why more skull caps and burqahs are predominantly visible in bus stations, shopping malls and other public places. Why the number of mosques and use of loudspeakers has increased manifold. The bottom line is that there is an increase in muslim potion as a percentage of total potion. Why deny the obvious?
                    Reply
                    1. c
                      countk99
                      Sep 2, 2015 at 9:07 am
                      First the Muslims should take care of their children by restricting to 1 or 2 instead of 10 children. By doing this they can provide better education, good food and healthy environment to grow. Why blame government when you don't take care of your own children. Funny thing is no body want to talk about it, not even courts or committees formed by government. For Hindus no government gave extra money for the betterment of the children. Hindu parents only stopped with 1 or 2 children and worked hard to give quality of life for children. I never came across Muslims who stopped with 2 children.
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        Akash Singh
                        Sep 7, 2015 at 3:53 pm
                        Yeah.. Indian Express is trying very hard to provee..FACTS are side... But ultimately Truth has been spoken..
                        Reply
                        1. D
                          Dipak
                          Sep 2, 2015 at 10:01 am
                          Something must be done to reduce the growth of Muslim Potion. stan has already done to Hindus and Sikhs. Sanjiv hi (himself a Muslim) gave out radios to reduce potion. Hardik, use your energy in right cause.
                          Reply
                          1. D
                            DivyaJain
                            Sep 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm
                            Your math and hence the entire logic built on it is flawed. Accuracy doesnot come into picture, because we are talking of round figures anyway.. not claiming 85.000001 vs 85.00006. That is what accuracy means.
                            Reply
                            1. D
                              DivyaJain
                              Sep 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm
                              Your math and hence the entire logic built on it is flawed. Accuracy doesnot come into picture, because we are talking of round figures anyway.. not claiming 85.000001 vs 85.00006. That is what accuracy means.
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                Sreenivasan
                                Sep 2, 2015 at 11:42 am
                                Guru Golwalkar was invited to address the students of the School of Social Science of Gujarat University on December 17, 1960. In this address, while underlying his firm belief in the Race Theory, he touched upon the issue of cross-breeding of human beings in the Indian society in history. He said: Today experiments in cross-breeding are made only on animals. But the courage to make such experiments on human beings is not shown even by the so-called modern scientist of today. If some human cross-breeding is seen today it is the result not of scientific experiments but of carnal lust. Now let us see the experiments our ancestors made in this sphere. In an effort to better the human species through cross-breeding the Namboodri Brahamanas of the North were settled in Kerala and a rule was laid down that the eldest son of a Namboodri family could marry only the daughter of Vaishya, Kashtriya or Shudra communities of Kerala. Another still more courageous rule was that the first off-spring of a married woman of any cl must be fathered by a Namboodri Brahman and then she could beget children by her husband. Today this experiment will be called adultery but it was not so, as it was limited to the first child. [M. S. Golwalkar cited in Organizer , January 2, 1961, p. 5.]
                                Reply
                                1. J
                                  josef
                                  Sep 12, 2015 at 4:02 am
                                  This article asks for people and the government to focus on what's important for the minority community (education/literacy, economic situation, health status, unemployment level, plus being discriminated against at every level of public and private sector, rather than creating an uoroar about their higher birth rate, and "increasing percentage of the potion"
                                  Reply
                                  1. G
                                    G M
                                    Sep 3, 2015 at 1:31 am
                                    The Muslim potion is not increased. Hindu's girl potion is decreased by choice and even then girl survive they perish to dowri death as in Hindu marriage law divorce is next to impossible and so the wife is murdered to get rid off.It would be much better to adopt Muslim brethorn's divorce law to save life. Cast based discrimination in India has been minimized due to influence of Muslim/Christian .So follow the president and get ured.
                                    Reply
                                    1. G
                                      gopa
                                      Sep 2, 2015 at 11:05 pm
                                      The author , himself a Muslim, wants to see, like most Muslims, the country turn into a Muslim state. He is silent why Muslims have a higher birth rate and their poverty is linked to the large family and madrah education. The author is silent on that. After all, he is a Muslim first, and Indian second.
                                      Reply
                                      1. G
                                        Gopal
                                        Sep 2, 2015 at 3:59 pm
                                        What is the myth? Muslim potion has increased at a faster rate. That increase is slowing down as it is for all groups. Now consider Muslim nations where the reverse takes place and not one Muslim or secularist talks about it. In stan, ethnic and religious cleansing has ensured that Hindus and Sikhs are less than 1%. And yet there are many in Kashmir, particularly the educated who support stan.
                                        Reply
                                        1. G
                                          guestfromindia
                                          Sep 3, 2015 at 1:13 pm
                                          No myths here. The Muslim potion is growing at an abnormal pace. I have heard first person accounts of Muslim members wanting to outbreed the Hindus. The small minority of Muslims that practice family planning and birth control needs to grow rapidly. Ignorance and fundamentalism are deadly cancers that is holding back the muslim community. Even if you manage to establish an Islamic caliphate, there is nothing to gloat about. Look at stan. You are much better off under an benign Hindu umbrella. The Hindu religion is inherently accepting and forgiving. Much as you may hate it, it is the sustaining force for India. Recognize it before it is too late.
                                          Reply
                                          1. G
                                            guestfromindia
                                            Sep 5, 2015 at 9:18 am
                                            Unfortunately, muslim leaders are liars. Tarek Fateh drills down the fact that Islam requires a follower to be absolutely sincere and honest, these leaders are anything but that. Blindly egging on the ignorant mes to multiply in the name of Allah.
                                            Reply
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