Why Are Muslim Births in Sharp Decline in Indian Occupied Kashmir?

Muslim women's fertility rate in Indian Occupied Kashmir has sharply declined to just 1.4, far below the replacement level of 2.1, according to India's latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5).  Is this the result of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's oppression in Kashmir? Is it because of fewer Muslim young men in the occupied territory? Is it part of the Hindu Nationalist policy to change the demographics of Kashmir? Is it slow genocide

Kashmiris Demanding Azadi From India

Just over a week ago, India’s health ministry revealed that the country’s total fertility rate (TFR)—the average number of children that an Indian woman can expect to give birth to in her lifetime—has fallen below 2.1, which is to say below the “replacement” level at which births equal deaths. Muslim majority territory of Kashmir under Indian military occupation saw the biggest decline to just 1.4, the lowest TFR  reported by NFS-5. Hindu Nationalist politicians, including Prime Minister Modi, have rallied their Hindu voters by claiming that Muslims have too many babies. Legislation aimed at Muslims is being proposed to limit the size of families in the state of Uttar Pradesh led by Hindu priest Yogi Adityanath.  

India's Birth Rate Decline. Source: The Economist

The birth rates in Mr. Modi's BJP party's power base in the Hindi heartland continue to be much higher than those in the southern states. What this means is that the bulk of India's future voters and its workforce will continue to come mainly from the poor, less educated northern states. In 1971, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi froze the allocation of seats among India's states. As a result of this freeze, a member of parliament from Kerala now represents some 1.8 million voters while one from Uttar Pradesh represents nearly 3 million, according to a report in The Economist magazine. When the freeze on redistricting is lifted some time in the next decade, these disparities will mean that the northern states will have far more political power in the Union than they do now. 
The Indian military has kept Occupied Kashmir under extended and inhumane lockdown to prevent protests against New Delhi's reckless decision to scrap Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The lockdown is being enforced by over 700,000 Indian troops deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.  People have been kept imprisoned in their homes for months. They were deprived of Internet, telephone or television for extended periods.  Delhi rules the region under Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the same law that was created and used by the British colonial power to try and crush Gandhi's Quit India movement. Thousands have died and more than 6,221 people received pellet gun injuries in the seven months following the July 2016 killing of Burhan Wani, according to the Jammu and Kashmir government as reported by The New Humanitarian.  Mr. Modi's actions are not only an affront to the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also in clear violation of India's international and bilateral obligations under United Nations charter and the Simla Accord.   It is time for all sane Indians and the rest of the world to wake up to the serious threats posed to peace in South Asia region and the wider world by Mr. Modi's fascist Hindutva project.
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Comment by Riaz Haq on December 3, 2021 at 2:00pm

(RSS Chief Mohan) Bhagwat’s most controversial statement in Guwahati was about the decision of Muslims to increase their population from the 1930s. The RSS chief has not quoted any mass campaign launched by M A Jinnah or the Muslim League that urged Muslims to produce more children. There is no evidence of the Muslim clergy initiating any such movement, though some ulema had opposed permanent sterilisation methods.


Indeed, some facts may indeed be cited to substantiate the RSS chief’s statement. For example, while the Muslim population was 31.2 million, as recorded in the 1921 census, with a growth rate of 1.29 per cent, it went up to 35.8 million over time with a growth rate of 14.75 per cent. But then the devil is always in the detail. The Hindu growth rate was minus 0.68 in 1921 and it, too, registered a massive increase with a 10.54 per cent growth rate. The Spanish Flu of 1918 may have contributed to the low growth rates of both Hindus and Muslims in 1921.

In the 1941 census, the Hindu growth rate dropped to 6.19 per cent but the Muslim growth rate went up to 18.43 per cent. Bhagwat may have kept just these two census data in mind. But to get the complete picture, one needs more facts. In 1951, Hindus registered an impressive growth rate of 27.36 per cent but the Muslim growth rate went down to 16.5. Partition may have contributed to the rise and fall in growth rates.

In 1961, while the Hindu growth rate was 20.75, the Muslim growth rate drastically went up to 32.48. This increase was certainly not due to any concerted efforts of the community, its leadership or clergy. In fact, in the 1971 census, the Muslim growth rate went down from 32.48 to 30.78. Since then, it has been declining in every census. If we compare the growth rates of all communities in the 2001 and 2011 census, the sharpest and steepest decline was registered by the Muslim community — from 29.52 to 24.60. The Hindu growth rate declined only marginally from 19.92 to just 17.75.

The National Family Health Survey (2014), too, found that the Muslim fertility rate per woman had declined more than the Hindu fertility rate. The Muslim fertility rate in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh stood at 2.3, 2.2 and 1.8 respectively — much lower than the fertility rate of Hindu women in Bihar, Rajasthan and UP at 2.9, 2.8 and 2.6 respectively.

States and Union territories with a large Muslim population give a more clear idea about the myths perpetuated by the Hindu right-wing. Lakshadweep, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, West Bengal and Kerala registered highly encouraging growth rates of 1.1, 1.3, 3.3, 1.8 and 1.9 respectively. Muslims have achieved the desirable replacement fertility rate (2.1) target in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha and they are likely to reach that benchmark in the coming census in Kerala, West Bengal, Gujarat, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh.

Bhagwat must use his influence to tell the Lakshadweep administrator and the chief ministers of UP and Assam that there is no compelling state interest in bringing in a coercive two-child law anymore. At no point was the difference in Hindu and Muslim fertility more than 1.1 child(ren). Today, it is an insignificant 0.40.


Even in Pakistan, the fertility rate has gone down from 6.6 in 1971 to 3.4 in 2020. Bangladesh’s fertility rate has gone down from 6.2 in 1981 to 2.3 in 2020. The fertility rate depends on income levels. Thus, low-income countries have high fertility rates of four, the rate of high-middle-income countries is 1.9 and high-income countries as low as 1.7.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 26, 2022 at 8:36am

#China's #birth rate in alarming decline. Could it impact #Chinese #economic growth rate? Could China get old before it gets rich? Is #India better placed than China in terms of #demographics? #population #economy #fertility https://www.scmp.com/economy/economic-indicators/article/3171867/ch...


Cai Fang, a member of the People’s Bank of China’s monetary policy committee, said it is ‘entirely possible’ that the world’s largest population will peak in 2022
Yicai reported that seven out of the 16 provinces that have so far disclosed birth data saw negative population growth in 2021

China’s population is likely to peak this year, a central bank adviser said, with several provinces already reporting declines in the population growth rate.
Cai Fang, a member of the People’s Bank of China’s monetary policy committee, said it is “entirely possible” that the world’s largest population will peak in 2022, according to a report in the 21st Century Business Herald.
Separately, Yicai reported that seven out of the 16 provinces that have so far disclosed birth data saw negative population growth in 2021.
With a declining labour force already acting as a constraint on the supply side of the economy, a shrinking population will become a new restriction on the demand side, Cai said late on Friday.

A mismatch between demand and supply would curb economic growth, he said.
One way to boost demand is by granting migrant workers who work in the city residency permits, known as a hukou, Cai said, predicting the move alone could grow total consumption by 30 per cent.
A hukou is a household registration document all Chinese citizens must have that controls access to public services based on the birthplace of the holder. Migrant workers will hold hukou from their hometowns, meaning that they will have very limited rights to public services in any other city that they move to for work.
China should also take concrete measures to support household income growth, Cai said, to cope with the new demographic changes.

China had a population of 1.4126 billion at the end of last year, with the growth rate rising at the slowest pace since the 1950s.
The number of babies born in China in 2021 was 10.62 million, down from 12 million in 2020, according to the National Statistics Bureau.
Populations in the provinces of Jiangsu and Hubei, as well as in the Inner Mongolia, autonomous region, dropped for the first time in recent decades, according to the Yicai report.
The biggest decline was in Heilongjiang, where the population fell by 0.51 per cent last year, it said.
Adding to the trend, a separate Yicai report said the number of marriages in 2021 hit the lowest since records began in 1986. The 7.6 million registrations last year was 56.6 per cent of the peak reached in 2013, it said.

Comment by Riaz Haq on March 26, 2022 at 8:37am

#China's #birth rate in alarming decline. Could it impact #Chinese #economic growth rate? Could China get old before it gets rich? Is #India better placed than China in terms of #demographics? #population #economy #fertility https://www.scmp.com/economy/economic-indicators/article/3171867/ch...

A social media post in early March claiming that India had become the world’s most populous country created a storm in China.
The post claimed India’s population had hit 1.415 billion and was widely shared on social media, adding to rocky relations between Beijing and New Delhi and concerns over domestic growth hurdles in China, while also fuelling discussions about a host of social issues.
Demographic issues have been a hot topic in China since last year, when the once-a-decade census found the national fertility rate was alarmingly low.

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 1, 2022 at 4:54pm

Nitasha Kaul, One of #KashmiriPandits, testifying in #US Congressional hearings condemns #Modi’s oppression in Kashmir.Selective #Hindutva narrative of #JammuAndKashmir about #KashmiriPandits ignores that #Jammu had #Muslim majority in 1947 #kashmirifiles https://youtu.be/q8JScHFlhWs

Comment by Riaz Haq on April 1, 2022 at 4:55pm

The Kashmir Files': Hate - the Right Language For Our Story?

A Kashmiri Pandit responds to the film 'The Kashmir Files'.

No, what happened was not genocide. No, they weren’t like Nazis, neither were we like Jews- systematically and deliberately persecuted by the state. No, a dramatised film so obviously conniving and cunning in its telling is not the gospel. The wheels of justice have not suddenly sprung into motion, unless we choose to believe so. By drawing misleading parallels, we insult the history that isn’t ours and bastardise the truth that is.

Monumental box office numbers, multiple twitter trends and incessantly buzzing WhatsApp notifications might suggest a long overdue unification of Kashmiri Pandits for justice.

However, with a single minded interest in pushing the discourse into a vortex of technicalities like Genocide Vs Exodus, and number of killings, despite its marketing tagline - RightToJustice – this film has neither an interest, nor the answer for what this justice could possibly entail. Not even lip service.
Regardless of its cinematic worth, The Kashmir Files relentlessly pursues a version of truth those hailing it, swear by. By misrepresenting facts just enough, deceitfully layered with disinformation and obfuscating any context, the film succeeds in its true purpose - blatant vilification of Kashmiri Muslims.

Several friends, and acquaintances reached out recently, asking – did it really happen? Yes. Did it happen the way it is shown? Yes, but not really. And, therein lies its voodoo.

Three decades ago, when thousands of Kashmiris left their home, we were perhaps luckier than some to have extended family already in Delhi to stay with. Thereby sidestepping the quagmire of refugee-camps. To that extent, ours wasn’t the median story. It wasn’t even the worst. Others who left, lived in abysmal conditions for years, and died. And yet, many others that survived, showed remarkable resilience by building back lives since - from scratch, despite the tragic displacement, and thrived. Did time heal all the pain? Or did we forget everything that happened, as a defence to cope with our unaddressed trauma?

Unfortunately, trauma works in mysterious ways. Every life event, in one form or the other, gets linked to that traumatic event. I have seen this within my immediate and closed ones. Admittedly, I too, lived so for many years. Silently. And assumed that’s just the way it was, is, and will continue to be.

Even though, the first friend I made in Delhi (and life) was a Kashmiri Muslim, himself a product of this complex tragedy of Kashmiris (not just Pandits), I failed to recognise what stared me in the face, for a long time. Today when I struggle with many trepidations of life, more than thirty-two years after that fateful day, I realise I am a product of privileges, choices, misgivings, mistakes and learnings, all uniquely mine. It took me many years to realise – Trauma induces hate, and hate consumes you. No matter how deep a wound runs, hate can't be right. Because, it blinds you.


To let our suffering, grief and trauma turn into a battle cry, and be appropriated as a weapon of mass hatred, we do grave disservice to our tragedy.
By reducing our idea and understanding of truth, to mistrust, suspicion and today’s zeitgeist -hate for them- we stand to denigrate our very essence forever. Was hate the right language to tell our story in? Were shock and awe the only words to write our history in?

Before it’s too late, we need to open our eyes to see through this mirage. Instead of falling into the trap of being told what, and who, we should stand against, we need to decide for ourselves, what we should stand for.

Comment by Riaz Haq on May 10, 2022 at 9:10am

Muslims’ fertility rate sees sharpest decline over two decades, shows health ministry survey
Fertility rate among Muslims is only 0.36 points higher than that of Hindus, according to the latest National Family Health Survey.


The fertility rate among Muslims has seen the sharpest decline among all religious communities over the past two decades, compared to other religious communities, data from the National Family Health Survey-5, released last week, has showed.

The fertility rate is the average number of children born to a woman in her lifetime.

The fertility rate among Muslims has dropped to 2.3 during the 2019 to 2021 period, from 2.6 recorded in 2015-16, the survey conducted by the Union health ministry showed. In 1992-93, Muslims had a fertility rate of 4.4.

Among Hindus, the fertility rate has dropped from 3.3 in 1992-93 to 1.94 in the latest survey. In the previous survey for 2015-16, fertility rate among Hindus was 2.1. The numbers show that the fertility rate has declined 46.5% among Muslims since 1992-93 and 41.2% in Hindus.

The fertility rate is 1.88% in Christians, 1.61% in Sikhs, 1.6% in Jains, and 1.39% in the Buddhist and Neo-Buddhist communities. The country’s total fertility rate has dipped to 2, according the survey, from 2.2 in 2015-16. The total fertility rate is currently below the replacement rate of 2.1.

Replacement rate is a crucial factor in the study of population growth. A replacement rate of less than 2.1 ensures the replacement of a woman and her partner upon death with no overall increase or decrease in the population.


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