The Population Growth Rate In India Essay — страница 2

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floods. Resistance to sterilization has traditionally been strongest among men, Chandrasekhar suggesting that the prevalence of tubectomies as opposed to vasactomies serving serving indication that “women are becoming increasingly aware of the problem and want to solve it without waiting for their husbands to decide on vasectomy.” In regard to IUD, which has been promoted since its introduction in India in 1963, the method has not proven popular because of the relative frequency of excessive bleeding and, though more infrequent, involuntary expulsion. Taking note of the fact that in traditional Indian society gynecology, obstetrics and other fields requiring intimate contact and conversation with women are invariably reserved to female doctors only, Chandrasekhar observes

that “the real problem is the lack of sufficient numbers of dedicated women physicians who are willing to work in rural areas and spend some time in pre-insertion and post-insertion follow-up of their patients.” The third major mode of contraception-condom use has seen a marked increase in usage in India in recent years; however, much of this increase has been due less to family planning concerns but to fear of AIDS on the part of sexually-active persons, such as prostitutes and their clients, who could be expected to take precautions against pregnancy anyway. As for the pill, it still has not proven a major contraceptive mode among the uneducated masses who are most inclined to have large families. In addition to long-recognized family planning modes, other factors have been

operating to limit the rate of population growth in recent years. Unfortunately, infanticide of girl babies has become increasingly commonplace in India, perhaps because the growth in materialism has led the lower classes to become more and more aware of the “undesirability” of girls. While the Hindu emphases upon dowery, which can have the effect of impoverishing a family with many daughters, is no doubt a significant contributing factor, it should be pointed out that population figures for Pakistan and Bangla Desh would suggest a prevalence of infanticide of girl babies in these nation as well, despite the fact that under Islam there has traditionally been no dowery at marriage but, instead, a so-called “bridal price” paid by the family of the groom. Thus, indications

are that Muslims throughout the subcontinent have accepted the Indian cultural presumption that girl babies are undesirable even though under Islam the bride’s parents theoretically stand to benefit financially. Mahmood Mamdan notes that, in regard to India, “the preferential treatment of male over female clearly shows in the much higher infant death rate among females and in the resulting higher ratios of males over females in general population,” adding that “in most other parts of the world, females of a general population have lower death rates than males.” Indeed, except for the Arab all countries of the Persian Gulf, which offer employment to large numbers of unmarried men from other areas of the Middle East, the only other countries which display a population

ratio significantly in favor of males on the Indian pattern are Pakistan and Bangla Desh, where, as has already been noted, the infanticide of female babies presumable also prevails. In addition to the elimination of girl babies, either through outright murder or the denying them food and care traditionally given to boys, abortion, on the basis of amniocentesis, has been another means of population control where girl babies are concerned. As in the case of infanticide, the authorities have been largely powerless to restrict the practice, abortion being for the most part legal in India even though the use of amniocentesis for the purpose of aborting a healthy female baby is theoretically against the law. Another means of reducing the “unwanted” girl babies is abandonment to

charitable organizations under circumstances where adoption will result. The anonymous abandonment of children to charitable agencies is the another practice that is illegal but impossible for the government to prevent, for the agencies understandably hesitate to refuse to accept a child from a parent apparently intent on abandonment for fear that infanticide will then be resorted to by such a parent. And, although Indian law requires that an adoption agency give priority to placement with families within India, the relative paucity of Indian couples seeking to adopt children insures that virtually all babies given up for adoption will find homes in the affluent industrialized countries of the West. We have therefore seen that, while the rate of India’s population growth has