The Plight of a Populous Nation

-Aditi Mishra

Ever since the independence of India the economically downtrodden have faced massive hurdles en route to progress. Even after more than seventy years that have passed since the end of the ruinous British rule that crippled the Indian economy, Indians struggle to find a stable footing in this world. The newer generations face a comparatively graver challenge because of the sheer population and the limited resources offered to them. At 1.2 billion India forms almost 1/7th of the world’s population and is only the seventh largest nation in terms of its geography. The first thing which comes to one’s mind when they think of India isn’t just the vibrant culture or the colourful festivals, it is also an image of a booming population. Even though the manpower present in India is immense, most of this goes to waste because lack of utilization as clearly indicated by the rising unemployment rates. The government can do only so much to generate jobs and employment for people. But greater population means a greater number of children, more pressure on the education system, more financial pressure on the families, more competition for even entry-level jobs and lesser skill in the workforce. These are direct indicators of an internally rotting economy.

In a country like ours parents struggle to earn a living for themselves and end up with three to four children to support. Lack of awareness about the consequences of the population burst and insufficient infrastructure to deal with it, have appeared as the primary hurdles blocking India’s inevitable jump in global power. With a lesser yet younger population India will most certainly dash in the economic race as it would not struggle to provide basic facilities to such a huge set of citizens.

Some regard as population control as inhuman and an infringement of basic human rights and biological evolution of an individual. However, what people fail to observe is that curbing the population doesn’t mean stopping biological reproduction. It involves an intricate system of regulations put into place to avoid increasing the existing rate of birth itself. It means discouraging the situation of having more than a certain number of children, and imposing economic sanctions on violation of these regulations.

It may sound harsh at first. People will vehemently protest the interference of the government in their personal choice. However, it is necessary for people to remember that population control isn’t murder or infringement of people’s rights; it is in fact the prevention of it. The advantages of a sustainable population would ensure that the infrastructure of the country works better. Streets would be free of noise, markets would improve, education will be better, employment would grow, pollution would decrease, rapidly expanding cities won’t need to remove forests, people’s share of the natural resources will increase and so much more will be so easily available to the existing population. It will also be easier to monitor, curb criminal activities and regulate the country.

This isn’t Thanos’ snap wiping our population clean; it is keeping our population to the 1.2 billion mark, and maybe, with the support of the people, decreasing it to an even more sustainable figure in the future. So, before you make up your mind about your position on  this issue, imagine a country where parents do not have to face the burden of providing for many children and can focus their attention and finances on a few, a country where children receive better education with more attention from teachers, a country where jobs aren’t so scarce, a country where even limited amount of food and living space is enough for people, a country where crime is less, poverty rapidly is disappearing and the environment is preserved. If the proposed solution is still very cruel, think about the number of pending criminal cases with the courts of the country which cannot be heard because of the sheer number of active cases. Think about the number of criminals who are out on the loose because of this and what they can do to harm more innocent people. Think about the begging children on the streets who cannot benefit from government projects because there are already so many others in those programs. Think about the poor students who have to receive substandard education, even if they are fully capable of being educated intellectuals. Think about the unemployed young Indians who have no way of entering the saturated workforce and support their families. Think about the abandoned children whose parents do not want to bear the responsibility of more children. If it still sounds inhuman, think about the sick and dying people in our ill-funded and over-crowded hospitals that never have enough number of doctors or nurses to manage. They are facing the possibility of actual murder by the consequences of having such a massive population.

Our country has a long way to go to recover from the consequences of this population boom. Controlling it is surely a step in the direction.

Luring for stars and giving them scars

 “Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul”

How beautiful it seems if you wake up to the laughter of children in your courtyard! As a parent, as an elder, as a grandparent and the million other relationships you can have with a child, you see them as a flower blossoming and enriching the world around in their own ways. But an epidemic has been plaguing this beautiful creation of god at an alarming rate and that is Child Abuse

Child abuse can come from various sources and has diverse forms. A parent or a caretaker, any other acquaintance or anybody known or unknown, through any action, physical, verbal, mental or emotional, causing injury, agony, pain or exploitation to a child is child abuse. The various categories of child abuse are namely, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse or psychological abuse and neglect. These can create damage to a child’s health, welfare and safety and often the damage can be irreparable. 

With the world’s development gaining momentum, our aspirations are rising by leaps and bounds. Often we tend to envision our dreams in our children and take it for granted that they would make those come true. When they don’t seem to follow the trajectory, we tend to abuse them in our very own ways, be it physical, verbal, mental or emotional. Often children are exploited for sexual favours by their known or unknown. There are very many cases where a child suffers through a lot of emotional turmoil owing to neglect.  

As per the 2011 Census, more than 470 million people in India are below eighteen years of age and that is equivalent to 41% of the country’s total population. A major portion of this population, the country’s future generation is affected by the various forms of child abuse. According to the latest statistics by the government, in India a child is sexually abused every 15 minutes. As per the report on crimes in India for 2016, released by Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi, 106,958 cases of crimes against children were recorded in 2016. Out of these, 36,022 cases were recorded under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.

The harsh reality is very many times the abuser not even realizes the magnitude of harm he is causing to the child. Child maltreatment is a global problem that can have repercussions lasting a lifetime. It is therefore, imperative for us as a society to respond to the wakeup call and awaken ourselves. It is high time we realize how vital grassroots caregiving is and how it can lead to a happier future. Every child is special in his/her own way. Let’s nurture a better tomorrow!

“Dekho raaton ke seene pe ye toh

Jhilmil kisi lau se uge hain

Ye toh ambiya ki khushbu hain baago se beh chale

Kho na jaye ye Taare Zameen Par*”

*Credit Note:

Lyricist: Prasoon Joshi | Movie: Taare Zameen Par