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Published in the 16-30 Sep 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition


Census nonsensus 

The goof of census commission in omitting the report that Muslim rate of growth is higher and rising while that of Hindus is lower and declining could not come at worst time. The mistake in this had been that in 1991 censuses the J&K population was not included and so the rise, which appeared, was based on a mistaken ground. As such the correction shows that the rate of rise of Muslims is also declining.

One wonders as to what purpose the type of break up helps. One is aware that religion is no parameter for the population growth. The determinant factor for the number of children in the family is the educational status and social development. If we go region wise we see that the rate of population growth amongst Muslims in Kerala is very low compared to other Muslims in India. During two decades Muslim community has suffered enormously due to communal violence. The social indices related to poverty and education is dropping, while civic amenities are worsening due to the process of ghettoisation brought in due to the violence. In these circumstances the general rise is likely to be higher, but as such the rate of rise is declining despite these adverse situations faced by the community. The goof of census commission will add grist to the propaganda mill of the communal forces that merrily constructs slogans to denigrate this community. Hope the commission is cautious about this in the future and a supplementary analysis, which gives the break up of population rise according to poverty and education levels is supplemented to put the record straight and to deflate the communal propaganda.
Ram Puniyani, Mumbai,


It has now come to notice that the census report , which had, with much fanfare, stated that the Muslim growth rate had increased dramatically, actually included J&K and Assam in its figures for this decade, when it did not do so in the last decade. In fact, taking this into consideration, the Muslim growth rate actually fell down by nearly 4% points. (This is not to include the fact that many respondents earlier classified as Hindus insisted on asserting their religious identities - Jains, for example, which partly explains the huge increase in the Jain "growth rate"). One does not need to be an Einstein to realise that this probably was a deliberate attempt to mislead. The Sangh Parivar, after all, has its pet bureaucrats at all levels in Government. 

After all the discussion, stereotyping and sickening propaganda that this had generated (Sample this poll: what was the reason for the high Muslim rate?: 1) Religion 2) Society 3) Poverty 4) None), after all the chest beating by the Sangh parivar, this new litle statistic is surely going to be virtually ignored by the media. Leaders of other communities would have come out in the open asking for an apology, but the Muslim "leadership" couldn't be bothered with such issues! They are, after all, never around when the community needs them the most. 

The least we can expect the census commissioner, the Sangh Parivar and sections of the media that played a hand in misrepresenting facts is an apology, not to the Muslim community, but to the nation as a whole. Let us not take our citizens for granted anymore.
Anwar Mallik

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