Analysis

Why Moral and Social Vices no issues in Indian Elections?

Why society then has become so oblivious of the declining moral standards of the country that there is absolutely no mention of the issues related to morality and social vices in the election campaign? Why have we become such slaves of the market-driven social transformation that we are letting our people killed and our societies destroyed without even a semblance of resistance?
We are citizens of a country where the overwhelming percentage of the population believes in one religion or the other, where the number of hardcore atheists may not be even 1 percent, where most of the people believe in religious definitions of morality, where family is the ultimate axis of all kinds of relationships and where departure from established conventions is regarded a grave sin even by those who deviate. Why society then has become so oblivious of the declining moral standards of the country that there is absolutely no mention of the issues related to morality and social vices in the election campaign? Why have we become such slaves of the market-driven social transformation that we are letting our people killed and our societies destroyed without even a semblance of resistance?  This is even more surprising considering the fact that RSS backed BJP is involved in its biggest ever political campaign, and several small Muslim and Sikh organizations are also in the field.

This is despite the fact that in terms of damage to life and property, certain vices are much more devastating than the issues like corruption and communalism that have dominated the election campaign.

Alcohol related diseases in India are showing an upward trend in recent times, and these deaths are only a fraction of total number of deaths that can be attributed to alcohol.  The rise in number of deaths has been by over 20 pc in recent years with more than 5000 deaths every year.

A report says: “Although consuming alcohol might have become a part of the culture yet the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data revealed some mind-blowing facts. In the last five years, barring 2011, there has been a continual rise in the total number of alcohol-related deaths. During the period ranging from 2008 to 2012, this figure saw a steep rise of 27% from the level of 4308 to 5478. A massive increase of 21% was alone witnessed in 2012 when death figure zoomed to 5478 as against 4547 cases registered in 2011….

Likewise, WHO Global status report (released in 2011) on alcohol and health stated, “The harmful use of alcohol results in approximately 2.5 million deaths each year. Almost 4 per cent of all deaths worldwide are attributed to alcohol.”

The report further adds: “Reasoning out the factors involved with the rise in alcohol-related deaths, Sameer Malhotra, head of the psychiatry department at Max hospital opined, “Yes, alcohol-related deaths are on the rise. We are seeing the clinical population. There are multiple of factors which are responsible for the rise in alcohol related deaths. Factors included: level of alcohol consumption has gone up, age of consuming alcohol has only receded over the years, social acceptance has increased, laws have become a bit slack, unawareness about the complications associated with alcohol.”

The consumption of alcohol in India is increasing rapidly. According to the same report, “It is expected that alcohol consumption will increase in India. According to the report released in 2011 by industry body, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), alcohol consumption in India will cross 19,000 million litres by 2015 from the level of 6,700 million litres witnessed in 2011.

Agreeing with the above findings, Samir Shah, founder member and the general secretary of the National Liver Foundation, averred, “Whenever the usage of alcohol will increase, deaths would increase in the same proportion. Most of the people start by some kind of an experimental use.” http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-alcohol-related-deaths-on-the-rise-1887523

The alcohol is a major cause of death and injuries in road accidents not only among Indians living in India but also Indians living in other countries. Almost 12% of the deaths among American Indians and Alaska Natives are alcohol-related — more than three times the percentage in the general population, a new federal report says. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2008-08-28-alcohol-indians_N.htm

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, about 134,000 people died in road accidents last year, which witnessed a 28 percent increase as compared to 2008.

Experts predict that more than 150,000 Indians will die in traffic accidents before this year is out. Another three million are expected to be hospitalized.

A recent report released by Community against Drunken Driving - "Alcohol and Rising Incidents of Road Accident Fatalities - Recent Trends in India (2001-2010)" says that 70 percent of fatalities are due to drunk driving with accidents occurring mainly on India's unregulated highways. http://www.dw.de/india-registers-highest-number-of-road-fatalities-in-the-world/a-6664122

Data estimated for the year 2005 suggested that injuries contributed to nearly 850 000 deaths, and nearly 17 000 000 persons were hospitalized. Further, nearly 42 500 000 persons had minor injuries, incapacitating them for shorter or longer periods. Nearly 70% of these deaths and injuries occurred among men 15–44 years of age. Eighty per cent of these deaths and injuries occurred in rural areas, where health care is poor and deficient. One-third of disabilities were due to injuries with an estimated 7 million persons suffering from various disabilities. If no systematic efforts are introduced and implemented, it is estimated that the number of deaths due to injuries is likely to increase to 1.1 million by 2010 and 1.2 million by 2015 (Gururaj, 2005). http://www.nimhans.kar.nic.in/cam/CAM/WHO.ER.ch14.5.Benegal.pdf

Ideally, in a country where family as an institution is considered sacred and relations outside marriage are regarded highly immoral, there should have been no place for prostitution, promiscuity and the resulting health problems. But the truth is otherwise.  The number of prostitutes and/or sex workers in India are estimated to be anywhere between 30 lakhs (3 m) and 1 crore (10 m). According to a report, “There are an estimated 3 million women working as prostitutes in India. 1.2 million of the sex workers are under the age of 18….The average age that a girl enters the sex trade in India is reported to be between 9 and 12 years old. 
 
The human trafficking industry in India is estimated to generate $4 Billion a year. Source:  Andrew MacAskill and Bibhudatta Pradhan, “Sold for Sex at Puberty Village Girls’ Fate in India,” Bloomberg Businessweek, September 18, 2013. http://www.havocscope.com/number-of-prostitutes-in-india/

According to another survey, “there are approximately 10 million sex workers in India out of which 1,00,000 are in Mumbai alone, Asia’s largest sex industry centre. There about 300,000 to 500,000 children in sex trade in India, among which Bangalore along with five cities together account for 80 % child prostitutes in the country. This is the extent to which prostitution is prevalent in India.” http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2012/04/prostitution-in-india-the-staggering-numbers-and-the-stagnant-legality/

When all kinds if risky sexual behaviors will become rampant, HIV/AIDS will do what it is expected to do: kill and destroy.  Since 2000, more than 30 lakhs (3 m) have died of AIDS in India, and a similar number will die in next 20 years.

The total number of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in India is estimated at 21 lakh in 2011. Children (<15 yrs) account for 7% of all infections, while 86% are in the age –group of 15-49 years. Of all HIV infections, 39% (8.16 lakh) are among women.

According to an official report, “Using globally accepted methodologies and updated evidence on survival to HIV with and without treatment, it is estimated that about 1.48 lakh people died of AIDS related causes in 2011 in India.“ http://pib.nic.in/newsite/printrelease.aspx?relid=89785

Ever year around 1 lakh new infections occur despite the claims of a decline in the infection due to larger usage of condoms and the availability of anti-HIV drugs. But the problem still is serious, and the deaths caused by HIV are hundreds of time greater than those killed in  terrorism and riots. http://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=in&v=37

Obviously the majority of those dying of AIDS are prostitutes, people attending on them, homosexuals and their children.  And when pornography has already become a big hit in India, sex related crimes and diseases are bound to show an upward trend very fast.

“With the increase in promiscuity, obviously the abortions will increase in number. “A recent international report had said that only two in five of the estimated 6.4 million abortions that take place annually in Indiaare safe.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Number-of-abortions-dropping-in-India/articleshow/ 6555212.cms

Summarizing the above,
  1. Abortions kill around 60 lakhs (6 m) every year;
  2. AIDS kills around 2 lakhs (0.2 m) every year:
  3. Alcohol kills more than 5000 due to various diseases and also is the contributory factor in 70 pc of more than 1.4 lakh (0.14 m)  deaths every year in road accidents in India
  4. Murders around 35000  every year (http://ncrb.nic.in/CD-CII2012/Statistics2012.pdf)
  5. Riots in 2014 killed a few hundreds including Muzaffar Nagar riots (Exact figures not available)
  6. Terror attacks killed 213 people in 2013  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_India

This clearly shows that the social vices pose huge danger to life compared to the normal crimes, and normal crimes pose much greater threat than the fancied crimes like terrorist attacks and riots. Still the vices receive hardly any attention of political parties and the media. Obviously, even deaths are categorized on the basis of the interests of the forces that rule the country, predominantly the economic and political forces. The issues are created or ignored for the sake of power. There is no demand from any quarters to fight these vices that kill hundreds of thousands of Indian human beings. Whoever comes to power – NDA, Congress or others, and whoever sits in the opposition, these deaths will neither cause any alarm in the Parliament nor in the media. Streets and grounds of course will never witness crowds agitating against this destruction of humanity and social peace.

* Dr Javed Jamil is a thinker and writer with over a dozen books including his latest, “Muslims Most Civilised, Yet Not Enough” and “Muslim Vision of Secular India: Destination & Road-map”. Other works include “The Devil of Economic Fundamentalism”, “The Essence of the Divine Verses”, “The Killer Sex”, “Islam means Peace” and “Rediscovering the Universe”. He can be contacted at doctorforu123@yahoo.com  and tweets  @javedjamil
 
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