Everybody agrees that Kerala’s demography has
changed drastically in the last 50 years and is undergoing further changes. However
this does not mean uniform changes in the population of various religious
groups in the state. Even though not openly discussed, Kerala’s demographic
changes means that population of some religious groups in the state is shooting
up while that of others including Nairs is falling down. Kerala’s pseudo-left intellectuals
and Muslim groups have always been hostile to discussions on the religious
angle of Kerala’s demographical change.
The moment one analyses the connection between
religion and this lopsided demographic change one is marked as communal and
termed RSS sympathizer or Savarna Nair fedualist by vested interest self
proclaimed Secular groups and organized religious groups. Even the intelligentsia
in Kerala attacks those who point out that Hindu and Christian population in
the state are falling down and Muslim population is rising fast.
Myth of poverty as reason of population explosion
Pseudo-intellectuals spread the lie that it is
poverty and lack of education which leads to population explosion and when a
group achieves social and economic growth it will attain population control.
But they have no answer if we point out that if poverty and absence of
education are reasons for population explosion, then the population of triabls
in the state should have increased several fold which has not. Muslims in
Kerala are economically equal to or better than other communities as per
Surveys of credible organizations. In literacy rate, and number of government
employees, Muslims match with any other group in Kerala. So it is clear that
reason for population explosion among some groups is not poverty but their
ideological opposition to birth control.
The campaign of organized groups to silence
those who say truths about demographic changes in Kerala has succeeded. The
result is population of Hindus, including Nairs which was more than 61 per cent
of total population of Kerala in 1961, came down to 56.1 per cent of total
population by 2001 and according to unpublicized information Hindus were only
54 per cent of Kerala population in 2011. According to a report that appeared
in Kalakaumudi weekly dated June 10, 2012 (Only a lucky few got copies of this
magazine as the rest of the copies disappeared from stands swiftly), Muslim
population was 17 per cent of total population in 1961 and it grew to 24.6 per
cent by 2001. The magazine report says that by 2011 Muslim population in Kerala
has grown to around 27 per cent.
In a recent article in Deccan Chronicle
newspaper, K C Zachariah of Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram
is quoted as saying four taluks in South Kerala district of Pathanamthitta has
recorded negative population growth in 2011 census. These are Adoor,
Mallapally, Kozhencherry, Ranni and Thiruvalla. Neighbouring taluks of
Chengannur, Kuttanadu,Karthikappally (all in Alappuzha district), Pathanapuram
in Kollam and Udumbanchola, Devikulam and Peerumedu in Idukki are heading for a
negative population growth soon.
All these taluks are having a very high
population of Hindus, especially Nairs and Christians. According to Zachariah
by 2021the total population of Kerala which stand at 3.34 crore as per current
census will either be stagnant or might have gone down.
This is unlikely to be the result of a uniform
fall in population across different religious groups. This will mean population
of Hindus, especially Nairs and Christians, especially Syrian Christians will
fall down significantly. This fall of Hindu, Christian population will also see
a sharp rise in Muslim population and change in power sharing among different
communities in Kerala. It is pointed out by Zachariah that by 2030 Muslim
population in Kerala would be around 33 per cent of total population. It is
likely that these estimates are conservative and Muslim population in the state
by 2035 will be over 35 per cent of total population.
As per Zachariah’s estimates, birth rate among
Christians in Kerala is 1.2, Hindus 1.4 and Muslims 2.1. This means Hindu and
Christian population will fall drastically as to maintain a stable population,
birth rate should be two. Among Hindus and Christians, it is likely that the fall
in population may affect, Nair, Orthodox and Mar Thoma sections.
Population changes and Power sharing
The recent demarcation of assembly
constituencies in Kerala saw Hindu and Christian majority southern Kerala
losing four constituencies and Muslim dominated areas in Northern Kerala adding
four. This definitely means more MLAs for Muslim League in Kerala assembly.
Since the total number of MLAs in Kerala assembly will remain same at 120, the
decrease in four Hindu/Christian MLAs in assembly will have double effect. By
the time of next reconstitution of assembly constituencies in Kerala Muslim
League will have more than 30 MLAs in assembly. It is also likely that they may
in 20 years become the biggest party in United Democratic Front pushing
Congress to second place. This will definitely give the claim of chief minister
post to League. In this situation left front may also think twice when the
select their chief ministerial candidate.
League already has five ministers in Kerala
cabinet and has highlighted its right for deputy CM post. For League, CM post
will become its right at the current rate of its growth.
Economic, educational and social influence
It is now evident from the surveys of organizations
like CDS, that more than 50 per cent of foreign remittances are by Muslims.
This means Muslims have achieved economic growth in Kerala. The largest number
of educational institutions and hospitals in the state are owned by Muslims and
Christians. A look at the winners of medical and engineering entrances in
Kerala every year show that large number of candidates from Muslim community
are among winners. All these nullify the myth that Muslims are economically and
educationally backward. Even as Muslims in Kerala have emerged as the most
powerful group, they are still being given reservations in jobs, and several
scholarships for studying .
All these points out to one thing, in a
democracy, only those groups with high population will be able to influence
decision making process. Even though Muslims are the biggest single group in
Kerala, they get benefits of minority. None will oppose this publicly and no
government would dare to remove that status.
Now how shall we remedy the disparities
between different social groups in Kerala. For that Hindus especially Nairs
have to become aware of the current social realities first. Right information
is the key to it. With right information, we should fight for our rights making
use of laws of our country and different institutions. We need to demand that
family planning be made compulsory for all communities. If not, we should also reject
the idea. Christian church in some places in Kerala has already announced perks
for couples having a third child.
Hindus, especially Nairs need to accept more
people to their fraternity. If a non Nair marries a Nair boy or a girl, they
should be given membership in NSS if willing. Nairs should realize that the
idea of exclusivity will be detrimental to our progress. In a democratic
society one should grow by accepting more and more people to one’s group. We
would be amazed to note that Mannath Padmanabhan, founder of NSS had once
mooted the idea of converting others as Nairs.
Myth of danger in population rise
The idea that increasing population will
negatively affect economic growth is a wrong notion. Increasing population
means more youth who can work and who will buy. This means more generation of
more wealth. If there is a negative population growth, it means a region will
have to depend on migrants for the workforce. Europe is facing the crisis of
demographic change due to migration. It is leading to social problems in
countries like France, England and Germany. Increase in number of old people is
creating problems in Japan. For maintaining culture and civilization of Hindus
we need to maintain a controlled growth of our population.
If one group does not belive in population
control and others implement population control measures, eventually the group
which is against population control will conquer the whole world without a war.