For years we have moaned about our huge population being a drag on resources. Indians were well-known for their propensity to breed like rabbits. In fact, Mahatma Gandhi is known to have said that if every Indian spat at the same time, the world would be drowned. So, many will be delighted to learn that Indians now want smaller families. The latest National Family Health survey says that an increasing number of couples do not want more than two children. Fertility rates have fallen especially in urban areas and over 10 states have reached replacement fertility levels. But before you rejoice, look at the population issue from another angle. Do we really want to go the Russian way where the State has had to heap goodies on people to get them to produce children? No. In fact, our large and young population is an asset, Malthus be damned.
The Western world is greying and this holds out enormous potential for us. In the years to come, the West is going to need all the help it can get to care for its geriatric population. And into this breach we must jump. We could start training our youth to become service providers for the world’s elderly. We have a reputation for taking care of our own elderly within families. It is a different matter that this care often comes in the form of dumping the old gran in distant Varanasi or thereabouts. In fact, there are several towns in countries like Germany where no children have been born for up to a decade. This means we could export our young to repopulate ghost towns and cities. As we all know there is strength in numbers, a burgeoning population could be one way for us to quietly colonise large parts of the world. We have long revelled in the fact that this is India’s century. Well, let’s get moving.
Take Britain, for instance. We have already colonised their cuisine and if we play our cards right, we could soon have the headquarters of the old empire under our belts. Study after study has shown that procreation is quite a hobby with Indians. We joyously plunge into it at the drop of a hat. In fact, we are one of the world leaders in terms of being a country with a prolific sex life. Not for us the need for privacy, unlike in other countries, before getting down to the business at hand. So this makes proliferating all the easier. So it is time to shelve our obsession with small being beautiful. And away with slogans like ‘one is fun’ and ‘two will do’. Our new motto should be based on the Biblical exhortation, ‘Go forth and multiply.’ As if you would have done something if we had, more wisely, suggested the opposite.