While clicking this pic in a Metro train the other day, the first phrase that came to my mind was, “Hum Do, Hamare Do,” meaning in Hindi, “We Two, Our Two.”
This slogan has, in fact, always been associated with India’s population control campaign. In 1950, India became the first country in the world to take this up as a national priority, as it was widely accepted that benefits of national planning and development will all get frittered away if we become an overcrowded nation.
Our Population Control Program has not, however, been effective enough because of illiteracy, deep rooted customs and traditions, craze for male children, and lack of awareness of importance of family planning both among the leaders and common Indians. We might soon overtake China, the world’s most populated country.
It is often said that India would not have got its cricket hero Sachin Tendulkar if his parents hadn’t decided to produce a third child. Many politicians who should have been role models have not done any family planning either. Notable examples are Narsimha Rao (8 children) and Lalu Prasad Yadav (9 children)
But, thank God, things are changing. Soon it will be a norm to debar people from contesting for public offices if they have more than 2 children. Special schemes for parents with single girl child are already in place and girls’ education is also being given a lot of importance these days. When you educate a woman, you educate the whole family and educated people tend to take the idea of small family size a lot more seriously than the illiterate ones.
Recently, In 2002, in Haryana, this slogan was further modified to “Hum Do, Hamara Ek” (We two, Our One) and several attractive schemes were begun to make the idea of a one-child family a viable option.
Well, small is better, I think, and, yes, “Hum Do, Hamara Ek” is the need of the hour for this great country of ours.