Bursting at its seams
WORLD POPULATION DAY on July 11 went by silently again. S.S. KAVITHA tries to find out what difference it makes to ordinary people.
Photo: S. James.
overcrowded Occupying every inch of space
A young man gets into his newly acquired car with all luxury accessories and fittings. He turns on the air conditioner and rolls off to a smooth start. While driving he asks his five-year-old daughter where she would like to dine out for the evening.
Ilk of P. Vijayakumar is on the rise. The new generation father these days has no qualms about pampering his child to the hilt and shower love in abundance in the form of a luxurious life.
Order of the day
“Boy or a girl, it is better to have one child. Only then can we spend our undivided quality time and money with the child for his or her betterment. More children simply means running a life on deficit budget,” he says.
A government employee, P.Vijayakumar has planned consciously a single child family. “In today’s competitive world, we cannot send the children to ordinary schools. We need to spend extra thousands to inculcate various skills. Every year I spend a quarter lakh on my child’s education, who is in First Standard,” he says.
“Small families have become the order of the day especially in the urban areas,” says Louis S. Paulraj, Madurai branch manager, Family Planning Association of India.
He says women opt for family planning as soon as they have their second baby. But a few mothers even prefer to go in for family planning after giving birth to the first baby irrespective of the sex.
Quoting figures submitted to the FPAI pertaining to the period, January to June 2008, he says 57 per cent of women out of 2133 mothers prefer family planning after two children while one per cent of the mothers soon after their first child birth. “This is a clear indication that the parents are aiming at providing quality life to the child,” he notes.
The son-craving attitude is a major factor that contributes to the population explosion. Hoping to beget a male child, mothers beget two or three female children especially in rural areas.
Declining birth rate
“This attitude has to be crushed with more awareness programmes. But it is true that with more and easy access to family planning and sustained awareness programme, people prefer small family,” he says and adds that Tamil Nadu has reduced its birth rate and certainly not contributing to the explosion. “The crude birth rate that was 19.2 in 2000 has been reduced to 16.5 in 2005 and similarly the death rate from 7.9 to 7.4 according to a survey conducted by Directorate of Family Welfare,” Mr. Paulraj notes.
“I have heard about population explosion but I have planned to have two children,” says M. Ponnuthai, expecting her first baby.
Will it not be costly to admit two kids in a reputed school? “Children who are good at studying can shine well irrespective of the school they belong to,” she exudes confidence.
“In fact, poor children studying in Government school also come out in flying colours.
Isn’t our former President, Dr.Abdul Kalam a living example? I do not mind putting my kids in Government schools,” she quells.
“In those days, we had too many children thinking it as a blessing from the almighty. Nowadays, life and attitude have changed and above all people are very calculative pondering over school fees even while the baby is still in the womb,” says 70-year-old S. Sevanammal, a mother of 11 children of whom seven survived.
The concept of small family is deep-rooted in the minds of youth.
The concept has taken the toll in the form of ‘nil tolerance’ and ‘nil adjustments’ that comes handy for many to break up the relationship, she say. “In those days it was something unheard of.” She says nowadays people -- especially the youth – laugh and make fun of those who say they had a dozen children.
“Life has changed and so has life style,” ushers in her grandson S. Selvam, who is pursuing under graduation.
People were able to lead a happy life with minimal needs but nowadays even luxury items have become mandatory. Mr. Selvam plans to marry a working woman and follow one-child norm.
A day would come and people will literally scorn at you and make you feel uncomfortable and embarrassed if you say that you have two children.
“It is my way of contributing in order to reduce population explosion.”
Per year: 1,55,31,000
Per month: 12,73,033
Per day: 42,434
Per hour: 1,768
Per minute: 29
Per year: 7,77,60,000
Per month: 6,4,80,000
Per day: 2,16,000
Per hour: 9000
Per minute: 150
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