Sanjay Gandhi’s small family norm: the only solution
A needless controversy cropped up over the weekend when the Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan praised late Sanjay Gandhi for advocating a small family in order to curb the growing population. The CM’s detractors criticized him for lauding Sanjay Gandhi whose name is associated with the proclamation of emergency and according to many in the Saffron Brigade with forcible sterilization.
The point, which Chauhan was making, was that we must have small families and there should be no more than one or two children. Now what is wrong with that? We all know that this is true and this is the only way forward.
There should be no element of politics in such a thought and cutting across party lines, every leader must also advocate a small family norm.
Moreover, this is not a point on which anyone can criticise Sanjay Gandhi who I think was a man in a hurry but was someone who was far ahead of his times. He talked about a small family, ecological balance, discipline and determination at a time when no one else did. This was more than 35 years ago. He was also a victim of a malicious propaganda unleashed by his rivals so far as forcible sterilizations are concerned. I am not endorsing forcible sterilization by any stretch of imagination but there is every possibility that the sterilization figures as presented by our overzealous bureaucrats could have been grossly exaggerated.
Even if one presumes that some people were forcibly sterilized, the effort should be not to let that ever happen again. It should not lead to abandoning the small family norm. Every citizen of India regardless of his or her community and region should be encouraged to have a small family.
The issue should not become a Congress Vs BJP issue and there should be unanimity on this score.
We must realize that India is a poor country and those who have large families obviously find it very difficult to sustain themselves. It is therefore, common sense that one should go for lesser number of children. It will also be good for the women as such since they suffer the most in our society and it is their health, which is a major cause of concern. These things can happen if there is proper education and sustained propaganda backed by leaders of social, religious and political groups. The idea is not to hurt anyone but to ensure that the mammoth population of this country gets controlled through some measure or the other.
To reduce such a campaign to an opportunity to have pot shots at Sanjay Gandhi is totally wrong and misdirected. The man is not there to defend himself and his idea is something, which needs to be carried forward by ensuring proper and voluntary implementation.
The Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad also had talked about the need to have a small family and I think whether it is him or Shivraj Singh Chauhan or anyone else, we need to back them on this subject. Certain issues are not about politics and this one certainly is not one such matter. Hum Do, Hamare Do is an appropriate slogan and if any one can better it by having a single child, it is most commendable. So let us not criticize for the sake of criticizing.