World Population Day - The myth and the reality

July 11 of every year is celebrated as world population day. The population of world has already crossed 7 billion and growing at a phenomenal rate compared to past. UNFPA is campaigning for a long time, by every means possible, to create 'awareness' among the people to contain something termed as “Population Explosion”. The question here is why should we control the growth of population? And immediately comes the answer: To remove unemployment, poverty and hunger from the face of the earth.

According to what we call as 'common sense', the above answer is rational. Everyday more than 20,000 people die out of hunger and malnutrition, with 5,000 from India alone. As per the official statistics, 77% or around 900 million Indians are poor. That is, more than half of the world's poor people live in India!

No wonder, India is second highly populated country, next to China, in the world with 1.27 billion citizens. Despite of their tremendous economic growth, both China and India are facing severe unemployment, poverty and other problems that may remain unsolved for decades to come. So it may seem logical that these problems are direct consequences of their heavy population. After all, it would be impossible to provide food, education and jobs to so many mouths, minds and hands respectively, right?! So the respective governments of every third world and developing countries are campaigning to their full strength to create awareness among the people to support birth control. But still population is growing unabated.
The matter at hand – unemployment, poverty, crimes - may distress all the good-hearted people of the world. And good number of common people believe that population explosion is the root cause for these evils. But just worrying would not solve the problem. It is necessary to critically analyse the problem in question and find whether population explosion is actually causing these problems.

Is population the root cause for unemployment?

If we look at the present scenario of world economy, countries with very less population are also facing the problem of severe unemployment, much higher than highly populated countries! The crisis was, and still is, so harsh that production had almost come to grinding halt. It is imperative to note that higher the population, higher will be the demand for basic needs. That means much work has to be done! So it is possible to provide jobs to everyone. But then why still prevails the unemployment? Because under the present system, demand means the purchasing power of people, not the demand for basic needs of whole people! Production will be carried out if the purchasing power of people is high, else, despite of the demand for basic needs, production will be halted resulting in retrenchment of workers. The very purchasing power of the people is dependent on the availability of a decent job and income for the workers! Hence Population 'explosion' is not the root cause for unemployment.

Is population the root cause for poverty?

If we take the population density, many countries with higher population density are developed, where as many less densely populated countries are still underdeveloped! Hence at first glance itself we can see that population has nothing to do with poverty. Here we must note that poverty is directly linked with unemployment. The population of children (aged 0-16) and old (aged 65 and above) cannot directly participate in the production and they have to be taken care of by youth and middle aged population who directly participate in production. To look after children and old in a family, the youth must have a job providing decent income. Because of unemployment, it is quite impossible for one to look after his family leading to poverty. Availability of natural resources locally in a country also play an important role in carrying out production smoothly, providing jobs to many. But it is quite surprising that countries that are rich in natural resources are very poor!

Is population the root cause for hunger?

It is said that because of high population there is food shortage; everyone couldn't be fed. But if you look at the food production around the world, it is enough to feed three times the entire world. For example, US alone is wasting more than 96 billion pounds of food every year!!! This figure may shock us but it is the truth. Hence population explosion is not the root cause for hunger!

All the above analysis show that population is not the root cause for any of these problems. But UNFPA is trumpeting that controlling population will end all the problems! It is quite difficult to understand why an organisation like UNFPA, which claims to be the flag bearer of world prosperity, cannot understand this!

Why and what books to read?

As the electronic gadgets are occupying our lives more and more, the habit of reading books is taking back seat, if not alarmingly going out of scene. Though e-books are available in plenty, they are not comfortable to read and other 'comfortable' things online distract the user from becoming a reader. One may say they have nothing to lose if they don't read books. But only one who reads knows the beauty of reading and what they would have lost if they hadn't read.

Happy is the man who acquires the habit of reading when he is young. It is not superficial if we say books are hidden treasures yet to be explored. They are the source of pleasure and inspiration. A good book is worth thousand friends. Indeed, books are the most faithful of friends. They never complain, nor they are unwilling to converse. We may go uninterested in them, but books never go uninterested in us. They always wait patiently to talk with you. As long as you are with a good book, you are not alone.

There are books on every kind of subject: history, fiction, sci-fi, science, biography, philosophy, travel, relationships and so on. Thus one cannot complain that his interest is not covered. Books may help you go deeper into your interest or find a new interest. It is not that reading books just fills us with pleasure and amusement. Books penetrate deep into your heart, interact with your feelings and evoke emotions.
Whether one is conscious or not, books shape our character, and our world outlook. Hence it is necessary to be careful while choosing the books to read. History presents before us few examples that novels have played an active and revolutionary role in social change.

As every art, literature also has CONTENT and FORM. Content is what has to be conveyed, and form is how that content is presented. If a book has good content but no good form, it may not interest the reader thus content going unnoticed. On the other hand, a book may have good form but no good content which engages the reader but disturbs his or her feelings. Hence it is necessary for a book to have both content and form good.

Now the question would be: what can be considered as good content? First of all, the content must not be divorced from the society; from its glories, from its problems, from its happiness, from its shortcomings. Then anything that creates compassion and love for humanity, imbibes social responsibility, courage to fight injustice, inspires to seek truth, fills heart and mind with noble thoughts, can be considered as good content.
If today we search for any books with such good content, we may hardly find one or two. Many books that are coming out today are magnificent in form but poor in content, if not harmful. Most of the new novels center round the lavish lifestyle and sexual relationships that, instead of inspiring humanly love, whip up the animal instincts of man. That is to say that these books are 'Sweet Poison'. They harm the society at large and reduce man to a mere animal.

But, not to worry, history has given us plenty of masterpieces. List of books by great authors like Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, Voltaire, Rousseau, Charlotte Bronte, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Jack London, Oscar Wilde, Sharat Chandra Chatarjee and so on are enough to immerse our whole life in reading. So pick up a book, that fills your mind with knowledge, noble thoughts and higher ideals, today and you will find a faithful companion for life!

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