In today's India, demography is a hot item, not just because of the economic and ecological burden of overpopulation, but even more because of the differential between Hindus and Muslims with its real or perceived political implications.
Official census data show that the Hindu percentage has declined, and the Muslim percentage increased, in every single successive census in British India, free India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Muslim increase is not linear, but is itself increasing; and there is a large immigration of Muslims from Pakistan and Bangladesh, which can only increase.
India's 'secularists' admit the fact of Muslim demographic expansion but offer as their explanation that it is all due to Muslim poverty. But Kerela refutes the argument by showing a higher birth rate among Muslims, who have a high level of education and a relatively higher standard of living.
Prophet Mohammed had said in so many words: "Marry women who will love their husbands and be very prolific, for I want you to be more numerous than any other people" and "In my Ummah, he is the best who has the largest number of wives." Even secular Muslims candidly call it one of the fundamental tenets of Islam - namely, to multiply the tribe.
To a modernist outsider, there is something quaint and unreal about this alternative: either Islamizing or hinduizing India. I wonder if the present worldwide revival of religious identities can at all persist once the information revolution has had its full civilizational effect. Indian Muslims should be encouraged to outgrow their religious conditioning, and to explore the spiritual sphere afresh. This will automatically bring them in closer touch with their Hindu surroundings, and help them reintegrate into the society from which they were estranged by Islam.
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