Using today's 'science' to justify yesterday's racism and greed

Some people, especially those who don't know about the history of population control, quote the recent Energy and Environment concerns to justify population control measures which have been undertaken worldwide, and of course, here in Karnataka and India at large.

They forget that the pioneers of birth control could simply not have used Energy and Environment concerns in their discourse. The concerns did not exist then. What they did use was the food-shortage and racist arguments. The first one is disqualified by statistics, and the second one can never be qualified by ethics.

Therefore, using Energy and Environment concerns to justify the population control program which has been put in place already is a logical fallacy.

It's like killing someone today and justifying it next year with the claim that the dead person would have died because of tuberculosis anyway.

Nothing above should give the reader the impression that I'm accepting the Energy and Environment reasons as justification for population control now. I'll get to it in a separate post. It's a different topic.

New Kannada Blog - 'Hostilu'

I'm starting a new Kannada blog called HOSTILU (ಹೊಸ್ತಿಲು, 'the threshold').

It's a blog which is going to experment with writing Kannada using a slightly modified Roman script, which I'm simply calling as "Hosa lipi". I've been experimenting with the script from a few months, but have shied away from fanning out to a wider audience until now. But now, I can't contain it any longer.

I don't recall who said 'Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come', but it couldn't be truer.

No, I don't mean to pretend that the 'time' of the idea of writing Kannada using the Roman script has 'come', as in 'coming to the larger world'. I only mean, in all humility, that I, personally, have been unable to stop that idea from taking me over. I have many reasons for doing this experiment, but I've decided to keep my calm about them, at least until there's a significant amount of content in that script.

I want the experiment to succeed, in the same spirit as that of any scientist who does any experiment, and I'm willing to accept any judgment from that Great Dispenser of Truth.

The theme of articles on HOSTILU is going to be exactly the same as Karnatique's (how could it be different?). Expect the frequency of articles here on Karnatique to go down a bit during the experiment. Of course, if someone can help me with translating HOSTILU posts to English, that will maintain the frequency at whatever it is today. Let me know if you're interested.

So check it out. It's online now:

Inefficiency, corruption and coercion are offshoots of being non-federal

Two excerpts from an editorial in the DNA today:
There is a basic flaw in the Centre-state relationship in India’s ostensibly federal system — constitutional experts choose to describe it as quasi-federal — which leans towards the Centre rather than the states.

There are two other points of contention. One is when states seek Central assistance to deal with natural calamities like drought and flood, it gives the Central government and the party in power the option of playing benefactor when, in reality, it is little more than a constitutional mechanism. The other point has to do with foodgrain procurement and storage. The state governments are supposed to draw whatever is due to them from the centrally-managed storage system. Again, it is made to appear that the Central government is doling it out to supplicant states. This distorts the federal balance. A dispassionate debate on the functioning federalism is much needed now.
It is heartening to see mainstream media talk about federalism, something which is inevitable in a linguistically diverse country such as India.

Excerpt (i) is something we've discussed repeatedly on this blog. Excerpt (ii) is largely accurate, but there is one subtle point which I don't completely agree with, and I'd like to discuss it here. The point I'm going to point out further enhances the message of the DNA editorial that federalism is the right way ahead; it does not diminish the message.

To get to it, then, it is true that the Central government is not really a benefactor to states which contribute heavily to Central revenue (such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra). In fact, there is sufficient evidence that the Centre is actually a malefactor (for want of a better word) which depletes the earnings of affluent states, returning only a trivial fraction of their actual earnings.

But can we make the same statement in the case of economically backward states (such as the classical BIMARU ones)? No. In the case of these states, the Centre is indeed in a position to be a true "benefactor of supplicants", and that is how it indeed behaves. And that, my friends, is a big problem.

Why is it a big problem, you ask? Because, even if it be granted that the affluent states must "dole out" the backward states, the anti-federal nature of our constitution makes it very difficult for that doling out to be done with any chances of success.

Why? Simple: Where do all those Central funds come from? The economically developed states, where else? The Centre is basically spending someone else's (X's, say Karnataka's) money on someone else (Y, say Bihar). As explained beautifully by Nobel economist Milton Friedman, this is the worst possible and most wasteful way of spending money. Here's why, in his own words:
There are four ways in which you can spend money.

You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money.

Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost.

Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch!

Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get.
Clearly, the Constitution of India, by virtue of its quasi-federal nature, encourages the Centre to spend money in the fourth way; and the bigger the Central government is, the more money it spends in the third way. By design, the Central government cannot be concerned about how much money it draws from the affluent states, nor be concerned about maximizing the returns from that spending; at the same time, it uses a lot of the People's money to pay for its own operating costs.

Hence, if (and only if) the people of Karnataka decide to dole out financial grants to Bihar, they must dole it out directly. Having to pass through the Central government triggers inefficiency in the doling out, and encourages corruption by elevating a nobody to the status of benefactor (then, the Centre is deep in the third way).

Besides, coercing Karnataka to dole out financial grants to Bihar is out of question and clearly undemocratic. This coercion is what happens when the Centre spends money in the fourth way, which is what it is designed to be in.

Behead chicken, head government

We were talking about our politicians having arbitrary convictions, but this arbitrary? Check this out:
Witchcraft and Vaastu are said to be the key reasons for closing the different gates of Vidhana Soudha and even the doors of the Assembly Hall, except the Kengal Hanumanthaiah gate and the west door in the Assembly Hall, during Monday's trust vote.
Perhaps we're wrong in thinking those convictions are arbitrary. Maybe they're really not arbitrary convictions, because our political strategists were goddamn serious, and their strategy seems to have worked:
A beheaded chicken, blood, a lemon pierced with nails, turmeric, vermilion and other things topped with an egg were found near the east main gate in front of the High Court. The east main gate too was closed on the day of the 'tainted' confidence motion in the Assembly.
For the full story, check out the Indian Express: Vaastu behind closing all Soudha gates but one?

I'd say it takes an enormous amount of political will to behead a chicken, etc., and place it all near the east main gate of the Vidhana Soudha. Bah! What valour! What political strategists we have around!

Any ideas what saved B. S. Yeddyurappa's government on the day of the second trust vote, when all doors were apparently opened up? Did the beheaded chicken hold its conviction to save the government for three full days?

'History of sorts'?

After winning the trust-vote in a house filled with MLAs who acted more like human beings and less like street-dogs yesterday (14 Oct 2010), chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa exclaimed:
I have created history of sorts by winning the trust vote, the second in three days...
One wonders why it is a history of sorts. Is it because the governor asked him to prove majority twice in three days, like a schoolmaster asking a student to re-write his homework? Or is it because it is a himalayan task to get the MLAs to maintain their conviction in anything for more than three days?

It's likely the latter reason, and that is a matter of concern. If our politicians were driven by principles, it wouldn't be so easy to dislodge them from their positions. Unfortunately, our politicians are driven by a corrupt society divided on caste lines which are at best only arbitrary, and are therefore arbitrary in their convictions.

On a related note, TV anchor Deepak Thimaya, worried that open ridicule of politicians may make make children stop appreciating the importance of democracy, on Tuesday, triggered a good discussion on his facebook page by asking:
Most people who ridicule our politicians do not know what it is to live in a totalitarian or dictatorial regime. I suppose, there is limit to lampooning our elected representatives. They too have their reasons like we have ours. What job security does a politician have and what options do we give a politician to lead an honest life?
Deepak's concern is, of course, very valid. My reply was:
There is no doubt that a corrupt society is the root cause for corrupt politicians. If we reform society, politicians will automatically be reformed.

However, there are many reasons why politicians who misbehave (please note: not all politicians) rightly attract more ridicule than society. Some are:

Firstly, once they reach their high offices, they become entities which independently discourage (if not stop) social reform.

Secondly, they institutionalize, formalize, organize, and strengthen the corruption in the society, because their careers thrive on it.

Thirdly, they symbolize the worst that can happen to people if they capitalize on corruption. Therefore they easily attract ridicule.

Fourthly, their corruption is more visible in the society, and it is natural for people to ridicule visible corruption more than invisible corruption.

Fifthly, not ridiculing the 'sweetest fruit of corruption' can be interpreted as condoning it.

Sixthly, ridiculing them is a way of making people move away from using politics as the sole source of economic gratification, when better alternatives exist.
In short, it's true that social reform is what it takes to reform our politics, but it's right to ridicule the ridicule-worthy.

In any case, is it true that our children will simply start loving the idea of democracy if we all keep mum when our politicians defile the high offices of politics in a democracy?

I believe it is better for us to point out the mistakes made by our politicians, and thereby ask children to be active participants in democracy. Ridiculing those who undermine democracy is an active way of participating in democracy. Children must learn to do it. And they learn it from adults. If adults keep mum about the wrongs of politicians, children will learn exactly that: to keep mum.

What do they know of India who only Hindi know?*

At a Hindi Day function on Tuesday, 14 September 2010, Union home minister Palaniappan Chidambaram apparently gave the following as the reason why (central) government departments must increase use of Hindi in their day-to-day work:
“For effective implementation of developmental schemes, it is necessary to reach out to people in their own language.”
I’m dying to ask Mr Chidambaram one very simple question: Who are the “people” you’re referring to, and what is their language? Are you referring to the people of the Hindi-speaking States only? Is your definition of India limited to those States? Have you grown blind to the rest of India which speaks ever so many tongues?

Have you forgotten that your own tongue speaks Tamil at home? How can anybody sane use the singular noun “language” when refering to the different tongues that Indians speak, the different tongues in which they need to be “reached out” to?

What do you know about that India which you call home, minister?

* This article was originally posted on Churumuri on 15 Sep 2010. See the post on Churumuri for a pretty long discussion. I owe the catchy title to Mr. Krishna Prasad of Churumuri.

Vest them with powers apt for men, not street-dogs

Karnataka's legislative assembly with empty seats (file photo). Source:
As if we didn't already know this, our politicians (on both sides of the cesspool) have shown it again: that they're a bunch of worthless, ignorant, corrupt, in-fighting, inefficient and mindless stone-throwing street-urchins. But I have wailed enough about it this week, so I won't do it any more.

To cut a long story short, the Central Government will now decide whether or not to invoke Article 356 and ask the President of India to rule Karnataka. That is, a set of worthless, ignorant, corrupt, in-fighting, inefficient and mindless stone-throwing street-urchins, mostly from states other than Karnataka, who sit in New Delhi, are going to take a decision on the politics of Karnataka.

Everybody almost implicitly assumes that justice will be done if only the affair is escalated to the Centre. It appears, that all a set of people have to do to settle their disputes is to go to a third party. But is justice guaranteed if the authority administering the justice is simply someone from outside?

If it's true, what about injustice (as claimed by one of the affected parties) meted out by the Centre itself, which is the sovereign power in India which by definition cannot allow any external intervention? If the Centre were to abide by this logic, it would need to bring up the issue at the United Nations, and the United Nations would probably need to wait for life to be discovered on another planet before escalating it.

Note that the same question could be raised about the Ram Janmabhumi - Babri Masjid issue. Notice how the Sunni Wakf Board has agreed to abide by the verdict of the Supreme Court, even if that verdict is against them, simply because it is the "highest court of the land", and not because it's justice! Is injustice okay if it's meted out by the highest authority? Obviously, not!

Thus, it is clear that the very concept of escalating issues to assumed higher and higher authorities has the logical bottleneck that the highest authority itself does not abide by the logic, and therefore has arbitrary powers. Escalation does not guarantee justice.

Returning to the issue of Karnataka's politics, then, what is right and what is wrong in Karnataka cannot be decided by any external authority. Of course, the fact that our politicians act like street-dogs makes it easy for people to prefer reverting to an external authority, but such reverting does not guarantee justice.

On the other hand, because we've built up a flawed political system where the Centre is really the sovereign power in the States, our politicians are really never vested with any true power or responsibility. Responsibility is not even expected out of them. It appears that they're expected to be street-dogs so that the Centre can remain the sovereign power in the States. The Centre and media will always have the opportunity to point out how irresponsible State administrations are, and put up shows such as "India First", while all it really amounts to is the admission of the logical fallacy that escalation guarantees justice.

All this means that there shall never be true justice in State politics, until India becomes a true federation of states and state-politics is vested with true powers and responsibilities which are apt for men and women, not street-dogs.

Changes to Karnatique

With immediate effect, the following changes have been made to Karnatique:
  1. Commenting on the blog is back. Please help have good discussions by commenting responsibly. One intended consequence of the 'no-commenting-on-the-blog phase' which the blog went through, was that irresponsible comments simply stopped, while responsible comments (whether they agree or disagree with the post) continued to flow in over email. I'm hoping that won't change with re-enabled commenting on the blog.
  2. Views are not necessarily those of Banavasi Balaga. It was decided in last Saturday's Banavasi Balaga meeting that it is better to clarify that the views expressed by me on Karnatique are my own, and not necessarily those of the Balaga. It is important for us at the Balaga to take this step, since (a) individuals such as me make mistakes which should not get falsely attributed to the Balaga even temporarily, (b) the members of the Balaga need to think and express their views freely, since such freedom is essential for intellectual growth, and (c) it is becoming increasingly difficult for every post to be reviewed by my colleagues at the Balaga, mainly because of time constraints.
You're still welcome to write for Karnatique by sending me your article(s) over email.

Let's get back to work, then. Have a great day!

The Dark Designs Behind Population Control - Conclusion

In summary, the problem starts when the government enters the bedroom

There is much left to be unearthed, and much left to be understood about what in man makes him come up with such ideas as population control (by artificial means), but we have come to a point where I'd like to conclude this 'uninterrupted' series of articles.

The story of birth control or population control in India, after the adoption of the same by the National Planning Committee of the Indian National Congress, is actually fairly straightforward implementation of the flawed concept.

There are details such as the Maharaja of Mysuru setting up the first birth control clinic started by any government anywhere in the world (in Bengaluru), the Madras Neo Malthusian League's functioning, etc., but those are simply the workings of a machine which was set running by the thought process which I've tried to outline in this series of articles.

I would like to bring your attention to a note which I had placed in the first article itself, one which already stated what I believe is the right way, in politics, to approach the whole issue:
I believe that it is the right of couples to decide the number of children they wish to have, and adopt whatever methods of contraception they deem fit (although I do have a preference: the time-tested method of abstinence). When I say "Population Control is not necessary", what I mean is that the government has no justifiable reason to poke its nose inside bedrooms and human reproductive organs. Governments worldwide must stop creating a mass hysteria about a ticking "population bomb", stop spreading the nonsense that a high population is the cause for poverty and disease, decline foreign aid aimed at population control, and withdraw all their population control or family planning programmes. It's all total nonsense, and creates huge social problems which could have been avoided (such as the North-South fertility skew in India which will end up increasing internal tensions). Governments should do real work instead: improve education, provide real healthcare, etc.
The problem, in short, starts when the government enters the scene. It should simply stay out of bedrooms and human reproductive organs. It's none of the government's business.

Political parties would do good to take up the cause of abolishing all population control measures being undertaken all over India.

And what about all the thinking on chastity and abstinence and Gandhi's ideals? That's a separate discussion, something which the government should have nothing to do about. That's an issue which must be decided by the society outside of the government. Just like the government has no right to decide who your spouse should be, it can have no right to decide how many children you produce together.

Some argue, rightly so, that the population control programme in India is one of "incentive" and "education", not "coercion". But, as I have argued earlier, making someone voluntarily submit to sin is not ethical behavior. So, the method used by the government does not matter. In any method, there's lots of money involved, and there's an encouragement of sin involved.

Remember that it is "incentive" and "education" which wiped out the native red Indians of America.

India has made a mistake here, and those who include population control in the Idea of India continue to make that mistake, too. In these articles, I have tried to show the magnitude of that mistake, hoping that it can help us steer India away from a sin which is being committed even as we speak.

End of series.

The Dark Designs Behind Population Control - Part 8

Nationalism and birth control, acting together, are inhuman

Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker
Two warnings from two of the greatest leaders of India got buried in the dust of the march to India's independence, and the cacophony of Indian politics after independence. One was Mahatma Gandhi's warning about the evils of artificial birth-control. The other was Rabindranath Tagore's warning about the evils of nationalism.

As independent India moved towards an uncertain future, it threw both warnings into the dustbin of time, and adopted an overly centralist and non-federal national polity, and artificial birth-control as an assumed enabler of economic uplift.

Both concepts negate the basic principles of democracy, human liberty, and the idea of unity in diversity. When they combine, the two concepts work like the two halves of a machine designed to exterminate those whom the State considers as 'less-preferred', 'weak', or 'unfit' -- a consideration which is really none the State's business. Whether they're considered 'fit' or 'unfit', people have been indoctrinated to think it's their 'duty to the nation' to cut down on their fertility. In reality, they do irrepairable harm to humanity itself.

It is very likely that both Gandhi and Tagore, subconsciously, appreciated the fact that nationalism and birth control, when they coexist, are inhuman. That could have been the reason why one (Gandhi) steered away from birth control, and the other (Tagore) steered away from nationalism.

But independent India adopted both concepts simultaneously.

Independent India fell prey to both concepts

The merging of the two concepts is perhaps best illustrated in a seminal document of the Indian National Congress, the Report of the National Planning Committee's Sub-Committee on Woman’s Role in Planned Economy. This document, which continues to inform India's policy on health and reproduction even to this date, says the following about the need to implement a programme of eugenics in India (NPC, 1948):
The health programme of the state shall aim at the eradication of serious diseases, more especially such as are communicable or transmissible by marriage. The state should follow a eugenic programme to make the race physically and mentally healthy. This would discourage marriages of unfit persons and provide for the sterilization of persons suffering from transmissible diseases of a serious nature, such as insanity or epilepsy.
Readers will recall what eugenics is, and what its dark history is. Either knowingly or unknowingly, India adopted that very programme in an attempt to 'improve the race of Indians', simply echoing the racial nonsense pouring in from people like Margaret Sanger, under the belief that they were being 'rational' and 'scientific'.

Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker fell prey to both concepts

The father of the Dravidian movement in Tamil Nadu, that great proponent of rationalism and self-respect, Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker (see photo), fell prey to both the concepts: he was an active proponent of both nationalism (Tamil nationalism, not Indian nationalism), and artificial birth-control.

Surprisingly for a man who is almost worshiped in Tamil Nadu, Periyar did not seem to foresee the effect of artificial birth control on the demographics of Tamil Nadu. One questions whether Periyar really wanted Tamils to be around on this planet, or even whether he wanted the world to be populated with anybody at all (Periyar, 1928):
Some preach that if women stop begetting children, the world and humanity will cease to reproduce...What would be women's loss if the world does not reproduce? What danger would women face if humanity does not reproduce? Or what would be the loss even for those who moralise? [None]...
The problem with the above position, of course, is that when Tamil women stop begetting children, there will be no Tamils any more. Or, to take the concern which Periyar had when he wrote the above, the danger which women face if humanity does not reproduce, the loss to women, is that there will be no women any more (or men, but that wasn't Periyar's concern)!

And that is the situation to which the Tamils and other South Indians are slowly moving today, because of their below-replacement fertility and ageing population and, if may I say so, foolishness.


Periyar, 1928: Kudi Arasu, 12 Aug 1928 in Ve. Aanaimuthu, Periyar Chindanaigal, Vol. I, p. 107.

NPC, 1948: National Planning Committee, Report of the Sub-Committee on Woman’s Role in Planned Economy (Bombay: Vora & Co, 1948), p. 115. See also, NPC, Population, p. 6.

To be continued.

The Dark Designs Behind Population Control - Part 7

Mahatma Gandhi vehemently opposed artificial birth control

Yesterday was Gandhi Jayanti, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. While one may not agree with everything the man stood for and believed, his views on the subject of over-population and birth control are worth remembering.

Gandhi never fell for the nonsense of Malthusian population arithmetic which is the basis of all the fear of over-population. In a most scientific argument, he wrote the following in 1925 (around the same time Rabindranath Tagore wrote a letter of approval to Margaret Sanger):
If it is contended that birth–control is necessary for the nation because of over-population, I dispute the proposition. It has never been proved. In my opinion, by a proper land system, better agriculture and a supplementary industry, this country is capable of supporting twice as many people as there are in it today. (YI, 2-4-1925, p. 118)
Since it was the contention of birth-controllers that "surplus children" are given birth to because couples fear that some may be lost due to the "three-fold curse" of pestilence, wars and famines, Gandhi's proposal was to stop those three in order to stop surplus children. He argued that self-control (i.e., abstinence) is the  "sovereign remedy" which does not bring greater evils in its train (the evil of South India's falling fertility is just one of them), but rather further ennobles people:
The bogey of increasing birth-rate is not a new thing. It has been often trotted out. Increase in population is not and ought not to be regarded as a calamity to be avoided. Its regulation or restriction by artificial methods is a calamity of the first grade, whether we know it or not. It is bound to degrade the race if it becomes universal, which, thank God, it is never likely to be. Pestilence, wars and famines are cursed antidotes against cursed just which is responsible for unwanted children. If we would avoid this three-fold curse, we would avoid too the curse of unwanted children by the sovereign remedy of self–control. The evil consequences of artificial methods are being seen by discerning men even now. Without, however, encroaching upon the moral domain, let me say that propagation of the race rabbit-wise must undoubtedly be stopped; but not so as to bring greater evils in its train. It should be stopped by methods which in themselves ennoble the race. In other words, it is all a matter of proper education which would embrace every department of life; and dealing with one curse will take in its orbit all the others. A way is not to be avoided because it is upward and therefore uphill. Man’s upward progress means ever-increasing difficulty, which is to be welcomed. (H, 31-3-1946, p. 66)
Gandhi called artificial methods of birth control as "sin presented in the garb of virtue". Note that Marie Stopes, someone I haven't paid much attention to in this series, was the UK-version of Margaret Sanger. Wrote Gandhi in 1935:
Man must choose either of the two courses, the upward or the downward; but as he has the brute in him he will more easily choose the down ward course than the upward , especially when the down ward course is presented to him in a beautiful garb. Man easily capitulates when sin is presented in the garb of virtue, and that is what Marie Stopes and others are doing. (H, 1-2-1935, p. 410)
Gandhi very correctly foretold the effects of contraception and other artificial methods of birth control on society, pointing out that they insulted womanhood, dissolved the bond of marriage, and enable free love (that is, extramarital sex):
I am afraid that advocates of birth-control take it for granted that indulgence in animal passion is a necessity of life and in itself a desirable thing. the solicitude shown for the fair sex is most pathetic. In my opinion, it is an insult to the fair sex to put up her case in support of birth–control by artificial methods. As it is, man has sufficiently degraded her for his lust, and artificial methods, no matter how well-meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her.

I urge the advocates of artificial methods to consider the consequences. Any large use of the methods is likely to result in the dissolution of the marriage bond and in free love. If man may indulge in animal passion for the sake of it, what is he to do whilst he is, say, away from his home for any length of time, or when he is engaged as a soldier in a protracted war, or when he is widowed, or when his wife is too ill to permit him the indulgence without injury to her health, notwithstanding the use of artificial methods. (YI, 2-4-1925, p. 118)
And by the way, Sanger met Gandhi in 1936, before meeting Tagore. Needless to say, she didn't get any support from him.

More quotes from Gandhi on this subject on

To be continued.

The Dark Designs Behind Population Control - Part 6

The power of propaganda gets unlikely recruits in India

In the previous post, I showed how Margaret Sanger, the American birth control pioneer and worldwide propagandist, was driven by the principles of the racist pseudo-science called eugenics. I have also shown how Malthus's flawed science was at the root of all the concern about human population.

However, strange are the ways in which un-science spreads, especially when its spread is driven and funded by racist people and institutions! So strange, that perhaps one of the most level headed leaders of India in recent times, a person from whom I draw great inspiration, that great bard of Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore, got convinced that Sanger was doing something good for humanity.

In 1923, when Tagore wrote the following (Tagore 1923), I am certain that he had no clue about Sanger's close involvement with the eugenicists (which involvement Sanger disclosed only in 1921):
[M]en in the West are apt to borrow the sanction of science under false pretenses to give expression to their passions and prejudices. To many thinkers there has appeared a clear connection between Darwin's theories and the 'imperialism', Teutonic and other, which was so marked a feature during the 'sixties. We have also read western authors who, admirably mimicking scientific mannerism, assert that only the so-called Nordic race has the proper quality and therefore the right to rule the world, extolling its characteristic ruthlessness as giving it the claim to universal dominance.
Had Tagore known about the true force behind Sanger's birth control agenda, which was nothing but the racist force professing Nordic superiority and vying for Nordic world dominance, I am sure he would have despised her entire programme, just like he started hating the very idea of a Nation after Japan's bid to invade China (he was a votary of Nationalism before that).

But yes, Tagore did not know of the dark designs behind Sanger's birth control propaganda, and got recruited by her. And yes, Tagore was also uninformed about the nonsense of Malthusian population arithmetic. The above two reasons, plus the effect of the zeitgeist of the times seem to have made Tagore write the following to Sanger in 1926 (Tagore, 1926):
I am of opinion that the birth control movement is a great movement not only because it will save women from enforced and undesirable maternity, but because it will help the cause of peace by lessening the number of surplus population of a country, scrambling for food and space outside its own rightful limits.
Note that Tagore's approval of population control stemmed more from flawed Malthusian concerns, than women's health.

Tagore also believed, unlike Mahatma Gandhi, that India must not wait for "the moral sense of man to become a great deal powerful than it is now" to achieve population control. Gandhi, on the other hand, was completely against Sanger's proposal for birth control by any means other than abstention (about which more later).

In this article, I have taken the risk to point out that Tagore, a source of great inspiration for me personally, was for population control in a series of articles against the very concept, assuming that the reader is mature enough to not believe in this or that because it was said by a well-known personality. Such a blind belief in the words of individuals is dangerous but widespread.

In short, Tagore probably exemplifies some of the greatest and well-meaning thinkers of India who were recruited by the birth control propagandists, and thereby set in motion that decimating machine which hurts Indians, especially South Indians, today.

The greatest of minds can be swayed by unreason towards actions and words which actually contradict their deepest feelings. It happened to Tagore. And it is perhaps for this very reason that the Taittiriyopanishad places the following disclaimer on what in a Guru is not worth following:

That is, "Take from us only those works which are beyond blemish. Follow our actions only as long as they are good deeds". I have every reason to believe that the very concept of population control, whoever professed it, however close he or she might be to my heart, is neither beyond blemish nor a good deed.

It is with this conviction that I dare to oppose your view here, O Poet of poets, for, again, as you wrote, one must not let one's "clear stream of reason" lose its way into the "dreary desert sand of dead habit" (Tagore, 1912).

And yes, so also is not beyond blemish that fatal feeling in Kannadigas that Kannada is derived from Sanskrit, and that Kannada by itself is incapable of anything without help from Sanskrit. But I digress.


Tagore, 1912: Gitanjali, p. 22, in The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore, Vol 1., p. 618., Atlantic Publishers, New Delhi.

Tagore, 1923: "The way to unity", in The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore, Vol 6., p. 618., Atlantic Publishers, New Delhi.

Tagore, 1926: Letter to Margaret Sanger, in The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore, Vol 8., p. 1044., Atlantic Publishers, New Delhi.

To be continued.