|Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy Naicker|
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.