Poverty continues growing in India because the population keeps growing and the population keeps growing because of the poverty. In other words, both are competing with each other. Given the present conditions, how can the population be controlled when birth control is only optional here? Please give some suggestions.
It is not as big a problem as it appears to be. The population does not grow on its own; we are responsible for its growth, and poverty is its natural outcome.
The first things that need to penetrate India’s consciousness are that population does not grow on its own, we are responsible for its growth, and poverty does not grow by itself, it is our creation. And for centuries we have been taught to live with wrong ideas. For example, we are told that children are gifts of God and also that the number of children we have is predestined. For centuries, religious teachers have been telling us that to prevent children from being born is to oppose God.
All of this seems to imply just one thing: that God’s only work is to go on making people poorer and poorer. And this goes against the very meaning of the word Ishwar, God. The very source of the word aishwarya, opulence, is Ishwar. The word aishwarya, opulence, is derived from Ishwar, God. So if aishwarya gives rise to poverty, if Ishwar helps poverty to grow, then this can only be the creation of the priests, religious teachers, politicians and pundits – all those people who live through the exploitation of the poor.
Unless and until we remove this veil from the Indian psyche – that God has any hand in your poverty… And what kind of a God is it that wants to make you poor? But religious teachers, for example, Jesus, go on telling people, to great acclaim: “Blessed are the poor.” This certainly gives the poor some consolation for a short while – just like a man who is drowning in worries may feel some temporary relief from taking opium – but this is not going to be destroy poverty nor the worries. And if poverty really is blessedness, then it should be the preferred choice. How, then, can any question of eradicating it arise? In fact, those who are not poor should also be made poor, because why should they alone miss out on this blessedness?
Mahatma Gandhi calls the poor daridranarayan – “the poor are the image of God.” All these things may temporarily console the poor but they don’t solve the real problem in their lives at all. And these consolers become obstacles to solving the real problem.
I would like all consolations, all pseudo relief and all the deceptions and delusions given to the poor to be taken away from them, and for the poor to be clearly told: “If you are poor, you are responsible for it. And if the population grows, you are growing it. And if it is your wish to remain poor and to take this country into more and more poverty…