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May ০৩

Why not Claim the Entire Bangladesh – Mr. Subramanian Swamy?

It seems Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is all but ready to form the next government in India. Or, so it sounds. The Hindutvadi divisive forces have been steadily growing like a cancer inside India for generations, and they call themselves Hindu nationalists. What’s Hindu nationalism but fascism, fanaticism, communalism, racism and bigotry? After all, it espouses that India is for only Hindus. It dreams of establishing Ram rajya in what was once British India. It despises non-Hindus. It denies the culture of inclusiveness and acceptance of the plurality of peoples and cultures that has been the hallmark of India's national character since time immemorial, and distorts India's history of its diverse and religious influences. And examples are plenty for anyone trying to find such relics of civilization with distinct touches not just in places like Fateh Sikri and Taj Mahal but everywhere in this ancient land of people of so many races who mingled and came to call it their home – not just the Turks, the Mughals and the Afghans, but also the Arabs and the Persians, the Portuguese and the English, and their descendants. Unlike western colonizers, Muslim rulers have called Hindustan their home; they lived and died here. 

And yet all such essential elements of Indian history are lost amongst the Sangh Parivar’s die-hard Hindu communalists. They have not come to terms with a divided India in 1947, and like to see all that were part of mother India to be brought back under the Indian umbrella.

BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said Bangladesh should compensate India with land for the influx of its citizens here. "If Bangladesh does not agree to take back its people, then the country should compensate by giving land to India," Swamy said in Guhawati, Assam on April 18, 2014.

"I am extremely distressed by the extent of illegal infiltration from Bangladesh. According to my estimate, one-third of Bangladesh's population lives in India," Swamy added.

The Hindutvadi leader, therefore, wants to grab one-third of Bangladesh under the pretext that one-third of Bangladeshis have migrated into India since partition of India. It is a ludicrous, and yet a dangerous claim, which breeds hatred and animosity. As I have shown in a series of articles on demography of Bangladesh and India, while cross-border migration has continued for ages (there are, e.g., now half a million illegal Indians working inside Bangladesh remitting nearly four billion US dollars to India), there is no truth to such BJP claims that Bangladeshis in large number have been migrating to India and inflating the Muslim proportion there.

Although in terms of per capita GDP, Bangladesh ranks lower than that of India, in several other metrics, e.g., in HDI (Human development Index) Health, her record is better than that of India (see, e.g., the Table below). She has less debt per capita than India. She has also lower deficit (% GDP) than India. Life expectancy is also higher in Bangladesh than India.

 

 
HDI-Health
 
Year
Bangladesh
India
1980
0.556
0.557
1990
0.623
0.605
2000
0.706
0.656
2005
0.74
0.683
2006
0.746
0.689
2007
0.752
0.694
2008
0.757
0.7
2009
0.762
0.706
2010
0.767
0.711
2011
0.772
0.717
2012
0.777
0.722

According to 2013 Human Development Report – “The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World”, “Bangladesh, with much slower economic growth and half India’s per capita income, does nearly as well—and better on some indicators.” The report says, “It has sustained growth by increasing the rate of public investment and achieving great success in textiles.” (http://countryeconomy.com/hdi/bangladesh)

In the economic sector, it is worth noting that Bangladesh has nearly half the unemployment rate of India. The working class inside Bangladesh makes more income than their counterparts in India, esp. in any of the surrounding states of Bangladesh. Many impoverished Indians thus have been illegally crossing over to work inside Bangladesh remitting huge sums of money to their family members still living inside India.

As to the demographic issue, it would have been proper for Hindu communalist leaders like BJP’s Swamy to look into adjusted population growth rates inside India than to making ludicrous claims about infiltration of Bangladeshi Muslims. Professor S. Irudaya Rajan’s demographic study (see the table below from his article: District Level Fertility Estimates for Hindus and MuslimsEconomic and Political Weekly, January 29, 2005, p. 440) in India has shown the % annual growth rate of various religious communities has varied quite a bit since the early census data were taken by the British Raj. Except for the 1951 census, when Muslims registered a net loss because of the partition of British India in1947, the growth rate amongst minority Muslims in independent India has been always greater than that of majority Hindus. As can also be seen except for the decade of 1971-81, other religious communities had higher % annual growth rate than both Muslims and Hindus.  So, why such a litmus test for Muslims in India, and not for other religious communities? What chauvinist message does BJP want to send? 
 

Decade
Total
Hindus
Muslims
Christians
Sikhs
Jains
Buddhists
Others
1901-11
0.6
0.5
0.3
2.6
2.6
-0.8
1.5
1.2
1911-21
0
-0.1
0.1
1.9
0.6
-0.6
0.7
-0.6
1921-31
1
1
1.4
2.9
2.8
0.7
1.3
-0.5
1931-41
1.1
0.6
1.7
0.4
2.8
1.3
-3.5
7.5
1941-51
1.5
2.4
-1.8
3.7
4.4
1.5
4.1
-11.7
1951-61
2
1.9
2.8
2.5
2.3
2.3
29.0
-11.1
1961-71
2.2
1.9
2.7
2.8
2.8
2.5
1.5
1.5
1971-81
2.2
2.2
2.7
2.1
2.3
2.1
2.1
0
1981-91
2.1
2
2.8
1.2
2.3
0.4
3.0
4.9
1991-2001
1.9
1.82
2.57
2
1.6
2.3
2.1
6.6

In independent India (i.e., after 1947), the % annual growth rate in a decade amongst Hindus varied from 1.82 to 2.16 with a mean of 1.96, and standard deviation of 0.137. For Muslims the corresponding values varied from 2.57 to 2.82 with a mean of 2.72, and a standard deviation of 0.11. The gap between the two communities is on the average 0.76% annually, and is statistically significant at an alpha level of 0.05. Note that this gap (in favor of higher Muslim growth rate) is significantly lower than the gap of 0.9% in 1951-61, a decade before Bangladesh came into existence. Note also that the gap in % growth rates has shrunk ever since (even in the 1991-2001 decade).

According to Prof. Rajan, “Interestingly, in the just concluded decade [1991-2001], the decline noted in the growth rates of both communities is almost the same at 0.2 per cent per annum though they are at different levels. The real decline of the growth rate among Hindus started during 1981-1991 with just a 0.2 percentage point fall (2.2 in 1971-81 and 2.0 in 1981-91), which was maintained during 1991-2001. As Muslims started late in the fertility transition, they lag behind Hindus but clear signs of decline are evident. Then why is there so much fuss in the media about the high growth rate among Muslims?” (Op. cit., Decade data within [] are mine.)

Prof. Rajan in his study showed the relevance of regional data saying that % annual growth rate varied from region to region (see the Table below). 
 

Growth Rate
Region
1951-61
1961-71
1971-81
1981-91
1991-2001
Hindus
South
1.52
1.94
1.97
1.77
1.22
Hindus
North-east
3.22
3.2
2.12
1.78
1.3
Hindus
East
2.09
2.02
1.98
1.95
1.71
Hindus
West
1.89
2.62
2.25
2.23
2
Hindus
North-west
1.87
1.01
2.43
2.23
2.32
Hindus
India
1.87
1.93
2.16
2.04
1.82
Muslims
South
1.66
2.93
2.51
2.37
1.66
Muslims
North-east
3.39
2.21
3.29
2.53
2.63
Muslims
East
2.95
2.68
2.61
2.9
2.67
Muslims
West
2.12
3.58
2.99
2.64
2.86
Muslims
North-west
3.71
2.24
2.67
3.24
2.86
Muslims
India
2.82
2.69
2.7
2.84
2.57

Analysis of the regional demographic data, however, is complicated by the fact that people are free to move from one part to another for a plethora of reasons. As such, a decline can mean internal migration (let alone going overseas) in which some families have moved away to another part. Similarly, the increase may be a result of internal migration, and not necessarily cross-border international migration of that religious group.

The north-eastern part of India surrounds Bangladesh. If we focus in that region, we find that Hindu % annual growth rate (GR) hovered between 1.3 in the decade of 1991-2001 and 3.22 in 1951-61, while the Muslim % hovered between 2.21 in 1961-71 and 3.39 in 1951-61. The question is this difference between the two communities statistically significant to suggest a cross-border migration of Muslims from Bangladesh? 
 

The average inter-censual % annual growth rate has been 2.81 for Muslims and 2.324 for Hindus in the north-east part of India between 1951 and 2001, with a standard deviation of 0.51%, and 0.86%, respectively. A paired-t test shows that there is not enough evidence to conclude that the mean of Muslim GR is greater than Hindu GR at the 0.05 level of significance.
 
Since 1951-2001 (for which we have Indian census data on religion) is too broad a period including two decades before the emergence of Bangladesh. How about shifting the focus on the Muslim growth rate in NE India from 1971 to 2001 to check if outside Muslims from, say, Bangladesh could have made the difference? For this we shall compare the growth rate amongst Muslims in the NE India to an average annual growth rate of 2.8% in the pre-Bangladesh era. Surely, if Muslims had moved into Northeast India from Bangladesh, there should be statistical evidence to prove such a hypothesis. Of these latter decades, we notice that only in 1971-81 the Muslim GR (3.29%) was higher than average inter-census growth rate of 2.8%, but it was still below 1951-61 growth rate of 3.39%. A 1-sample t-test shows that there is not enough evidence to conclude that the mean of the 1971-2001 census data on Muslim demography in the NE India is greater than 2.8% at the 0.05 (alpha) level of significance.

So, all these claims of Hindu communalists that Muslims from Bangladesh are causing higher growth rate seems groundless. Rather than making unsubstantiated claims that Bangladeshi Muslims are infiltrating into India in search of jobs why not they explain the reason behind lower Hindu growth rate? Why has it shrunk overall from a high of 2.4% in 1941-51 to 1.82% in 1991-2001? Similarly, for the North-east region of India, let them explain why the Hindu population has gone down from 3.22% in 1951-61 to 1.3% in 1991-2001?

Let me offer some hints. Socio-economic conditions matter in relation to fertility rate. Muslims, who are socio-economically disadvantaged in India (see numerous commission reports on this, including that of Sachar) with more unemployed and less educated (esp. amongst women) people, facing discrimination in every sector, are prone to have higher fertility rate amongst the less literate women compared to socio-economically advanced Hindu women who are more literate and gainfully employed. The % annual growth rate amongst Hindus is lower for a plethora of reasons of which the high abortion rate amongst Hindu women desiring (or forced to preferring) a male child over a female child (leading to 1.12:1 male to female ratio) is an important factor. It is no wonder that there are millions of unwed Hindu men who can't find marriage age Hindu women. The Hindu caste system has also been failing, in spite of all the cosmetic social reforms that India has embarked starting with the name change of the once-despised untouchables to the Dalits, letting many to convert to other religions, esp. to Christianity with very strong and effective missionary activities.

Rather than addressing such internal issues, the fanatic Hindus like BJP’s Swamy and Modi, and Hindu Samhati’s Tapan Ghosh like to transfer the monumental failures within the Hindu society to external, imaginary factors that have simply no basis. And what can be better than demonizing Muslims? So, a slight rise in Muslim population had to be because of Muslim migration from Bangladesh! Such an absurd theory, and only a myth, can only fool and agitate the brain-dead morons and votaries and pujaris of Hindutava, and no one else. It won't solve the ‘dying’ Hindu problem in India. And surely, demonizing others won't allow the problem to go away either.

 You can find the link to Swami's ludicrous claims over Bangladesh by clickinghere and here.  With such claims, he may as well claim the entire Bangladesh! That would be more appropriate for a die-hard Hindu fascist like him.

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