By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, March 9: Renowned surgeon Prof. Ilias Ali has linked women’s education with fertility rate in the country that has been facing population boom.
Speaking on population explosion and women education as the chief guest at a semir held on March 8, 2018 on the occasion of Intertiol Women’s Day at Kalgachia in Barpeta district, Dr. Ali said: “India’s population in 1900 was a mere 25 crore and in 1947 it was 37.5 crore. By 1965, the figure rose to 50 crore. Since then, there has been a stark increase in population, reaching 102.7 crore by 2001. Ironically, India’s landmass is just 2.4 per cent of the planet’s total landmass. Such a small fraction of land is being forced to sustain a startling 17.5 per cent of the world’s total population. This, indeed, is alarming.”
The semir was organized by organized bajyoti College Teachers’ unit, Kalgachia of Barpeta district in collaboration with ACTA (Assam College Teachers’ Association).
On women education and population control, Prof. Ali said: “It’s a well established fact that women education plays a pivotal role in curbing population growth. An increase in the literacy rate among women tends to lower the fertility rate to a great extent than a similar increase in the education of men. Studies in Latin America have shown that women who have completed primary education, bear an average of about two children, fewer than those who have not. The average fertility rate of a rural woman without any formal education was found to be six children. Schooling tends to delay the age of marriage for girls, and thus reduces their total possible number of childbearing years.”
Addressing the attending students, teachers and other dignitaries, Prof. Dr Ali lamented: “Muslims, the largest minority community in the country, are seriously lagging in terms of most of the human development indicators and it is primarily due to lack of adequate women education. On the other hand, this curse is also responsible for the spiraling population growth among Muslims.”
He hoped that the Muslim community and the government will pay special attention in regards to education of Muslim girls.
On underage marriage, Dr. Ali said: “A worrisome cause for population growth is underage marriage. Though legally banned, it is still prevalent in certain parts of the country. Teege marriage is not only fuelling the population rise, but is also increasing the materl and infant mortality rates. In Assam, particularly among the Muslims of the riverine areas, the incidence of child marriage is around 50 per cent which reflects ignorance, illiteracy and economic and social backwardness of the community.” He asked the gathering to join hands to fight against this social curse.