We are well used to slogans such as ‘We are two and have only two’, ‘Son or daughter, let it be two’ and `One park for the town, one tree for the house and one child for the family‘. In emerging economies like India and China, population is considered as a major hurdle to the economic growth of the country. China, with its stringent policy of `one child per family’, managed to control its population growth better than its Asian neighbor. But it is a herculean task to implement family planning in a religious country like India, where children are considered as the boon of god. Force and dictatorial methods employed during the emergency period resulted in the fall of the government and in earning the wrath of people.
Even the poorest among the poor welcome a whole brood with no regrets. In most of the cases, children are the only assets in the absence of any other assets to claim.
Analysed below are a few important aspects of population control and family management to understand the emergence of the recent trends in the same, and their implications for our nation.
Population and Western Countries
Western societies with a better gender ratio and opportunities for women to work and get educated, opted for small families despite resistance from the old conservative molded faiths. Women continued to enjoy the benefits of small and single child families and some opted for a `single mother family’, discarding the role of husbands. Live-in-relationship was also experimented with. At a particular point, it led to a drastic reduce in man power and incentives were extended to families in order to encourage their growth. Still people, particularly the elite, never wanted to have the shame of carrying a brood.
Asian Countries and the preference of male off springs
As per a survey conducted by Dallup, Asians still prefer male child over the female. A family continues to grow till the arrival of the male child, as he is considered as the true heir. Resulting in overgrown families with many mouths to feed, the girl child began to face biased and unfavorable treatment during her growth period. To tackle this, a number of pro-girl child reforms were introduced with many incentives and benefits for the girl child. The achievements of the girls were glorified and highlighted in such a way that people no longer continued the process of procreation just for the sake of begetting a male child.
Women these days are efficiently managing the family property and business.The Reddy Group Companies that include the well known Apollo group of Hospitals are fine examples of such efficient management. The fear of the kingdom going without an heir is no longer experienced.
Celebrities’ love for Big Families
However, just when things have been going forward in the right direction, we have begun to witness a weird development in the uber-rich classes of the western society, which is now being emulated by the upper crust of the developing countries.There was a time when the elite and the aristocrats restricted themselves to a single child or no child at all in order to have hassle free careers. Suddenly there was a change in attitude. With the most fashionable icons opting for surrogacy or adoption in order to have kids, it was no longer a shame to have more than two children. Celebrity couple Angelina Julie and Bradd Pitt’s public display of their happy brood of children has changed the equation. The elite have followed the example with more and more actors going for the third and the fourth kid without any hesitation.
With the young queen Kate Williams giving birth to the third child in a short period and the picture of the happy mother with her three kids has given a new message to the society. The former Prime Minister of UK, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan have all opted for the third child quite late in their lives.
The competitive world has turned lives barren and children have become the only source of enjoyment and hope. Even the senile at a decrepit age are willing to look after the grandkids in order to fill in the void created by their children settled abroad. In fact, some families are urging their sons and daughters to beget more kids. But for a growing country like India, the U-turn may prove to be disadvantageous, especially if the middle and the lower sections emulate the examples the elites are providing. It might be better if this new trend ceases to have an influence over the middle-income groups of India.
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