Census 2011

My hair isn’t growing long. How do I know? I measure them weekly. Am I losing weight? My weighing machine is ready. How do I know that my newest fairness cream is effective? They have the fairness meters. In today’s world where competence prevails, there is a need for progress reflectors, not only for the bureaucrats, but for each and every member of the society. However, a progress reflector is of use, only if it gives a true and complete picture of a country’s development graph.

India’s population soaring unimaginable heights, increased by 181 million people in the past decade, the combined population of UP and Maharashtra is more than that of the United States of America, the child sex ratio has slipped to its lowest since India’s independence to just 914 girls per 1000 boys, with Haryana scoring the lowest. One out of every four Indians can STILL not read or write.

These were some of the MOST often heard headlines on television when the Census 2011 results came out. Many of us might have even turned a blind eye towards them. BUT the fifteenth population census conducted over a period of 7 months, revealed some startling facts, THESE facts, which only highlight the lack of education, the insufficient knowledge and eventually the poor standards of living amongst a large number. Can one call THIS development? Certainly not.

In a decade where the country enjoyed unprecedented economic growth, it also became a terrifyingly hostile place to be conceived or born as a girl, due to the continuing preference for male child, a decade with an overall increase in Adult Sex Ratio, but dramatic decline in the Child Sex Ratio, a decade recording a marginal increase in the literacy rate, but no development in the employment rate, a decade recording the lowest population growth in 90 years, but in absolute terms, fast catching up with the most populated country of the world.

Isn’t it a pity that even after 63 years of independence, we are still a developing nation? Funny how they talk about “Unity” and “Integrity” in our country, BUT include “Caste” as an additional parameter in the latest Census, despite the communally charged atmosphere. Would this not be handy for the social groups who are willing to lose their identity of being Indians and prefer to get into a ‘minority class’ to avail the reservations bonanza legalised by our constitution?

Further, the Census-2011 does not reveal that society is more corrupt than ever before; it also does not reveal that the social environment is more insecure, that the country is continuously losing its ‘integrity’ by the day and it certainly does not reveal the undermined rural areas, where even today, cases of Sati and Honour Killings are registered.

Therefore to conclude, let us all for once, stop seeking solace in the fact that we are developing on SOME of the parameters and ACCEPT that there are a LOT more challenges and liabilities to be tackled. Sitting back with our hands folded, waiting for the government to initiate and deal with the problems is just another way of procrastinating. Let the time be now, let the day be today.

Akanksha Agarwal