|Introduction: Contextual introduction.|
Body: Explain how Census of India not only helps understand the perils of British rule but also flags the roadblocks lying ahead.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.
Census in India is the largest single source of a variety of statistical information on different characteristics of the people of India. It is a sacred democratic exercise. Census 2011 was the 15th National Census of the country since 1872 and the 7th after Independence.
Helps understand the perils of British rule:
- Data from the Census of India reveal that between 1880 and 1920 approximately 100 million Indians died due to British policy in India.
- The mortality rate in British India is seen to rise steadily after 1881, recording an increase of close to 20% by 1921. As it is unusual for the mortality rate of a country to rise continuously due to natural causes, this suggests that the living conditions worsened during this period.
- The mortality rate dipped in 1931, which was the last census conducted in British India, but the last famine took place in Bengal in 1943, in the last five years of the close to two centuries of British colonial rule.
- The Census shows that in the 1950s, life expectancy at birth of Indians increased by more than it did in the previous seventy years.
- The population numbers recorded after 1947 point to the extent to which the lives of Indians improved since the end of colonial rule in dimensions other than merely income.
Flags the roadblocks lying ahead:
- Worsening gender inequality: It is believed that in the absence of factors that lower the life chances of women, including foeticide, this ratio would tend to one. The Census of India shows that we have not attained that level in our recorded history, except in pockets within the country.
- This ratio has steadily declined after 1947. So, even though life expectancy increased soon after Independence, in the early years at least it increased faster for men than it did for women.
- Though India became free of foreign rule, some Indians grew more free than others.
As India chants Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam at the G-20, implying that the nations of the world are a family, it behooves us to ensure that all the persons in our own family enjoy the same freedoms.