How many Indians on earth ? Tough question because there is no accurate data on births and deaths. Indeed, census figures are flawed : a majority of households, especially in the rural areas, do not reveal how many daughters they have. ( In traditional India, a girl is considered as a burden while a boy is a chance. And many modern-minded Indians think alike .) Since the girl child will go to another household after her marriage, her presence is obliterated from birth. She goes through her invisible life with no identity barring that in relation to a male; the unwanted daughter becomes someone’s wife and if she is “lucky” the mother of male children.
Within the billion Indian people, the number of women is dwindling. In parts of Bihar and Punjab ( two states in the north of India), the ratio of women to men is as low as 600 per 1000. Despite the girl child being deprived of her rights ( nutritional, emotional and educational), successive governments have targeted the woman in their population policies. Though the woman is excluded from the decision on determining the size of her family, the gender of her children or the periodicity of births, she is expected to play the primary role in raising the family.
Then, some introspection is needed, an introspection into the quality of life of the disempowered half of India : the mothers on whom a patriarcal society depends to produce healthy male children. The social stigmatization that causes women to be consistently overlooked in almost all walks of life is counterproductive. The wellspring of intellectual and physical resources which Indian women possess, if tapped effectively, could be of immense benefit to the society. The invisible woman exemplifies the real demographic problem that India faces today. It is not so much the size of the population as the lack of the dynamics of justice that is cause for concern.