So, I am reading this chapter on Human Population and fuming inside on the reckless breeding tendencies of us humans and God decides to send me a demo.
Our newly recruited domestic help is sweeping the courtyard, when she is commanded by a woman to “tell Mother to give alms”. When, our recruit, shy by nature, doesn’t oblige, the woman, the beggar, starts yelling at the top of her voice for money; in her signature intonation while begging. It sounded less like begging and much more like extortion. Even our thuggish, local Puja organizers keep it low on their annual celebratory tax collecting rounds.
I looked at the screen, on the page of the ebook where I had left, and the sentences read “In 1952, India added 5 million people to its population. In 2009, it added 18 million—more than any other country”. The woman beggar had three kids in tow; the one in her arms, a newborn. I reflected on how I had been seeing this very same image, year after year, since my matriculation days, each time the woman with three kids in tow. Her reproductive prowess at replacing the grown up kids with young ones, at regular intervals, to keep the picture intact, although impressive, wasn’t sympathy inducing. If anything, as a fellow human being, I felt – both like a cockroach, and deep apprehension.
Sympathy is an exhaustible resource. You can truly feel for a person, relate to his/her sorrow to an extent. To an extent, therefore, you can, and should loosen your purse strings to help. But, like a Bengali proverb says, “Dash mukhey chhai o dewa jayena” (One cannot feed tens with ashes even).
The real tragedy is when religion steps in to murk up the waters further. I read the other day, in a shared Facebook post that certain organizations with religious inclinations have encouraged their followers to competitively breed out the followers of the other main religion in this country. I am pretty certain the heads of the other religion preach along the same lines. And the way these senseless ideologies are influencing and brainwashing the educated youth of the country is deeply disturbing.
For, whatever the religious heads say, Nature is not going to accommodate beyond her capacity, no species, not even humans, however we may try using our science and technology. That limit, called Carrying Capacity, will snap at our faces as a rubber band does when stretched too far, and that effect will not be a small one.
And, I know, we all know of the environmental jargons by now, the consequences of exceeding the carrying capacity; I know we know of tsunamis, of floods, of global warming and the like; but what we haven’t yet thought through truly is Cannibalism.
You think I am being fantastical? Might I suggest you watch the movie “Ravenous”?
What do you think the shortage will be of, when tsunamis, floods or droughts hit an area? Of food. Of water too. Moneyed people will hoard what they can with their money, only to be robbed of it, in the process perhaps killed, by the hungry angry masses. When the hoards are gone what then? What else but to turn on the man next to you and tear at his flesh?
And the last to survive, i.e., the most successful killer will be the ones coming from the less erudite, presently underprivileged masses. For, their instincts, redefined as conscience, would not have been tampered with and mellowed by middle class morality and education; it would have been chiseled by Nature, red in tooth and claw, for survival.
So, my charity today perhaps will rob me of my life thirty years hence. Unless the government steps in and seriously rethinks population control.
1. Environmental Science, 13E. G. Tyler Miller, Jr. and Scott E. Spoolman. Brooks/Cole.
2. Find ‘Ravenous’ at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0129332/
3. You may find this link interesting http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/