The Baby Disaster!
In the last week of October, 2011 more than forty infants died in different government hospitals of West Bengal, a state in eastern India. Despite the media outrage the deaths continued and the state government decided to look the other way.
While the world celebrated the birth of the 7 billionth baby in Manila, Philippines on October 31st India too decided to join in by claiming a baby born in a northern state as the 7 billionth one. The terrible apathy was too strong to ignore.
Of the seven billion global inhabitants India account for nearly 18 per cent which hardly makes any excuse for celebrations. Add to it the fact that the northern state, Uttar Pradesh, is the most populous one of India and a feudalistic oppressor of women. The concerned NGO there who made the claims for the unique occasion was quick to point out that they wanted to pass on a message since the 7 billionth baby was a girl child. That particular state also boasts of the worst sex ratio at 899 girls per 1000 men.
Indian villages, cities and the overall infrastructure are at a bursting point due to the tremendous and unabated population pressure. The facilities at government hospitals are abysmal and private hospitals are out of reach of poor people. Here the right cause for celebration would be when there is a drop in population growth rate.
The priorities must be set right. There has to be a concerted effort to better the conditions that human beings need for a minimum standard of living. But the explosive population growth has been slowing down progress at all levels.
No wonder that the West Bengal government found nothing abnormal in the infants deaths with the Chief Minister who recently dislodged the long ruling Marxist government getting into a little activity after almost a fortnight.
Or is it the other way round? Do they welcome more infant deaths to directly control population growth? So mean, yes! But what exactly are we supposed to understand?