Da Vincing Code

The socio-political spectrum of Kerala always has something to entertain the average Malayalee. Be it V S Achuthanandan on one hand or P C George on the other. But who wouldn’t get bored of the same circus you see everyday? So now it is the turn of V R Krishna Iyer and his committee of people who have drafted the Women’s Code Bill 2011 which is pending approval of the state government.

The proposed bill suggests provisions to imprison those who fathers more than two children. So if this bill is passed, you will be slapped with a Rs. 10,000 fine or three months of imprisonment when you expect a third child in the family. Not only that, those who have three children would be considered as legally disqualified and they cannot enjoy the state benefits.

Needless to say that these suggestions are draconian. To have two or more children should be left to the parents and to intervene in those basic human rights and to add penalty to it is fascist. We are not living in China, after all. What the government should do instead of passing this bill to raise awareness of the advantages of population control. Kerala anyway has the lowest rate of population growth in India.

The protests have begun and as expected from the minority communities. The Christian and Muslim communities entertain having more children among their flock. The Church had announced ‘benefits’ for it’s community members who have more than four children. What these religious communities are aiming with this is an increased community power and thus the socio-political bargaining power in the future. But the proposed bill puts a stop to this as one of the recommendations of the bill is that religious and political outfits cannot discourage family planning and I think that is a welcome suggestion.

Population control is a need of the hour for a dense country like India though the decision of having more or less children should rest with the parents. To discourage it in the name of religion or community is going against the country’s well being and future. And to offer benefits only to those who have four or more children is as draconian as lifting the benefits off people who have more than two children. So it doesn’t really make sense to see the opposition from the Church and Muslim community heads.

Another sensible proposition in the bill is to offer free and healthy abortions in government hospitals. Abortion is another area that the religious organizations, who usually cite moral reasons to oppose it, should back off. Legalizing and providing expert help for abortions would help save some lives that usually gets lost by consulting with illegal clinics and doctors. Those who want to do abortions would go ahead and do it regardless of the law or their religion allows them to do it, so why not let them have it safely with expert help?

So there are some pros and cons in this bill and I wish the pro points stayed and cons removed. But with the protest from religious/community heads it is likely that the Chandy government would scrap it altogether.