Shameem Ahamad Ganayee
Continuity of existence is possible solely through the process of human procreation, which is facilitated by the institution of marriage. This institution is a necessary part of life.
Individuals are necessary for society, and thus no civilization can exist without human procreation. The civilization would have died in its infancy if humans had not continued to procreate; the procreation process is a means of ensuring its continuation.
This pivotal thing was/is influenced by various determining elements viz, Power structure, class, caste, family, and social norms. But, in the age of post-modernity, we can't seem to grasp what's imperative or inconsequential when we talk about procreation in continuity. Be it state, or individual everybody is developing different sought of ideas and justifications.
At the macro level, China's Communist Party was concerned about the country's growing population; it implemented a one-child policy in 1980s, which successfully curtailed the country's population growth rate. China discontinued its one-child policy in 2016 and adopted a two-child program. It is now supporting three child-related policies. Despite being the world's most powerful and popular country, it is the most in-transition country, in the matters of procreation. China is not the only country that is perplexed; the other industrialized core countries are as well sinking in the same boat; they have reached their demographic limit, and their fertility rates are falling below replacement level. Their motivation, which they have promoted since the outset of industrialization, has resulted in success. However, these developed countries have long relied on countries in the periphery and semi-periphery. The core countries are content with their demography, and procreation pattern, but they profit when periphery and semi-periphery countries have more population and are above the replacement level.
It doesn't end here; in the context of procreation, the most contentious subject is the link between population expansion and economic prosperity. The Western model is likewise a blunder. They are generally perplexed by population; on the one hand, they are transmitting and encouraging the benefits of having a small family or no family at all, while on the other hand, western countries make highly populated countries strategic partners for selling their products and buying cheap labor. Here western countries fail to encourage the benefits of low population. Their dual nature makes procreation difficult to comprehend. Numerous global and national conferences on the population problem have been organized; on the one hand, on the other, we are prioritizing reproductive rights. Everyone is perplexed, be it national or international organization.
Decisions at the macro level are not yielding desired results but have created more confusion. At the meso-level, countries are devising numerous laws to intervene in procreation concerns, but they are also unsure whether to limit or boost the population. Will they see the population as a resource or will they look for evidence of poverty in it? There are a variety of factors that influence procreation preferences, but there are none that influence it. At the micro-level, people nowadays opt for family planning even if they do not have a son. Due to multiple interconnected social dynamics, our earlier preferences of procreation have dislodged. Once a son was treated as a pension at an older age, but in continuity, most of the older parents rely on their daughters and are abandoned by their sons.
Talk about poverty, the proletariat, according to popular belief, has more offsprings than the bourgeoisie. Poverty and procreation, according to social scientists, are intrinsically linked; the poorer you are, the more children you can have. However, contemporary empirical investigations demonstrate that both affluent and poor people have similar procreation tendencies. Lower-class families are limiting themselves to two members; what was once identified with the wealthy is now connected with the impoverished.
In concerns of procreation, talk about religion, religion has always held the upper hand, particularly among Muslims. Religious preachers, or micro-managers as S.Y. Quraishi refers to them in his new book Population Myth, 2021, extol the benefits of having more children, but limit their own family; that is perplexing. Religion is a way for some to limit the number of children to two, while it is a tool for others to enlarge the number of children. Both the categories are self-contained. The interplay of religion and health makes some sense in continuity but the chameleon character of postmodern men in relativism makes it powerless to get what it is. Under the camouflage of religion and health, we are pretending what we are not. Individuals are puppets and by-products of their society, stated by sociologist Émile Durkheim. Individual procreative urges are influenced by the society in this context as well, but with time and space, as we live in what Anthony Giddens dubbed "late modernity." The fundamental institutions of society lessen their grasp on many aspects of the individual. Procreation is one of them. We should have the same procreation choices across people in similar social positions, according to Durkheim, yet we don't.
When it came to procreation, we differed within the family. Treating procreation as science or as religious scripture; is it the route forward or backward. We don’t have a clear idea when sailing in the boat of procreation; we don't always know what we're doing. That's one way of putting it: procreation has entered into the phase of post-modernity.
Shameem Ahamad Ganayee is a Junior Research Fellow in the department of Sociology, University of Kashmir.