Before I answer this question, let me explain you that I have written this article purely as a student of economics (of which demographics is an important part). I do not have any specific feeling towards any religion and this article was not meant to hurt anybody’s sentiments, emotions or religious beliefs. I write this article with the sole intention of stating my analysis and airing my views about the question posed.
Hinduism and a few more religions are popular for the practice of social evils like dowry and discouragement of girl child. The latter happens to such an extent that many families kill a girl as soon as it is born. People continue to kill the female babies until a male is born. There have been numerous reports of such incidents especially from the Northern parts of India like Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi etc. In certain cases, they go on giving birth to children until a male child is born. And once that happens, they have so many children that they are even unable to afford education for all their children.
Please have a look at this sex ratio data that I found on the Census of India Website (exact link needed). Please click on the images to make them more legible:
In the data that I have posted here, Sex Ratio is the number of Females per thousand males. It is paramount that there is a good balance between the number of males and females and neither side is too heavy or too light. As the world sex ratio has been such that the number of females per 1000 males is always less, in my opinion a good ratio for any country would be 980 or more females per thousand males. However, once it is below that 980 figure, the ratio start to become exponentially dangerous in intensity in response to a unit decrease in the number of females per thousand males.
Considering the present trend, if it continues, soon the sex ratio will reach a tipping point and there will be a population implosion in the Hindu society. It will become very difficult for aspiring bridegrooms to find a bride and there might be a situation where a particular set of men will go unmarried because they just couldn’t find a bride.
Now all this may sound crazy but this is simple correlation and the causation is self-evident. Let me tell you about the correlation.
Sex ratio is the number of women per thousand men. If the number of women per thousand men is alarmingly low (as in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab etc) then, when the overall number of men and women (in the region whose sex ratio is in question) is considered the difference in their number turns out to be appalling. Because the majority of Indians are under the age of Twenty-five (and this trend will remain at least until 2020), the given correlation is not affected by the argument that majority of the men in question might already be married (also note another counter argument to this that a majority of the women might also already be married :)). So with such a difference in the number of men and women, where will the extra men (a fairly large number) get their brides (assuming that they would like to marry only within their caste/religion)? From another region/state? Not possible, because it’s the same grim scenario almost every where.
This will inevitably result in the decline of the Hindu population as a percentage of the overall population. And just for numbers’ sake: lack of awareness or refusal to use contraceptives and birth control techniques in other communities coupled with factors like polygamy will continue to fuel their population growth.
Dowry system is one of the biggest reasons for such a widespread backlash against the girl child. In my opinion dowry is not an evil until the bridegroom’s side does not demand anything form the Bride’s side and are happy/content or indifferent to whatever the Bride’s side has to offer. However, existence of such a system seems silly sometimes. Hindus can learn some good lessons here, from Islam. From some Muslim friends, I have learnt that there is no system like dowry in Islam. The bride’s and the bridegroom’s side agree to share the cost of the marriage equally which itself is pretty low unlike an average Hindu marriage. In my previous company an American colleague of mine was explaining to me that in American (or Christian) marriages there is nothing like dowry. He said that when a person gets married, his/her friends pool in some money and buy them stuff that could be essential for them to start their married life. When I heard that (apologies if I sound harsh but that’s what I felt), I could imagine Indian Hindu marriages as an auction scene where a boy’s parents award the party (Bride’s side) that gives them the best price for their child :))
More results through sex-ratio correlation
With reference to my conclusions drawn on the sex ratio issue, I have another correlation to be presented. From the sex-ratio issue we learnt that the unmarried men will greatly outnumber the unmarried women and there will be a scarcity of unmarried women in particular (and women in general). In other words, there will be an abundance of men. This will lead to an increase in the number of Homosexuals. Suppose (I don’t know what the exact numbers are) today one out of every two hundred men is a Homosexual. So the number of Homosexuals is total number of men divided by 200. In the future when there will be more men (due to a deteriorating sex ratio), the number of Homosexuals will increase.
With the continuing deterioration of sex ratio (and low availability of life-partners from the opposite sex) this number will rise. Many men may have no option left but homosexuality. It is known that some men who work in military etc and are away from their partner (female) for a long time (and have never experienced sexual attraction toward the same sex) may exhibit bi-sexual and later on homosexual orientation/behavior.
While I do not think that Homosexuality is bad or incorrect, and have no issues with the number of Homosexuals going up, I do think that the number will go up for a bad reason i.e. imbalance in sex ratio.
Also, it is know fact that India is a hotbed for all kinds of crimes and atrocities committed against women. With the deterioration or sex ratio, this sort crime is going to go up.
Reversal or even decline of trends in demography take a very long time (from a couple of decades to centuries) and even if all the people stop killing the girl child from today (which can only be a miracle), it will easily be a couple of decades before the sex ratio becomes normal.