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Depopulation in humans is a reduction in a human population size.

Depopulation during Islamic invasions[edit]

Depopulation during British Raj[edit]

Depopulation during Partition of India[edit]

Depopulation after 1947[edit]

Depopulation during Bangladesh Liberation War[edit]

Forced expulsion of Kashmiri Hindus[edit]

Depopulation of Hindus in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh[edit]

Indira Gandhi : Forced Mass Sterilization[edit]

In September 1976, Sanjay Gandhi initiated a widespread compulsory sterilisation programme to limit population growth. The exact extent of Sanjay Gandhi's role in the implementation of the programme is disputed, with some writers[1][2][3][4] holding Gandhi directly responsible for his authoritarianism, and other writers[5] blaming the officials who implemented the programme rather than Gandhi himself. It is clear that international pressure from the United States, United Nations, and World Bank played a role in the implementation of these population control measures.[6]

The campaign primarily involved getting males to undergo vasectomy. Quotas were set up that enthusiastic supporters and government officials worked hard to achieve. There were allegations of coercion of unwilling candidates too.[7] In 1976–1977, the programme led to 8.3 million sterilisations, most of them forced, up from 2.7 million the previous year. The bad publicity led many 1977 governments to stress that family planning is entirely voluntary.[8]

The Emergency in India from 1975 and 1977 resulted from internal and external conflict for the country, and resulted in misuse of power and human rights violations from the government.[9] On August 6, 1976, the state of Maharashtra became the first governmental unit to enact legislation mandating compulsory sterilization of men and women after the birth of a third child, passing the Family (Restrictions on Size) Bill on its third reading and sending it to the President of India for the required assent. The President reacted favorably and sent the bill back to the Maharashtra government with suggested amendments that would be necessary for an enactment, but before the measure could be passed, new elections were called and the legislation was not passed.[10]

Stopping short of forced sterilization, the national government enacted an incentive program for a family planning initiative that began in 1976 in an attempt to lower the exponentially increasing population. This program focused on male citizens and used propaganda and monetary incentives to impoverished citizens to get sterilized.[11] People who agreed to get sterilized would receive land, housing, and money or loans.[12] This program led millions of men to receive vasectomies, and an undetermined amount of these were coerced. There were reports of officials blocking off villages and dragging men to surgical centers for vasectomies.[13] However, after much protest and opposition, the country switched to targeting women through coercion, withholding welfare or ration card benefits, and bribing women with food and money.[14] This switch was theorized to be based on the principle women are less likely to protest for their own rights.[13] Many deaths occurred as a result of both the male and the female sterilization programs.[13] These deaths were likely attributed to poor sanitation standards and quality standards in the Indian sterilization camps.

Sanjay Gandhi, son of the then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was largely responsible for what turned out to be a failed program.[9] A strong mistrust against family planning initiatives followed the highly controversial program, the effect of which continues into the 21st century.[15] Sterilization policies are still enforced in India, targeting mostly indigenous and lower-class women who are herded into the sterilization camps.[14] The most recent abuse of family planning systems was highlighted by the death of 15 lower-class women in a sterilization center in Chhattisgarh in 2014.[14] Despite these deaths, sterilization is still the highest used method of birth control with 39% of women in India turning to sterilization in 2015.[16]

David Frum and Vinod Mehta state that the sterilization programmes were initiated at the behest of the IMF and the World Bank:

"Forced sterilisation was by far the most calamitous exercise undertaken during the Emergency. The IMF and World Bank had periodically shared their fears with New Delhi about the uncontrolled rise in population levels. India’s democracy was a hurdle: no government could possibly enact laws limiting the number of children a couple could have without incurring punishment at the ballot box. But with democracy suspended, the IMF and World Bank encouraged Indira to pursue the programme with renewed vigour. Indira and Sanjay, the self-styled socialists, inflicting on Indians the humiliation of forced sterilisation in order to appease western loan sharks: the irony was lost on them. Socialism, like much else, had been reduced to a slogan."

— David Frum, reviewing The Sanjay Story by Vinod Mehta[17]


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  1. Vinay Lal. "Indira Gandhi" [archive]. Retrieved 1 August 2013. Sanjay Gandhi, started to run the country as though it were his fiefdom and earned the fierce hatred of many whom his policies had victimised. He ordered the removal of slum dwellings, and in an attempt to curb India's growing population, initiated a highly resented programme of forced sterilisation.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Subodh Ghildiyal (29 December 2010). "Cong blames Sanjay Gandhi for Emergency 'excesses'" [archive]. The Times of India. Archived from the original [archive] on 28 August 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2013. Sanjay Gandhi's rash promotion of sterilization and forcible clearance of slums ... sparked popular anger<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Kumkum Chadha (4 January 2011). "Sanjay's men and women" [archive]. Archived from the original [archive] on 4 February 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2013. The Congress, on the other hand, charges Sanjay Gandhi of "over-enthusiasm" in dealing with certain programmes and I quote yet again: "Unfortunately, in certain spheres, over-enthusiasm led to compulsion in the enforcement of certain programmes like compulsory sterilisation and clearance of slums. Sanjay Gandhi had by then emerged as a leader of great significance.".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Sanjay Gandhi worked in an authoritarian manner: Congress book" [archive]. 28 December 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. India: The Years of Indira Gandhi [archive]. Brill Academic Pub. 1988. ISBN 9788131734650.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Green, Hannah Harris. "The legacy of India's quest to sterilise millions of men" [archive]. Quartz India. Retrieved 2020-07-09.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Gwatkin, Davidson R. 'Political Will and Family Planning: The Implications of India's Emergency Experience', in: Population and Development Review, 5/1, 29–59;
  8. Carl Haub and O. P. Sharma, "India's Population Reality: Reconciling Change and Tradition," Population Bulletin (2006) 61#3 pp 3+. online [archive]
  9. 9.0 9.1 "The Indira enigma" [archive]. Frontline. May 11, 2001. Archived from the original on November 10, 2006. Retrieved July 28, 2006.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Leela Visaria and Rajani R. Ved, India's Family Planning Programme Policies, Practices and Challenges (Taylor & Francis, 2016) pp. 28-29
  11. "A generation of lost manhood" [archive]. Archived [archive] from the original on 2016-01-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Relying on Hard and Soft Sells India Pushes Sterilization, New York Times, June 22, 2011.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "India's dark history of sterilisation" [archive]. BBC News. 2014-11-14. Retrieved 2021-04-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Wilson, Kalpana (2017-04-01). "In the name of reproductive rights: race, neoliberalism and the embodied violence of population policies" [archive] (PDF). New Formations. 91 (91): 50–68. doi:10.3898/newf:91.03.2017 [archive]. ISSN 0950-2378 [archive]. Archived [archive] (PDF) from the original on 2019-04-28. Retrieved 2019-12-16. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Male involvement and contraceptive methods for men" [archive]. Frontline. September 1996. Archived [archive] from the original on August 11, 2006. Retrieved July 28, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Sterilization: The Standard Choice in India" [archive]. Global Health NOW. Retrieved 2021-04-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Hold Onto Your Penis" [archive]. The Daily Beast. 29 November 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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