= Periyar E.V. Ramsamy =

A few years ago when I started to speak about “contraception” many knit their brows shocked by my words. But now the word has become an everyday household term and its implication is being realized gradually. Nowadays we read in our dailies that even the Brahmin bigwigs like Sir C.P. Sivaswamy Iyer, Justice Ramesh and other Brahmin bureaucrats talk and write about `contraception’.

You might have noticed that in the Legislative Council it has been emphasized that ‘contraception’ is to be propagated intensively among the public. However there is a fundamental difference between their stance and mine. Whereas they view it as a matter of promoting the health of mother and child, safeguarding their family property from being squandered by many hands and for the economic considerations of the nation as a whole, I view

it as a key to liberate womenfolk from their slavery to man.

I would rather wish women stopped conceiving forthwith. Begetting a number of children affects not only the women but also their husbands adversely.

They lose their independence and libertyand become slaves to others.

This can be vouchsafed by their occasional outbursts in agony under trying situations. The husband would say: “Had I been single I could have braved the situation boldly but having now four to five childredn to feed I could do nothing but bow to others”. In a similar vein the wife would bemoan: “I couldn’t bear with these trials any longer. Had I been all by myself I could have by this time quit my family and committed suicide by plunging into a river or a tank. But what could I do now having children of my own to take care of? Can I leave them orphans after my departure?” Such sporadic emotional wailings bear witness to the fact that children are shackles to one’s free-will and free action.

Whereas a man has to forfeit all his rights and self-respect to eke out his livelihood how can he dream of leading an independent life overburdened with a cluster of children hanging around him? As such, conceiving, bearing, and begetting children deprive a woman of her own independence and set her hunsband’s freedom at naught.

As woman has no independent source of income, she depends on others to rear up her children. In this respect she is more miserable than any other creature in the world. Besides, she loses her lustre and stamina with repeated child - bearing and falls an easy prey to diseases and premature death. That is why I insist on women adopting contraceptives to safe-guard their rights.

Invariably we see only men becoming admirable bachelors and adorable saints, monks, and monastery heads wallowing in money and material pleasures but never a woman. Why should there be such a discrimination between man and woman? It is all because a woman conceives and thereby loses her rights to become a religious head and she is considered unfit to occupy holy positions. For all these reasons I suggest to them that they should stop conceiving.

Though there exist differences of opinion among us as to why a woman should adopt contraceptives, I am happy that all agree on one point, i.e., women should remain contraceptive.

At this juncture I feel I should express my disappointment over the opposition raised by the Minister for Health on the floor of the Legislative Council against our propaganda for contraception. It is more disappointing to know that our elected representative in the Legislative Council Mrs. Muthulakshmi played a second fiddle to the Health Minister.

Had there been any obligation on the part of the government that it ought to take care of all the children born in this country, the Minister might, perhaps, not raised his voice against contraception. As the population increase is not the concern of the government, no one is going to worry about the fate of the children who are born as liability to others and not to the State.

I sincerely feel that propaganda for contraception is more significant than the propaganda for prohibition and eradication of infectious diseases.

It is highly deplorable that a Minister for Health and a qualified doctor like Mrs. Muthulakshmi should oppose propagation of contraception. The public should ignore such persons and follow their own ways and means and adopt contraception for their own benefit.

At this juncture I would wish that an 'Institution for Contraception' be established and pamphlets, booklets and periodicals be published for its propagation.

Likewise books which have appeared so far on the subject in English and other foreign lanuages be translated into Tamil and distributed among our people. Popular media such as the cinema and drama may also be fully exploited to highlight how women can be liberated from their slavery and the country be benefited by practising contraception.

Translated by : Dr. S. Malli Raja M.A., Ph.D.
This article was orignally appeared in The Modern Rationalist

Thanthai PeriyarDr Abraham Kovoor