The Indian population includes followers of six major religions Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism. These six religions account for almost 99.5% of the total population of the country. Between 1961 and 1991the Muslim population has reported to have grown by 103%faster than the predominant majority group of Hindus, who have reported a growth of 83% over this period. The primary reason for the faster growth of Muslims has been their higher fertility. This paper seeks to explore the fertility behaviour among Muslims in Orissa where they constitute 2.1% of the population. Although Muslims in Orissa are, demographically insignificant but there are some districts where Muslims constitute more than twenty percent of the total population in Cuttack, Bhadrak and Kendrapara. The main objectives of the present study are (1) To explore the role of religion in determining fertility behaviour (2) Understanding fertility behaviour with reference to social class, level of education, occupation, minority character etc. (3) Identifying factors responsible for high as well as low fertility behaviour of Muslims. The present study seeks to collect data from an analytical study based on secondary sources such as the NFHS I, II, III, Census, Human Development Report etc. A brief look at the Muslims of Orissa throws light on the fact that Muslims of Orissa are as heterogeneous as any other communities. The majority of Muslims however are illiterate, poor and engaged in agricultural and petty jobs for whom children are perceived as an economic asset in the long run. They are also motivated to have more children for old age security purposes, particularly in a situation where there is little or no institutional support for the aged and physically disabled and where women are economically dependent on men. Another striking finding of the present study brings to light the fact of their low fertility rate among some sections of the community. This comes out clearly from the higher age at marriage of girls and the prevalence of cross cousin and parallel cousin marriage. Thus in this paper an attempt has been made to demolish the popular stereotype belief that religion is not the only factor which affects fertility behaviour among Muslims rather they are determined by a host of economic, social, cultural and political factors which greatly affect the total fertility rate among Muslims.
Cite this article:
Roshina Yusufi. Fertility Behaviour among Muslims in Odisha: A Pilot Study. Research J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 4(4): October-December, 2013, 443-448.