Indians account for almost 18% of the world's population. That's 1,351,295,755 Indians. And rising fast. How fast, you ask? Well, since you started reading this, another 8 Indian babies have been born.
Of those 1,351,295,755 people, about half are in the reproductive age, their hormones raging, combined with their lack of basic sex education , holding some back from using modern contraception. Then there's India's ridiculous male vs. female sterilisation ratio of 1:52! All because men here subscribe to some outdated myths about sterilisation making them less masculine.
So, as with most other responsibilities in Indian households, contraception now becomes the women's domain, who often choose permanent contraception like tubectomies, BUT only after they've had two sons, of course. Which usually takes them an average of 4 "attempts". And 45,000 of those women are in danger of dying during childbirth every year, so getting pregnant is often a literal death sentence. .
Now, given that 75% of our population is rural, spreading awareness is a huge problem. But thanks to our love of television soap operas, there might just be a solution.
Population Foundation of India (PFI) produced 2 seasons of a hit TV show on Doordarshan a few years ago, called 'Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon'. The show challenged a host of prevailing norms around contraception and family planning, and was a runaway success — both as a soap opera, and as an awareness building tool. It might be time to bring on Season 3 now, we think.