The Christian community in the city recorded negative population growth as against Hindus and Muslims who are growing at a faster rate, birth and death figures from the civic health department showed.
Last year, 3,763 infants were born to Christians while 3,887 members of the community died, indicating a fall in growth rate. In this period, there were 1.2 lakh Hindu births and 74,003 deaths; the Muslim community saw 50,353 children being born as against 16,898 deaths. The birth-death rate ratio of Muslims is almost double that of Hindus, showing a much more robust population growth.
Demographers and community leaders said family planning and migration seemed to be the main reasons behind the shrinking of the Christian population. "The trend here is in tune with the national trend. The stress has been on providing quality life to one child than having more children," said Dolphy DSouza, former president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha.
Wille Shirsat, a parishioner of the 400-year-old IC Church in Borivali, said the decrease in birth-death rate reflects the socio-economic progress made by the community. "Though there has not been any conscious programme by the church, five years ago the church did suggest that it was the duty of every couple to provide quality life to their infant. Since most of us hail from the middle class working background, many couples on their own decided to have just one child," Shirsat said.
Social activist Edwin Britto agreed, citing his own family's example. "We were nine bothers but our nine brothers have just eight children. Since both the husband and wife work in most Christian families and they live in a nuclear family set-up, they find it difficult to have more than one child," he said.
"Many Christian youths have migrated to the US and Canada. In many Christian-dominated areas like Bandra and IC Colony, there is a large population of senior citizens and, perhaps, this is also a reason for the increase in Christian deaths," RTI activist Chetan Kothari, who filed a query on the issue, said.
A two-year comparison of birth-death figures show there has been an overall increase in births as compared to deaths. While there was an increase of 9,618 births, in the corresponding period there was an increase of 7,388 deaths.
Social scientists and Islamic scholars who have been tracking demographic changes among Muslims attributed the higher population growth to lack of adequate family planning and poverty. "The belief that more pairs of hands can earn more seems to be holding sway in the lower middle class Muslim community. Many community members have more than four children though there has been a high incidence of infant mortality among the poorer sections,'' said Asghar Ali Engineer, director of the Institute of Islamic Studies.
He said the increase in birth rate has nothing to do with Islam as a religion. "It is related to issues like poverty, illiteracy and lack of women's empowerment. In 1998, we did a survey which showed that the population in Malappuram, a predominantly Muslim district in Kerala, had lesser population growth as compared to such a district in Uttar Pradesh. This is because of high literacy rate there," Engineer said.
He said a majority of the upper class Muslims today undertakes family planning measures. "As the socio- economic status of a community improves, the population comes down," he explained.
This further confirms the fact that the Sangh parivar's campaign against conversion of hindus by catholic priests is like targeting the wrong enemy .
Acorrding to the 2001 census , christians formed only 2.4 percent of India's population . This was actually a drop from the 1951 census--at that time Christians formed no less than 3 percent of the population .
In fact , something must be done to save Christianity in India .
This survey takes into a.c Mumbai only Christian missionaries are active in tribal areas and in North areas predominantly i see nothing wrong if a person wishes to change his religion BUT somehow the method used by missionaries are dubious at best..
As to whether the Sangh Parivaar is right or wrong well that i have no idea but check out this article
Freelancers of God
Independent churches mushroom across India attracting foreign funds
It is no secret Christians have been under heavy persecution in certain parts of India. Many do not register after their conversions because they do not want to prove they were not coerced, making the actual numbers larger than reported. Based on missionary reports, it is the fastest growing religion in India.
Yeah, that's because a lot of the uneducated Bihari and Uttar Pradeshi muslims set up shop in and around Mahim and Bandra, in Mumbai. Their replacement ratios are quite high and they live in squalid conditions, ghettoizing the neighborhood and displacing many of its older residents, who take off to New Bombay, Pune, Juhu, other suburbs or abroad. It's got little to do with their religion, and more to do with that they are illiterate. The authorities would do well to get the mufti at the Mahim dargah to talk about population control.
In Mumbai, the majority of the Christians are Roman Catholic and a large proportion of them are the converts from the Koli castes or fisherfolks.
Roman Catholics do not believe in contraception since it is equated with killing life. However, people have realised that a small family has a greater value than have a two football teams, linesmen and a referee as a part of the same parents!
The reason is simple - with mechanisation, the requirement of a huge work force is over and so it is better to spread the income around on a few so that there is good education, food and health.
In fact, instead of saving religions, we should save the human race.
I find it most extraordinary that religion is brought into everything.
Let us look at India as India and not as India of a certain community flourishing in numbers.
This is not a 20 20 game.
Let us learn from the Parsis.
Their numbers would fit a postage stamp.
But their contribution to India as also their stature in all fields would indicate how a community, irrespective of numbers, can make other Indians recognise their worth!
A huge community with worthless characters is hardly what India needs or should be proud about or lament if they are decreasing. That applies to all religions and their concerned votaries.
Instead of worrying about the decreasing numbers, let us revel in the delight that a fellow Christian Brown is to be the next Air Chief. That is the faith India reposes on its citizens, irrespective of their religion and their birth!
It is more like just under 4% and it is growing fast. Catholicism is on decline, but Protestant converts number hundreds of thousands per year. The plant church movement has defeated Hindutva's attempts to clamp down on them and ending Catholicism's outdated message. Those who perpetuate the caste system are afraid of losing it (Hindus and Catholics), and they should be because Evangelical Christians will be the ones who bring it to an end.