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Spectres of Malthus: A Study of Representation of Population in School Textbooks in India

This report critically examines the (mis)representation of population/overpopulation in school textbooks in India. The review of more than hundred textbooks from across the different boards reveals, not surprisingly, the hegemonic presence of Neo Malthusianism in population discourse. This report shows how school textbooks in India unequivocally reflect and propagate the mainstream dominant discourse on population growth, which considers population as the main hurdle to progress and development. By putting the blame on ‘ever-growing’ population for the problems of hunger, poverty, unemployment, health, education etc., the Neo Malthusian populationist discourse obfuscates the social, political and historical factors responsible for these problems. Emphasizing the imperative to revisit the relevance of population discourse as presented in school textbooks, this report aims to rekindle debate and discussion on this important issue.