You are here:
Birth Control
There can be two opinions about the necessity of birth-control. But the only method handed down from ages past is self-control or Brahmacharya. It is an infallible sovereign remedy doing good to those who practice it. And medical men will earn the gratitude of mankind, if instead of devising artificial means of birth-control they will find out the means of self-control.
Artificial methods are like putting a premium upon vice. They make man and women reckless. And respectability that is being given to the methods must hasten the dissolution of the restraints that public opinion puts upon one. Adoption of artificial methods must result in imbecility and nervous prostration. The remedy will be found to be worse than the disease.
It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequence of one’s acts. It is good for a person who overeats to have an ache and a fast. It is bad for him to indulge his appetite and then escape the consequence by taking tonics or other medicine. It is still worse for a person to indulge in his acts. Nature is relentless and will have full revenge for any such violation of her laws. Moral result can only be produced by moral restraints. All other restraints defeat the very purpose for which they are intended.
Young India, 12-3-‘25

The practice of preventing progeny, by mean of artificial method is not a new thing. In the past such method were practiced secretly and they were crude. Modern Society has given them a respectable place and made improvements. They have been given a philanthropic parb. The advocates of contraceptives say that sexual desire is a natural instinct- some call it a blessing. They therefore say that it is were possible. Birth-control by means of self –restraint is, in their opinion, difficult to practice. If a substitute for self-restraint is not prescribed, the health of innumerable women is bound to suffer through frequent pregnancies. They add that if births are not regulated, over–population will ensure; individual families will be pauperized and their children will be ill-fed, ill-clothed and ill-educated. Therefore, they argue, it is the duty of scientists to devise harmless and effective method of birth-control.
This argument has failed to convince me. The use of contraceptives is likely to produce evils if which we have no conception. But the worst danger is that the use of contraceptives bids fair to kill the desire for self-restraint. In my opinion it is too heavy a price to pay for any possible immediate gain…. Self- deception is the greatest stumbling block. Instead of controlling mind, the fountain of all animal desire, men and women involve themselves in the vain endeavour to avoid the physical act. If there is a determination to control the through and the action, victory is sure to follow. Man must understand that a woman is his companion and helpmate in life and not a means of satisfying his carnal desire. There must be a clear perception that the purpose satisfaction of animal wants.
Key to health, pp. 52-54

I know what havoc secret vice has played among school boys girls. The Introduction of contraceptives under the name of science and the imprimeture of known leaders of society have intensified the complication and made the risk of reforms who work for purity of social life, well-night impossible age studying in school and colleges who study birth-control literature and magazines with avidity and even possess contraceptives. It is impossible to confine their use to married women. Marriage loses its sanctity when its purpose and highest use is contemplating the natural result of such satisfaction.
I have no doubt that those learned men and women who are carrying on propaganda men and with missionary zeal in favour of the use of contraceptives, are doing irreparable harm to the use of contraceptives, are doing irreparable harm to the youth if the country under the false belief that they will be saving there by, the poor women who may be obliged to bear children against their will. Those who need to limit their children will not be easily reached by them. Our poor women have not the knowledge or the training that the women of the west have. Surely the propaganda is not being carried on on behalf of the middle class women, for they do not need the knowledge, at any rate so much as the poor classes do.
The greatest harm, however, done by that propaganda lies in its rejection of the old ideas and substitution on its place of one which, if carried out, must spell the moral and physical extinction of the race. The horror with which ancient literature has regarded the fruitless use of the vital fluid was not a superstition born of ignorance. What shall we of a husbandman who will sow the finest seed in his possession on stony ground or of the owner of a field who will received, in his field rich with fine soil, good seed under conditions that will make it seed that has the highest potency and women with a field richer with seed that has the highest earth to be found any where on his global. Surely it is criminal folly for man to allow his most precious possession to run to waste. He upon the richest pearls in his possession. And so is a woman guilty of criminal golly who will receive the seed in her life-producing field with the deliberate intention of letting it run to waste. Both he and she will be judged guilty of the misuse of the talented gives to them and they will be disposed of what they have been given. Sex urge is a fine and noble thing. There is nothing is ne ashamed of it is a sin against god and humanity. Contraceptive of a kind there were before and there will be hereafter; but the use of them was formerly regarded as sinful. It was reserved for our generation to glorify vice by calling it virtue. The greatest disserve protagonists of contraceptive are rendering to the youth of India is to fill their minds with what appears to me to be wrong ideology. Let the young men and women of India who hold guard the treasure with which god has blessed them and use it, if they wish, for the only purpose for which it is intended.
Harijan, 28-3-‘36

I do not believe that woman is prey to sexual desire to the same extent as man. It is easier for her than for man to exercise self- restraint. I hold that right education in his country is to teach woman the art of saying no even to her husband, to teach her that it is no part of her duty to become a mere tool or a doll in her husband’s hands. She has rights as well as duties.
… The first thing is to free her from mental slavery, to teach her sacredness of her body, and to teach her dignity of national service and the service of humanity, it is not fair to assume that Indian’s woman are beyond redemption, and that they have therefore to be simply taught the use of contraceptives for the sake of preventing births and preserving such health as they may be in possession of.
Let not sisters who are rightly indignant over the miseries of women who are called upon to bear children, whether they will or no, be impatient. Not even the propaganda in favor of contraceptives is going to promote the desired end overnight. Every method is a matter of education. My plea is for the type.
Harijan, 2-5-‘36

I consider it inhuman to impose sterilization law on the people. But in case of individual with chronic diseases, it is desirable to have them sterilized if they are agreeable to it. Sterilization is a sort of contraceptive and though I am against the use of contraceptive in case of women, I do not mind voluntary sterilization in case of man since he is the aggressor.
Amrita Bazar Patrika, 12-1-'35

Bogey of Over-Population
If it is contended that birth-control is necessary for the nation because of over population, I dispute the proposition. It has never been proved. In my opinion, by a proper land-system, agricultural and a supplementary industry, this country is capable of supporting twice as many people as there are today.
Young India, 2-4-‘25

This little globe of ours is not a toy of yesterday. It has not suffered from the weight of over-population through its age of countless millions. How can it be that the truth has suddenly dawned upon some people that it is in danger of perishing of shortage of food unless birth rate is checked through the use of contraceptives?
Harijan, 14-9-35

The bogey of increasing birth rate is not a new thing. It has been often trotted out. Increase in population in not and ought not to be regarded as a calamity to be avoided. Its regulation or restriction by artificial method is a calamity of the first grade the race, if it becomes universal, which, thank god, it is never likely to be. Pestilence, wars and famines are cursed antidotes against cursed lust which is responsible for unwanted children. If we could avoid this threefold curse we would avoid too the curse of unwanted children by the sovereign remedy if self-control…. Let me say propagation of the race rabbit wise must undoubtedly be stopped; but not so as to bring greater evils in its train. It should be stopped by methods, it is all a matter of proper education which would embrace every department of life; and dealing with one curse will take in its orbit all the others. A way is not to be avoided because it is upward and therefore uphill. Man’s upward progress necessarily necessarily means ever increasing difficulty, which is to be welcomed.
Harijan, 31-3-'46