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Balancing tradition and modernity in narratives surrounding contraception use among poorer women in West Bengal, India.
Unformatted Document Text:  9 the family. So even while larger numbers of women were leaving the home for work, this ideological construct placed the woman at home with her children. Because children are so valuable within the culture it may be reasonable to assume that it would be convenient to have more instead of fewer, especially in families where hands are required for labor. Additionally siblings form communities of support for each other and for aged parents. For example, as in many other developing countries, older siblings have traditionally helped younger sibling’s education and job searches (Kokole, 1994). There has, however, been concern for a while about population issues in India. This concern began pre independence India within the Indian National Congress, among other places. It was felt that the size of the Indian population would be a hindrance on the country’s road to development (Govt. of India, 2000). The Indian National Congress went on to form independent India’s first government, and the family planning program, the first of its kind in the world was established in 1951/1952 (Desai, 1998; Panandiker and Umashankar, 1994). The family planning program in India has principally focused on getting women to regulate their fertility, except during the Emergency in 1975-1977, when it relied on vasectomy to meet population control targets. Over the years, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has created campaigns that have consistently carried the ‘small family, happy family’ message in one way or another. Additionally, the family planning program is part of the MCH (Mother and Child Health) program thus merging family planning services with ante/post natal care and immunizations for children. The clinics in which

Authors: Mookerjee, Devalina.
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the family. So even while larger numbers of women were leaving the home for work, this
ideological construct placed the woman at home with her children.
Because children are so valuable within the culture it may be reasonable to assume
that it would be convenient to have more instead of fewer, especially in families where
hands are required for labor. Additionally siblings form communities of support for each
other and for aged parents. For example, as in many other developing countries, older
siblings have traditionally helped younger sibling’s education and job searches (Kokole,
1994).
There has, however, been concern for a while about population issues in India. This
concern began pre independence India within the Indian National Congress, among other
places. It was felt that the size of the Indian population would be a hindrance on the
country’s road to development (Govt. of India, 2000). The Indian National Congress
went on to form independent India’s first government, and the family planning program,
the first of its kind in the world was established in 1951/1952 (Desai, 1998; Panandiker
and Umashankar, 1994).
The family planning program in India has principally focused on getting women to
regulate their fertility, except during the Emergency in 1975-1977, when it relied on
vasectomy to meet population control targets. Over the years, the Ministry of Health and
Family Welfare has created campaigns that have consistently carried the ‘small family,
happy family’ message in one way or another. Additionally, the family planning program
is part of the MCH (Mother and Child Health) program thus merging family planning
services with ante/post natal care and immunizations for children. The clinics in which


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